Terrible Two’s Ain’t Got Nothing On The Tortuous Threes


I do go to that happy place everyday fella. I ponder how we skipped the terrible twos and proceeded directly to the tortuous threes. Three is the age of potty training, learning to write your name, taking a lunch for the preschool field trip and testing mommy beyond no end. Three is the year my boys put me on a parental assessment.

I have been here now three times and in all honesty returning to that “happy place” gets sidetracked by things like Wusthof knives cutting Play-doh while mommy takes a shower, emptying the entire contents of bulk Kirkland laundry detergent on the carpeting and putting Purell into mommy’s water bottle.

What is it about this age? Is it just boys or do parents of princesses go through the same thing? Are girls this destructive? Three can be a wonderful but terrifying year all in the same. I know somewhere in history somebody came up with the “terrible twos” but I beg to differ. Can anyone relate to the fact that the age between two and four is the longest 365 days of your life as a parent?

Since the little squirt turned three I have been walking around on my tippy toes checking for pistons of poop droppings on the floor, with my shoulders crunched up into my ears while reminding myself to breathe. We should never have to remind ourselves to breathe unless we are drowning. I know I can survive though because I made it out alive with the other two. I cannot say I was not injured and I am deeply scared for life, but I am alive.

When my little Noochie was three he put some sort of solution in my contact case. It took a few minutes after insertion, and then the burn and oozing began. It burnt so bad that the other eye started burning and I couldn’t even open my eyes to remove the contact. When I asked the little man what he put in there, he smiled with his giant blue eyes and said, “Oh just some special bubbly mommy.” For the love of my eyes. He was so proud. I was so in pain. But I reminded myself that when the eyes are blind, look with the heart.

When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts. ~Robert Brault

This one time, in mommy boot camp, I woke up to the mini drill sergeant. I purposely set my alarm very early so I can gather my thoughts, contacts and sanity before the little men wake up. So, one morning around Valentine’s Day when the same little boy who burnt my eye was three, I had to survive a sugar and honey bath. I proceeded into the kitchen, in the dark, on my tip toes of course and slid into the cabinet. It was as if my feet hit sand. The sand-like mixture and ceramic tile was like a slip-n-slide without the rocks poking through and water.

My right hip hit the cabinet and my feet got stuck in sandy goo. I was so sticky and could barely make my way over to hit the light. When I did, all I saw was sugar and honey everywhere. The honey bottle was still dripping from the upper cabinet, down onto the counter and down onto the floor. As I was just about to scream, I see him, those big eyes and giant smile peering at me from across the living room. What on earth happened here?

He jumped out of his chair and ran over to me and said, “Mommy, are you glad I finally did not wake you up? Remember when you told me to never wake you up in the middle of the night again when I can’t sleep? Well, I tried to read and since, well I am only three, well that didn’t work because I can’t read. So since I am not allowed to boil water for tea, I made sugar and honey water. Aren’t you so happy I didn’t turn on the stove? Then when that didn’t work….” “Wait a minute! Stop right there! What do you mean when that didn’t work? What did you do?” I exclaimed. He replied, “I decorated our house for Valentine’s Day! Let me show you mommy, you are going to be so proud!”

I ruined this kid. When he was expecting me to be “so proud” I was crying in terror. He glued everything and I mean everything to our walls, doors, cabinets, closets, head-boards and carpeting. He broke down in tears because mommy was supposed to be so proud. It took me two weeks to clean up the mess. That was two years ago and I still have remnants of Valentine’s Day 2011 lingering throughout my house.

The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher. ~Robert Brault

Where am I?  Who am I?(Picture courtesy of Google Images)
Where am I? Who am I?
(Picture courtesy of Google Images)

So now, I have another three-year old. I do not want my boys to grow up. Yes, I want to keep them little forever. Bull$hit. But when will enough be enough? Can I survive another round of the Torturous Threes? So far it has cost me my eyesight, I will need a future hip replacement, a whole house woodwork and paint job and $75.00 in plumber fees this year. That’s right, my fresh little three-year old recently flushed a Diego screwdriver tool down the toilet. The plumber looked at him, then me, then him and was like, “huh?” Did he think that was odd? I actually thought it was a clean disaster. A little pricey but picking up the phone to let someone else deal with the mess was a lot easier than other adventures I have been on with my boys.

I love them. I do. I have no idea what I would be without them. Sometimes I wonder if Karma is real. Perhaps Uncle Karma is knock-knock knocking on my door. I know from experience and asking of my parents, I was never like this. Being a girl I just wouldn’t think of these things. I wanted to paint, color and draw, on paper. I wanted to brush my dolls hair and put my mom’s makeup on, neatly. Never did I want to cause extreme fatigue or bodily harm to my parents.

Parenthood is one crazy ride. I do love every minute of it. Especially since I am still here to talk about it. So my advice to new parents approaching that magical age of three, if you think age two was rough, hold on tight. You are in for one heck of a ride! Just remember, moms and dads, you are your child’s favorite toy!

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t. ~Barbara Kingsolver


7 thoughts on “Terrible Two’s Ain’t Got Nothing On The Tortuous Threes”

  1. Thanks for the good laugh. Now for the bad news: buckle up your seatbelt, Swimgirl, cos it ain’t finished yet……. Bigfoot is 16 and we still hear “oops” followed by crashes from time to time… But he hasn’t been to A&E for a whole year now, so he’s learning good survival techniques.

    1. LOL! Why did I have a feeling this was coming…? We too are learning good survival techniques! When I ran a half marathon without training a few years ago many people thought I was like a super hero or something. My thoughts, if you can have and semi-raise a child, or two or three, you can do anything. Plus I had a mommy time out that day. Even if it meant running 13.1 miles. Two hours is two hours. Thanks for sharing! Good luck!

  2. I remember the terrible three’s – both of my boys went through them! We are now at a happy 8 and 11 years old and it is soooooo much easier. There are still messes now and then, but it is a breeze compared to age 3. I remember going to get many manicures during that time (just to get out of the house!) You deserve some mom alone time – without honey!

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