Happy School Holidays to all of my fellow Victorians, one week down, one to go. I’m officially counting down!!
I remember when my first set of twins were in their first year of life & having a chat to the social worker at the hospital & her saying that with her own children, 3 was her favourite age. Each child was talking, were toilet trained in that year & a little bit more reasonable than your typical two-year old. I took this as gospel & when I was having a particularly bad day I would think, just wait until they turn 3. Life will be great.
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I had a pretty hard time with the terrible twos with the older twins, one child in particular had a lot of trouble with their ears (which later resulted in surgery to insert grommets & remove adenoids) & was very prone to throwing huge tantrums. I’m not sure if the two are related but constant ear infections are not fun for anyone. When the day came & they turned 3, I was so excited. I expected life to improve on that very day. Little did I know about a little term that had been coined with the three-year old in mind ‘The Threenager’.
The Threenager is a funny creature, all the attitude of a 2-year old but the demands multiply many many times over & the tantrums continue.
This leads me to my second set of twins. They are 10 times worse than my first set of twins. The demands are endless & constant. I cannot conceive that a child can need & want so much on such a frequent basis.
God help you if you cut their sandwich in squares when they wanted triangles. Darling number 4 refused to get into a bubble bath I had run for her, after having received specific instructions that she wanted lots of bubbles, because she had changed her mind & didn’t want bubbles. Just hot water. I decided to take advantage of the situation & I had a bubble bath instead :).
They also follow you to the toilet every single time you go, watch you shower whilst destroying the bathroom & every time you leave the room it’s met with a bellowing ‘MUM where are you?’. God help if you don’t answer quickly enough because you then get’ Mum Mum Mum Mum’
In summary, my experience of the Threenager has been pretty consistent & involves constant demands, tantrums, extreme fussiness & basically difficult behaviour.
I have realised lately however, that there is a second stage to the Threenager.
THREENAGER STAGE 2
In my experience this occurs at approximately 3 1/2 years old. Not only do they continue with the above endearing traits, they also step it up quite a few notches.
Some typical behaviour includes:
Spilling water & any liquid everywhere & anywhere. I cannot believe the amount of towels & tea towels I have been using to mop up said spillages. Every single time I give them (one in particular) water, it’s a given that it will end up everywhere.
The release of bodily gasses. They burp & fart really loudly in public & seem to do it at the most embarrassing times & in the most awkward situations. The worst thing is though, they find it funny & laugh at themselves.
If you drop an F Bomb in front of them, they pretend not to have registered, then wait until you are out in public to repeat their new word with a glint of evil in their eye whilst they await your reaction. An example of this if I may, we were doing the grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago & I dropped a mushroom & Darling 4 shouts out at the top of her voice ‘Oh Fuck’, not only did she F Bomb in public causing quite a few people to snigger, she used it in perfect context, then looked at me & gave me a sweet smile. I responded quite loudly saying ‘we will have to speak to your father about using that language in front of you!!’
Getting In The Car
Getting in & out of the car takes 15 minutes each way. The Stage 2 Threenager will NOT let you help them in or out of the car. They have to climb in themselves (I have a 4WD which is reasonably high), get distracted along the way & divert from the task at hand until I impatiently yell out to hurry up!
They then stuff around climbing in their seat, trying to lift themselves in & if you attempt to help, you are met with very loud refusal & they have to start the whole process over again.
This is especially fun if it is raining & you are standing out in the rain whilst these shenanigans take place.
The above rule also applies to their morning & night time milk.
I usually start the day with one or the other screaming in my ear ‘Mummy I want milk NOW!!’.
They have identical cups (so there are no fights & they are interchangeable in case one goes missing) & they get the milk out of the fridge & pass it to me, I’m then allowed to pour the milk into the cup, but god help me if I open the microwave door or press the start button, that is a guaranteed tantrum & a we need to start again scenario.
Once the milk has finished heating, I am NOT allowed to open the microwave door, that’s their job. They then pass the cup to me & I screw the lid on & return back to them.
Darling 3 will say ‘thanks Mummy I love you’ (Aw bless) and then high five me yelling out team work (I think she has learned about team work at day care). Darling 4 will usually also say thank you & toddle off.
The Nappy Change
If you have left toilet training until later on (which I have), each & every nappy change is painful & exhausting.
It is literally like wrestling with a crocodile. They have stepped it up a notch from Stage 1, where they wriggle around, kick you & giggle to now trying to get up mid change so you are constantly having to pick them up, reposition them, tell them 37 times to keep still.
Darling 4 now ends up in an actual handstand position by the end of each nappy or clothing change because she jumps around so much.
I don’t know if all Stage 2 Threenagers do this, but mine refuse to go to bed & want to sleep in our bed every single night. I’m so sick of doing laps up & down our hallway putting them back to bed. I’ve even put them in the same room to try & alleviate this because they have each other but they are not interested. There is no secret twin language with these two or sneaking into each others beds. They want to be in our bed every night.
Contrary to the above, there are some definite positives to having Threenagers. They like to give & receive lots of cuddles, they tell you they love you frequently and you are literally their favourite person in the whole world. They are on the cusp of being a toddler to being a little girl or boy so still have an element of baby to them which I find endearing (especially since after having two sets of twins I am NEVER having anymore children) and they like to play and have great imaginations. They still have that childlike innocence and love playing make believe.
On the other hand and as much as I love them, I currently find my Stage 2 Threenagers exhausting. I’m tired all the time & my body aches constantly & it would be fair to say that I can be quite grumpy. It’s very physical caring for young children. As I write this, I have one beside me, yelling in my ear & demanding that I get her milk NOW!!. Bloody hell!!!!