Why Raising Three Year Olds May Make Me Certifiable

I've said it before, but whoever coined the term terrible two's never lived with a three year old.  Oh, I know...those of you with teenagers are shaking your heads and thinking, These are the easy years, the years you'll look back on and long for...

And to that I say: Right after I spend 3650 days catching up on my sleep and enjoying all those hot meals I missed during the decade I spent raising toddlers.

Camille is 1 month and 8 days away from turning 3 and she's been showing signs of this challenging developmental milestone for awhile now.  The easy-going, good-natured toddler who used to live in my home has been replaced with someone who regularly refers to me as a dum-dum or a stupid-head or some other similar derogatory name favorited by churlish 3 year olds.  She also has no qualms about yelling, "I hate you, Momma" or "I no love you anymore."

It's delightful.

Take last night, for example.

John got home later than usual from work, so the kids didn't get to bed until 9 pm.  At 10, Camille was still in awake in her crib issuing loud and demanding declarations from her throne:

"I have to go poooooooootty, Daddy!"

"I firsty, Daddy! Did you hear me?  I said, I firsty!!!"

"I not tired.  Hello?  Is anyone out there?  I said, I NOT TIIIIIIIIIIIIred!"

John and I had just settled into our own beds and were partaking of an evening snack and mindless tube watching when John said, "I don't think she's going to calm down.  You should go get her."

I complied, though my instinct told me it was a bad idea to allow that rabble-rouser into my bed after 10 pm, an instinct which was confirmed when-- at midnight--we were still fighting (and loosing to) Camille's demands.  After threatening to let her sleep outside if she didn't stop her crying-screaming-demanding fit (it was just a threat, not a promise, I swear), she finally settled down only to awake two hours later because she had wet the bed, herself, and anything lying within a one foot vicinity of her stream of urine.  

So at 3 am, John fetched the little princess from her crib, dropped her pee soaked clothes on the floor, wrapped her bum in terry cloth, and laid her in our bed where she kicked me for the rest of the night.  While I waited to drift back to sleep, I thought about the cranky wrath that would be Camille come morning.

She didn't disappoint.

I got the harebrained idea to take all 5 children to the library this morning, but I didn't consider how Camille's lack of shut eye might affect her behavior when out in public.

I should have...because she was in rare form.

During my 50 minute trip to insanity row, she managed the following:

--with one swift swipe of her arm, she wiped out an entire row of board books neatly displayed on a shelving unit,

--she pitched books over the side of a child-size train available for kids to read in, which I realized only after I heard one of the librarians ask her to quit hurling the books through the air,

--and she climbed on the shelves and tables and benches and kicked to the ground whatever items happened to be in her way.

None of my threats/pleas/requests for good behavior worked, so I eventually had to leave the library, with a thrashing, screaming Camille tucked off to the side of my body like a football player tucks his ball as he sprints for the goal.  The entire way out of the building she shrieked--

"Let me down, you mean Mommy!  Let me down NOOOOOOOW!  I said, L-E-T M-E D-O-W-N!"

On the drive home, I thought about what my life will be like when I have a house full of mouthy, moody teenagers instead of high-maintenance three year olds and I admit, it did give me pause.

But then Camille threw her sippy cup at my head and screamed for me to turn down the AC and turn up the music and I decided I would be ready to tackle the challenge.

Bring it.