Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The thing about three

Oscar has been three for nearly four months and there is definitely something about three that differs from two.  There's certainly his language development and his ability to problem solve.  You can have actual conversations with him and he can put together multi-piece puzzles; he can dress himself (when he wants to); he's completely toilet trained; he's more empathetic and seems to understand better when he does something wrong and why it is wrong.  All very cools stuff.

There is something else though that I haven't been able to put my finger on.  Something...annoying? Frustrating? The thing that every says make the threes harder than the twos.  I think I put my finger on it last night.

Oscar is looking for a fight.  He is always looking for a fight, with Nelson and I mainly but with Miles, too.  Okay, well not ALWAYS, but when he wants to argue with us, he goes for it full throttle.

And example:

Last night at bedtime he went upstairs pretty easily.  He even got undressed for his bath with little fight which is unusual.  However, when I lifted him into the bath, he lost his shit.  Like, big fat tears, flowing snot, sobbing lost his shit.

"NO!  I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A BATH!  NONONONONO!  NO BATH! GET ME OUT! GET ME OUT! GETMEOUTGETMEOUTGETMEOUT!"

Not wanting to make a big deal about it, I just took him out of the tub, ignored his hysterics, and instructed him to put on his PJs.  It was raining yesterday so he wasn't really "dirty," and I just didn't think it was worth the fight.

As soon as I took him out, he ran from the bathroom, and  began doing laps around the upstairs, naked.  Our bathroom as two doors, so he was running in and out of the bathroom which is an established no-no in our home, because the bathroom is very small and covered in ceramic tiles and a kid (or adult for that matter) could very easily slip and fall and get very hurt.

After his third lap I asked him to stop and get dressed.  He laughed manically and refused, so I shut both bathroom doors.  He lost his shit again.

"WHY ARE YOU CLOSING THE DOOR?  I WANT TO COME IN THERE! I WANT TO BE WITH YOU!"

I once again ignored his hysterics and explained that he was not allowed to run in the bathroom.  I told Nelson to help him get dressed.  I came out of the bathroom a few moments later with Miles William and  saw Nelson trying to wrestle Oscar into some PJs that appeared a little small.

"Hey, I put out some warmer ones that will fit him better.  They are on top of his dresser."

I went and grabbed them and again, Oscar lost his shit.

"NO! I DON'T WANT TO WEAR THOSE PAJAMAS I WAN TO WEAR THESE PAJAMAS!"

"Oscar, these ones are warmer, and they will fit you better."

"NO I DON'T WANT THEM! I DON'T LIKE THEM! DON'T MAKE ME WEAR THEM, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME WEAR THEM."

"Okay, fine, Oscar, wear the other ones."

These little dramatic scenes go on and on all night.  We are reading books in the wrong order; he doesn't want to be covered with blankets; he can't find his bunny or blanket; he doesn't want to share books with Miles.  It is like he is trying to work us (Nelson and I) up and get us angry and frustrated.  Truth be told, sometimes it works.  And, of course, when we get angry it just makes things worse.

And then there Miles.  Poor Miles, who seriously wants nothing more than to play with his big brother.  Offers Oscar the best monster trucks and willingly shares his snacks; goes along with all of his big brother's games so happy to be included.  Oscar has been shoving him, ripping toys away from him, stealing his snack, yelling at him for playing "wrong."  It breaks Miles' heart, and mine too.  In fact, I am much more likely to loose my cool with Oscar and his antics when he directs his bad attitude towards Miles.

It is so frustrating, but we are doing our best to not engaged Oscar in his ridiculous hysterics and properly discipline him when warranted.  I know (hope) this phase will pass.

9 comments:

Jan said...

I NEVER understood why people carried on about the "terrible twos" - I always thought three was worse. Much worse.

The good thing is, he will grow out of it, and fairly quickly too. Well, it will be quickly in hindsight; right now it will seem to drag on FOREVER.

antigone said...

Nothing against older brothers, but younger brothers rock. Max is all chill and generous too. But Type A has its upsides too.

Pamela said...

three blows.
that is all.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I like Pamela.
Sounds like my morning minus the bath. Someone didn't get to watch any cartoons on the way to school and won't get to watch any tv at all tonight because of it.

Keely said...

Ugh, yeah. X has been doing that for a few months now. EVERYTHING is a point of contention, and he is VERY specific about his wants & 'needs'. Not letting him wear a specific shirt (which is usually grubby and smells like a hobo) can result in a 30-minute tantrum. He'll also play Paul & I against each other, because he knows Paul is a bigger sucker.

Sigh. It started so early. Maybe he'll grow out of it early too?

Michele said...

Jan and I have kids about the same age (in my mind at least). Threes have always been worse than twos. Why? My feeling is that the kids have finally figured out that they are independent beings. While you want them to know that it sucks when they do. He will grow out of it but in the mean time he will spend a lot of time in "time out". So much so that you will wonder if you need to feed him there.

Becky said...

I remember telling a similar story to my parents when Hank was newly three, and they reminded me of a nugget of early childhood education wisdom: "Three is an old two, not a young four." Somehow it made me feel better. This will pass.

Captain Dumbass said...

Oh, those last two paragraphs!

Fickle Cattle said...

Crazy. I have a couple of nephews, brothers, who are the opposite. The older one is so nice, while the younger one keeps goading his older brother to a fight. Not always, but it can get crazy. Good luck with your kids.

I am Fickle Cattle.