First of all, congratulations! You made it through the “terrible twos.” Now, brace yourself. I have some terrible news. Everything you’ve heard about three being worse than two is true. I just lived through it, and I’m here to hold your hand and prepare you for what’s to come. You might find yourself negotiating with your three year old about the finer points of having to wear clothes–any clothes whatsoever–to leave the house. There will be much debate about what color cup makes orange juice taste just right. There will be flailing and screaming, probably from both of you. It’s not pretty, but you can do it, especially if you’re armed with the right tools.
1. A pillow. This pillow is not for sleep but to scream into. There will be times when you just need to walk away and vent your frustrations into the void. That void can be a noise-muffling pillow. Just scream. Let it all out. You’ll feel better and be able to return somewhat refreshed and able to hash out why shell macaroni and cheese is “disgusting.”
2. A secret stash of candy. When it’s almost lunchtime and you feel like you might not make it, duck into a closet, your pantry, or anywhere BUT the bathroom and pop a piece of chocolate into your mouth. You’ve got this. It’s almost nap time (or quiet time or time to go to your room and play time, but you can’t stay out here time). For the love of all things holy, don’t hide your candy in the bathroom. They ALWAYS find you in the bathroom.
3. The ability to suspend belief. Did your little angel just cut up her birth certificate because she was practicing her cutting skills (true story)? Did you turn your back for a minute and your precious snowflake decided she wanted to “make pancakes” and now there’s flour all over your freshly swept kitchen floor? Did your little cherub lose a shoe on the way to the store, like she had on shoes when she got into the car, but now as she’s getting out of the car a shoe is completely lost, like gone forever? Did you think that these would be a thing of the past when she turned three? No, these things will still happen. Don’t try to understand them. Just accept them and move on (see 1 and 2 above and 5 below..actually, see everything else on this list).
4. Fruit snacks. When all else fails: bribery. Bribery can get you out of the house and to the grocery store with limited struggle. Bribery can buy you time in Target. And what better way to execute a bribe than with fruit snacks, those sugary treats masquerading as a healthy snack. I mean, they have “fruit” in the name, for crying out loud! How bad can they be? Get your ass to Costco and buy the biggest box of fruit snacks you can find. (Also, schedule a dentist appointment for your little one, you know, just in case.) In a pinch, Cheddar Bunnies or Gold Fish will do.
5. Wine or your beverage of choice. At the end of the day, you’ll say to yourself, “I did it. I can’t believe we made it through and will live to see another day (OHMYGOD! ANOTHER DAY! <cries>)!” Congratulations! Now, pour yourself a glass and relax on the couch with that nice pile of laundry that isn’t going to fold itself. Wait…not so fast. Someone needs one more song. OK, now you can…oh, wait. Now someone is thirsty, which means a glass of water and then bribery to use the potty one last time, which means fruit snacks, which means another round of brushing teeth. OK, NOW (an hour later) relax. These 15 minutes before you pass out on the couch are all yours! Enjoy! You deserve every minute.
6. A hug. Bring it in, mama.
Now, does anyone have a list to help me navigate having a four year old?