An open letter to my threenager

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock 

Dear Threenager,

For the last two years you've been the light in my day. You've been the giggle in the hallway, the running feet to my arrival at daycare and the warm arms wrapped around my neck. 

But I've been here before. And I knew it wouldn't last. 

When your brother turned three, things changed overnight. It seems this is the case with you too. You've been infected by the threenager virus and sadly, they're yet to find a cure. 

But while they work on that, here's my advice. I hope you can take a little of it on board. 

Waking me up in the morning by demanding your 'weetwix', milk or toast NOW is not a nice way to wake. I can hear you just as well if you talk in your 'inside voice' and will respond much quicker to a cuddle and kiss. 

Likewise, don't greet your brother with 'morning silly poo head' and then get upset when he calls you it back. No one likes to be greeted like that, least of all him. 

At breakfast, if I cut your toast into triangles instead of squares, give me a break, ok. For the past month you liked triangles, so how I was to know this had changed overnight? 

Oh, and by the way, throwing the toast across the room in disgust is really not cool. And, when the dog eats it, it's actually NOT my fault. 


Now let's talk about getting dressed. I'm happy for you to pick your outfit. I understand that car t-shirts are your vogue of today. But if your favourite t-shirt's dirty and has already been worn twice, we choose something else, ok? 

I get it that you don't love any other t-shirt the same. And I get your refusal to then wear nothing but undies and gum boots. But we can't go to the shops like that. And it's frowned upon at preschool. 

Talking of which, it's great that you love preschool so much….at least you did last week. Yet yesterday you clung to me like a limpet. It's apparently the worst place on earth. Everyone hits you – I know they don't – and your 'feelings are hurt' when I leave. 

Know that when I leave you like that my heart is heavy. My shoulders are weighed down with guilt. Yet today you couldn't wait to go. You didn't even look back to say goodbye. Consistency would be nice.

And when it comes to consistency, remember that it's hard for me to manage things when your behaviour's so erratic. I understand that you're learning about life. You're testing your boundaries and emotions are running high.

But I'm not trying to upset you when I drive the car 'the wrong way' on the road. I simply didn't know the direction had changed. Nor am I trying to upset you when I'm singing you a song. I didn't know baby shark was only for 'babies' now. 

I understand that you want to do things ALL by yourself. I'm trying to let you as much as I can. 

But you can't cut your own food with the extra sharp knife. You can't swim without your floatie and you can't climb the 20ft climbing frame just yet. 

Similarly, you can't knock back my help with rage when we need to get out the door and you've taken 45 minutes to get yourself dressed. 

Know that I still love you with all of my heart, and always will. Having gone through this before, I know we'll come out the other side. 

But in the meantime, cut me some slack. I'm doing the best I can and some days I'm paddling mad under the surface. Remember to give me a kiss and cuddle and one of your beautiful smiles. It's not asking much and it's often all that I need to keep me afloat.