I felt prepared as we entered the 2s with DD1 because everyone under the sun is familiar with the phrase “terrible twos” – which we also know starts well before they are 2. So as we’re like 4 months into the 3s, what I’m wondering is why no one warned me that three-year olds are nothing if not negotiators. And quite skilled ones, at that.
Everything is a freaking process with a three year old. Yes, yes, language is a beautiful thing, having conversations with your 3 year old is amazing, hearing the stream of consciousness is hilarious at times. But like everything else, with these finely tuned language skills and developing brain power comes the other side of it, the constant negotiation.
From the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, it’s like I’m the police officer and hostage victim at the same time…I am negotiating with DD1 on what action will take place next, you name it, we’re negotiating it, putting on her coat or shoes or hat or eating dinner or drinking her milk or turning off the TV or going potty (why that one? can someone explain? relieving oneself feels GOOD….why is it a negotiation? resulting in bribes?), going to the bath, putting on PJs, putting on any clothes for that matter, brushing teeth, getting into the tub, getting out of the tub, etc etc.
In case you were wondering how I am part-cop, part hostage victim, I’m both policing her and while my time is being held hostage my mental powers drained, of course.
Again, don’t get me wrong. There are times I marvel over her negotiation skills and the creativity with which she can squirm her way out of something. I also don’t think I’m up for any parenting of the year awards because the only way I win the majority of these negotiations is through bribery…..typically resulting in some form of food that isn’t from the produce aisle of Whole Foods.
The flip side is, she does what she is supposed to do. Eventually she does get dressed or undressed, she does relieve herself on the toilet, she does go to bed at about the same time every night, but at what age will it all not be such an ordeal?? And why didn’t anyone really warn me about this going into the 3s? Seriously people. Just like friends who had c-sections didn’t warn me of the horrors of it all, no one warned me about the Negotiating Threes.
So that I paint a fair picture of DD1 here, she is no monster. She does much of these things without crying or screaming or throwing fits, she just doesn’t do them when asked and with ease. It’s a process. I mean, if we need to be somewhere at a certain time, I know how to pad in time for negotiation to estimate how long it will take us to get out the door.
For those of you who haven’t hit the 3s, you’ve been warned…….