Home On The Fringe

Fringe Art

Contact Us

Recent Ramblings

The Chronicles

Fringe Reads

  • Powered by Blogger
  • Weblog Commenting and 

Trackback by HaloScan.com
  • Get StatCounter!

Terrible Apocalyptic Threes

Whoever coined the phrase "Terrible Twos" must have 1.) gone insane before their kid turned three, or 2.) felt like they'd jinxed themselves by speaking too soon and therefore opted to go with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding an appropriate description for age three. Because, people? Two was a cake walk, a stroll in the park, smooth sailing, a breeze. But three is chronic high blood pressure, premature gray hair, public humiliation, ohmygodwhatiswrongwiththiskid?!

When Bryce was three, I thought the difficulties were due to the dynamics between him and Quinn, who was 18 months - two years old at the time. "This is just a tough age combination," I thought. "We just need to get over this hump." By the time Bryce was four, Quinn was 2 1/2, and right on the cusp of the 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 Hell Phase from which I mistakenly assumed we were about to get a break. After all, Quinn was the "easy," "laid back" one.

Not so much.

When the pediatrician declared him feisty at his three-year appointment, I should have known it was time to batten down the hatches and prepare for a year of maniacal screaming, purposeless aggression, and battles of will. But, what can I say? Me and denial, we're like this (is it necessary for me to do the whole "*crossing fingers like one does when one says 'like this'*" thing? because I think you already pictured that, even before I interrupted myself to ask this question...). I thought since Bryce was getting older and more rational (more rational - let's not get carried away; it's a relative term), we wouldn't have the year of screaming and sibling competition that we'd had when Bryce was three. Quinn would be more laid back, he'd be easier to handle, more content, calmer.

Let's just take each of these stupid, stupid assumptions one at a time:

More laid back: Well, yesterday as he was trying to pull a toy tool box out of a bag, he was grunting, growling, and finally screaming in frustration. Bryce (for once totally innocent) went over and said, "let me help you, Quinn" and started trying to pull the box out for him. Quinn assumed, as he does any time any human comes close to something he considers his, that Bryce was trying to take it away, so he did what any completely insane and self-centered three-year-old would do: smashed his brother's fingers in the box, shrieked THAT's MINE GET AWAY and gave him three hard shoves to the chest, which caused Bryce's stuck fingers to get some extra tugs and stretches in addition to the healthy smashing. Also, at the grocery store last week, Quinn saw some poor sap of a toddler dare to approach the 643 boxes of Goldfish crackers, glared and pointed at him, and yelled, "NO! You don't LIKE Goldfish!"

Easier to handle: We joined a new gym last week with a fancy high-tech security system in their kids' area, as well as hordes of games, tunnels, and slides. We failed to specifically tell Quinn that when it was time to go, we would expect him to, you know, NOT RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION AND HIDE IN THE HUGE TUNNEL SYSTEM, and so that's what he did. When the college-aged kid's area worker finally dragged him out, holding him facing away from her, he kicked the crap out of her knees, then turned around and tried to hit her in the face. I can only assume she was thinking something like they don't pay me enough for this or just wait 'til I get you alone, kid.

More content: After Quinn has been up for 30 seconds in the morning, the fingernails-down-the-chalkboard whiny voice kicks in: I want breakfast! I want to watch a movie! I don't WANT to get dressed! I want a snack! No, I don't WANT that for breakfast! When we say, "I'll be glad to listen to you when you're ready to talk to me in a normal tone of voice," he lowers the pitch of his whine and changes everything to a question with a sniffle at the end, because he is so victimized: I can have breakfast now and then I can watch a movie? *Sniff* *Sob*

Calmer: We can't leave him alone anymore without something being destroyed. This weekend, the kids were in their rooms playing while I took a shower. When I came out to check on them, Quinn had single-handedly emptied every single toy, book, scrap of paper, CD holder, and block into a huge pile in the middle of his room. And yesterday, as I came out of the bathroom (which, by the way, I'd put off for an hour to prevent a Quinn-induced crisis), Bryce was running around the house laughing the way a person laughs when someone else is doing something inappropriate. (Crap.) "Mom, Quinn is scratching up everything in the kitchen!! Oh my gosh! Look!" I wasn't laughing. In fact, I think my left arm went numb for a second and I thought maybe my heart had stopped: "Where? What are you talking about?" Bryce took my hand and led me to the kitchen doorway, pointing. There were huge, long gouges in the wood door frame, and Quinn was standing a few feet away with a small utensil, "drawing" on the silverware drawer. "QUINN!! STOP THAT! WHAT IS THAT?!" He threw the object and ran. Bryce picked up the "artist's" instrument for me: a bottle opener. He'd scratched up all the wood in the kitchen with a bottle opener. In three minutes of being unsupervised.

Yeah. We've moved from denial to survival mode at this point. And I've given up any hope of having a clean or well-cared-for house. We live in a slum, and it's because of our three-year-old. Let this be a public service announcement to all of you who are still in the happy unaware place about this: THREE IS WORSE THAN TWO. MUCH, MUCH WORSE. Move to a padded cell now, and save yourself some heartache.