Is Three the New Two?

Ok, what happened to my sweet little girl? Vivi has gone from utter delight with occasional moments of crankiness to rude, crude, and full of bad attitude. I expected limit-testing and all the things I have been told that go along with being two but our twos were far from terrible. Three, however, is kicking my ass.

It's like a switch was flipped. Vivi repeatedly yells, throws tantrums, and says things in a way that makes me think my daughter is 13 and not 3. She has taken recalcitrant behavior to a whole new level and I'm too tired to do anything but yell back and put her into extended time-outs. It's an ugly scene.

On Friday Vivi and I were butting heads all day and I came very close to spanking her on numerous occasions. (I feel that every parent has the right to make her own decisions about reasonable discipline but I am not in the pro-spanking camp for reasons I won't go into here.) We both made it to bedtime by the skin of our teeth but while I was putting her jammies on, she hauled off and hit me. I was so taken aback that I had to walk out of the room and have my husband take over.

Now, I'm not sooo sleep-deprived that I don't recognize that Vivi's third birthday wasn't long after she got two little sisters. After all , there probably isn't more of a good reason to misbehave than having your world thrown for a double loop! That would be a nice easy explanation for such bad behavior but I think there's more to it. She seems to have an intense desire for independence and to show that she is a "big sister" who can do what she wants.

Like use a black sharpie to draw all over herself...


  1. For what it's worth, Maddie is the same way these days. Granted, she, too, is dealing with a huge transition in our move, but still. The behavior seems beyond the pale. I'm not coping with it especially well either, so no advice but lots of empathy.

  2. hey mama. Unfortunately, in my house, three was the new two. And as his fourth birthday hits town tomorrow, I'm thinking it may also last into the fours... :) I don't think its contingent (much) upon the twins, I think its the testing of the autonomy... she CAN do so many things- why can't she be the boss too? good god.
    wicked hard parenting, thats what it ends up with, wicked hard parenting. K

  3. Regardless of what people tell you, threes are horrible. Even more than twos. My son is nearing four and I'm praying his nasty attitude, lack of listening and horrible behavior disappears. His new saying when he's angry? "I want you to die." OUCH. And where the heck did he pick that up? Certainly not from us! *sigh* Hang in there...this too shall pass.

  4. Oh, that IS terrible. At least we are all in the same boat.

  5. Oh, poor Vivi! And oh, poor you!! And poor you again!!!

    This is definitely the time to be thankful for the presence of another parent.

    We started to notice a pattern when our twins turned three - for the first half of the new age, things were very tough, for the second half (including the 2nd half of age two) things were more or less delightful. Our kids are now 8, and this has been the case for both of them since age 2, although this year the contrast is not as pronounced. Must be exacerbated for Vivi because of the huge change in the family.

    There's a decent series called "Your child at age ____" - it's a little dated, but really on the mark. Sorry about the marker - hope it doesn't require too much rubbing.


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