10 Reflections on Raising a Threenager

I have raised four threenagers. The first one was a kleptomaniac. The second one was a nudist with a rage problem. The third one was a tiny dictator. The fourth one is not out of the woods yet.

When I discovered my first one had a problem with stuffing his backpack with other people’s baby monitors and sound machines, I realized that I had failed as a mother. First step Sophie the Giraffe…next step diamond heist.  I was plagued with visions of visiting him in his orange prison uniform.

Turns out being three is not permanent. I don’t usually find iphones and name brand sneakers in my nine-year-old’s backpack.  So, hang in there parents.

Here are ten reflections on raising my current threenager:

1. She does not use her words. I have been saying “use your words” for two years now and that strategy is just really not working. Maybe I will start communicating with her using grunts, whimpers, and kicking the floor.

2. At two she wanted to do everything herself. That was hard because everything took one thousand years. But this is worse. Now she has gone full diva. She wants to do nothing herself. She wants me to feed her her breakfast because her hands aren’t working that morning. She needs me to pull up her pants because it is “hard”.

In short, I’m her Lady-in-waiting.

3. She hates all food except for cheese and chocolate. Every single night she looks at her plate and is devastated that yet again we have forgotten she doesn’t like vegetables. Also her food is touching each other. Also can she just have cheese.


4. She is always changing her name. 95% of our conversations go like this:


Mom, my name is not Haven! It’s Rosebud and I’m a baby tiger!

Okay Rosebud let’s put on your coat.


Haven, right now babe.



5. I am not always sure who’s in charge. Me or her. Do not tell her I said that.

6. Sometimes I have to give myself a little pep talk that includes:

You are the parent. You are smart. You are tall. You are wearing great shoes. You got this.

7. She only likes exactly one movie at a time. The plus side of this is that if we are ever without technology I will be able to recite Frozen, Despicable Me II, and Trolls, word for word.

8. She wants to do whatever is least convenient. She wants to walk in Target, but when we get home she wants me to carry her…along with 5 bags of groceries and a gallon of milk. She wants to lay down on the floor when it is time to go, but she wants to run laps around the house when it is time for a nap.

Just kidding, she doesn’t nap.

9. She hates being laughed at; she wants to be taken seriously. This is unfortunate because everything she does is funny.

Well it was funny, until she started screaming because I was laughing.

10. The problem is I want her to grow, but I do not ever want her to grow. The last remnants of baby are clinging to her cheeks and I adore it. I do not ever, ever, want her to stop singing, “Hey I just met you, so this is cwazy, but here’s my number so call me Mimi…” and I don’t ever want her to stop twirling so hard to Moana that she falls over.

She is fluffy, snuggly, sweet…and sometimes angry…like whenever she doesn’t get her way.

Small price to pay.

Someday soon she will stop crawling in to my bad at night and kicking me in the face. She will stop screaming in Target, and she will stop calling herself Rosebud or Rainbow Sparkle. Someday soon she will use her words and won’t mind it when I laugh at her.


And then I’ll miss it. Damnit.

Except the screaming in Target. I will miss that about as much as I miss crowning in labor.

Hang in there parents, three is not your fault, and it isn’t even permanent.



For more like this you can follow me here on Wonderoak, like my page on Facebook, and follow @wonderoakblog on Instagram! Photo credit belongs to the husband @grahamsjohnston.

16 responses to “10 Reflections on Raising a Threenager”

  1. You got it. The ultimate wisdom. My 13 year old makes me miss the three year old her every single day. If you thought 3s are difficult, wait until 13. But when that passes, you will miss it as well.
    We moms are weird.

  2. Thanks! Yes we are so weird ;).

  3. I love this so much! Thank you.

  4. I have just started following your blog, and I love your writing style… witty, honest and so warm.
    It makes my heart sing 🙂

  5. Glorious! It’s not just us who have to deal with baby tigers!

  6. This made me cry and miss my littles who are now 18. One of them was going to change her name to ‘Beauty’ when she was three. Not Belle…Beauty.

  7. Awe I love that so much!

  8. I just love you so much! Your blog updates go straight to my inbox and I love it every time. 🙂

  9. Thanks so much Hannah!

  10. I can’t find the text. Only a picture comes up. Anyways, my husband and I were were just laughing about own “two-nager.” Our two and a half year old daughter is quite opinionated!

  11. That’s strange! You can try refreshing the page…sorry about that!!

  12. Still just a picture…. I can get to your other posts, but this one’s not showing up today. Oh well.

  13. Okay thanks so much for
    Letting me know!

  14. Hey thanks again – I just got this fixed!

  15. As a former teenager myself, I can deeply appreciate this. I now understand why my parents used to yell at me and lecture me about different things. Never thought they are actually true!

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