Turning Three: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

posted in Childhood, Parenting Challenges, Potty Training, Twins on by with 10 Replies

Make yourself a plate of spaghetti* and practice your best Clint Eastwood squint:


(or don’t, if you don’t feel like it; you might get wrinkles and I’m not going to tell you how to live your life) because it’s time for:


The twins made the huge leap from two to three and have changed into pretty different kiddos practically overnight.  Most of the changes are good; we’ve only had to deal with some bad or ugly stuff, but parenting two two-year-olds got really intense there for a while, so for the most part, I’m welcoming age three with open arms.

So I’ll start with The Good:

  • I’m scared that I’ll jinx this by putting it in writing, but potty training has been going really well.  There.  I said it.  All of a sudden, they think underpants are just the bees’ knees and they’ve been doing so great.  I’m not sure if I can adequately convey how happy this makes me.  Trying to potty train twins was SO HARD for me, and now that they’re making amazing progress, I feel light and free and HALLELUJAH THEY WON’T BE THE WEIRD KIDS WEARING DIAPERS TO KINDERGARTEN!!!
  • Their friendship with each other is intensifying.  They have so much fun together and, out of the blue, one of them will tell the other that she is her “best friend.”  I’m not even sure where they heard the term “best friend,” but it melts my heart when they say it to each other.  Sometimes they’re even kind to The Baby, and that’s adorable too.  They do also fight intensely, and that makes me crazy, but the displays of sisterly affection are truly great.


  • They’re actually getting pretty good at doing stuff by themselves.  They can dress and undress themselves, although sometimes it takes a hundred thousand years for them to do it.  Sometimes I can change The Baby, make breakfast, and get myself dressed while Captain Chaos puts on her left sock.  But they’re doing pretty well at the whole thing, so as long as they’re still willing to put on the clothes that I pick out for them, I’m calling this good.  They’re helpful sometimes too.  They’ll find missing slippers for me, or bring me their cups from the other room, or help The Baby to get her monkey out from under a pile of blocks.
  • They’re becoming less shy.  It’s amazing to see them feel more confident and speak up more around other people.
  • They’re becoming more creative.  They make stuff up.  They invent elaborate scenarios when they play together.  They talk and talk and talk and talk about everything that goes on in their busy little minds, and it’s clear that their understanding of the world is improving by leaps and bounds.  They remember EVERYTHING anyone says and the order in which it was said.  I’m putting this in the good category because it’s a sign of their rapidly developing little brains, but as their brainpower increases, mine seems to decrease, so you can see how I can get stuck in some tricky situations with them.
An elephant never forgets.

An elephant never forgets.

The Bad

  • They think they know everything about everything and can tell their parents what to do, how to do it, and how very wrong we are about everything almost all of the time.  And they’re fucking three.  It’s so ridiculous.  They try to tell me when I can talk and what I can talk about.  They talk back when I tell them to do something.  They argue just to argue.  I have to walk away from them a lot of the time and just hope that this phase passes quickly.  It’s infuriating that a three-year-old can infuriate me, but it happens.
Obviously these people know more about everything than I do.  Obviously.

Obviously these people know more about everything than I do. Obviously.

And finally, The Ugly

  • They have ugly-cry tantrums over the most ridiculous things.  She wanted the pull-up with the butterflies on it and you gave the last butterfly one to her sister and  how could you even THINK of giving her one with flowers on it because the ones with flowers are OBVIOUSLY VASTLY INFERIOR.  She hates them and would never let one touch her foot, let alone her private bits.  Or maybe you foolishly chose a matching set of pajamas for her when OBVIOUSLY she wanted to wear the owl top with the panda bottoms and she doesn’t CARE that you can’t find the panda bottoms in the mountain of laundry because she NEEDS the panda bottoms more than she’s ever needed anything in her whole life and no one in this house is getting any rest until she has PANDA BOTTOMS ON HER BODY.  And then she’ll move onto the next vile injustice that has been done to her, like blankets being placed upon her in the wrong order, or Mommy’s refusal to read three bedtime books instead of two.  And I feel like once they’re in ugly-cry tantrum mode, it’s hard to get them out of it for the rest of the day.  It’s exhausting.  They had tantrums before they turned three, but their lungs are so much more powerful now and their physical stamina seems to have improved too.

Overall, I’m loving three, and I think the girls are having fun being three, too.  How exciting life must be when you’ve only been in this world for three years.


*For the record, I really don’t like spaghetti westerns.  They make me feel dehydrated and sweaty.  Not that much happens, and it looks so depressing in those awful one-street old West “towns.”