Look at my face. The little button nose, the chubby cheeks, the smile that could melt even the hardest heart. Seriously, have you ever seen anything so cute?

Well, my life isn’t all adorableness, let me tell you. This being-a-3-year-old business? It is flippin’ hard!

Yeah, I hear you, I hear you. “You’re a toddler! What is so hard about your life? You get to play all day!”

Pffttt. Adults. You really need to be taught everything, don’t you? Fine. I will explain. But pay attention — I have better things to do. The cabinets can’t color on themselves, you know.

Why being a 3-year-old is so hard:

I vent my frustrations loudly.

When I get mad about things, I feel the mad rumbling in my belly, and it makes my hands turn into angry balls and then the mad erupts out of my mouth like a volcano. You call it a “tantrum.” I call it expressing my emotions. How am I supposed to let the world know that I am mad if they can’t hear me? And think logically here — why does my voice get so loud if I am not supposed to use it?

Things are scary.

The world out there is legit terrifying. The other day, my mom took me to the doctor’s office. They wanted me to take off my shoes and stand on this platform that blinked numbers on top. My mom and the lady in the purple pants were both standing there telling me it would be so cool to find out how much I weighed. But what if I fell off? What if the platform was sticky or pinchy or made of lava? And don’t even get me started on the doctor! Sure, she is the same lady I have known since I was born. She was super fun last time, but now I am not so sure. She is so much taller this time because her shoes have stabby sticks on the back! What are those even for?! And I just know that the cold circle she put on my chest is going to suck my guts out!

I know what I want.

… and I don’t understand why you don’t. Seriously, people. The words are right there inside my head. Why aren’t you doing what I want you to do??? What do I have to do, say every single thing I want out loud?!

My wants change.

Get over it. Yeah, Goldfish crackers were my favorite food last week. Then I heard someone sing on the television that they are the snack that smiles back, and that is creepy. Now I am scared of all fish, whether they are crackers or not. I like yogurt now. But only the vanilla one. In the blue bowl. The yellow bowl reminds me of the smiling Goldfish, and I am scared of it.

Everything is frustrating.

I can’t climb up onto the playground equipment by myself, even though my brothers can. I don’t understand why they can do it and not me, and it is the only thing in the universe that I want to do.     

You get mad about my experiments.

All I want to do is see if the snake you plug into the back of your phone fits into the slot on the front of the air conditioner. It looks like it should fit in there, and I don’t get why you are so upset about it. Just like you got upset last week when I tried to share my yogurt with Elmo. He looked hungry, and you are always telling me to share, but the second I do, you yell at me for putting yogurt on the TV. And you wonder why I am frustrated!

I want to do it by myself.

I see all you adults putting your own shoes on, and I can totally do that myself. It is just that the opening got so much smaller when I tried to put my foot in. This shoe clearly doesn’t fit anymore. I want different shoes. Now.

I really, really want to help you.

I see you loading the dishwasher, and you look like you could use my help. If it cleans dishes, it can clean my toys too! Let me put those in! And the cat food looks dirty too! And crayons mark stuff up, so maybe they should get a nice wash too!

You expect me to use the potty.

Remember how I said things are scary? This is number one on the list. For real. You expect me to sit on a chair with a giant hole in it, hanging over a bucket of water that spins in circles and goes down a hole to who knows where. Why?? I have a perfectly good diaper on my rump! I have been doing this my entire life, why change up the routine now? And, I hate to break it to you guys, but your tushies are a lot bigger than mine. You may be able to safely sit on the holey-water-chair, but my bum could fall right in. And if I fall in, the water will spin and then there is that hole at the bottom…

Being 3 is hard, y’all.

I am exhausted. At the end of the day, though, I’m still your baby. I still need your snuggles and your love. It will get easier for both of us, I promise. And in the meantime, look at my sweet little 3-year-old face. You really haven’t seen anything more adorable than your sleeping toddler, have you?

Go ahead and sneak out of my room to that glass of wine you were muttering you deserved earlier. I will give you three minutes before I let you know I can’t sleep. What if that sock on the ground is really a rat that has big teeth and likes to eat toes? I better come get you now, Mommy.

Deanna Greenstein
Deanna is a mom of five (yes, five) children, who lives in Brockton with her small circus of kids, her husband, their dog Penny, and a few cats. Her life is loud, energetic, mostly fun, often gross (did she mention four of those kids are boys?), and she wouldn't have it any other way. In between carting kids to school, baseball, gymnastics, guitar, dance, track and field and every other kid activity known to mankind, she works as a school bus driver for the city of Brockton, and is the Director of Religious Education at the Unity Church of North Easton, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Deanna also holds degrees in Elementary Physical Education and Dance Education, which she plans to put back into use one day. At parties, Deanna can often be found hanging out with family pets. She follows her children around with a camera like the paparazzi, is pretty sure that 97% of her blood stream is made of coffee, and her laundry is never done. You can also find her blogging at https://eighteenmoreyearsofburpsandfarts.wordpress.com


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