Advice wanted. PLEASE.

More experienced parents than me, tell me: do three-year-olds have a special intensity to their tantrums? And if so, for how long does this last? And has anyone come across a preschooler loaner program, where, say, I loan you my son? No charge?

For the last few days, Will’s tired, melting down stage has intensified like the the heat of a thousand white-hot suns in direct proportion to the ridiculousness of the issue. Tears of rage and futility ensue when one of us

…pours water in the wrong cup!

…pours water instead of milk!

…suggests that he drink anything at all!



It’s almost funny, because he is being SO outrageous and contrary. I keep my sanity by imagining the answers I would give him in an alternate reality:

Oh, sure, honey. Let me give you this big grownup knife to spread jelly on your toast. It’s called a cleaver, can you say that? Here you go, I sharpened it just for you.

Oh, you want to stay dirty? (True quote, delivered in the tub tonight.) I’m so sorry. Let me go outside, get some dirt and we can just spread it all over you to make sure you are as dirty as you want to be. Back in a sec, sweetie!

Followed by, oh, you want to stay wet, of course! (Also true quote from tonight, delivered by lying on the floor naked, wailing in protest from the TOWEL.) Let me just get a cup of water here, and toss it all over youβ€”all better, you’re nice and wet now!

My goodness, I am just a horse’s ass. OF COURSE you want to get into the tub first even though you spent five minutes caterwauling on the floor about something while we got your brother undressed and into the tub. Let me just take your (cheery) 14-month-old brother out of the tub for a second and put him down, dripping wet, on the mat so that I can then put you in, then put him back in so you can say you were first. No problem, sweetie pie!

In the immortal words of Dana Carvey, you can see where that might go. Advice and headache remedies welcome. Bring it on.


Thursday’s Theme at Picture This is pretty, and as the mother of two boys I was looking at some of my more girly photo subjects, then I remembered this one.

It would look great with painted toenails, don’t you think?



For more pretty photos go see Tracey at Picture This!


25 Responses to “Advice wanted. PLEASE.”

  1. Rush Says:

    A! I’m laughing as I read this, remembering our discussion of the product we’ll develop that makes car rides more acceptable. Maybe we should work on an anti-contrarian recipe, too?

  2. Toonsis Says:

    Poor thing, I feel for you. Are you sure this is the same cute boy who is sooooooooo,
    charming? Hang in Anna : ) Deep breaths!

  3. Carey Says:

    I’d say his tantrums are escalating because he has made the discovery that he gets what he wants when he behaves that way. Just a guess. Have you tried a good old fashioned spanking? My 5 learned really quickly that tantrums were simply not allowed… just some thoughts…

  4. Kim Says:

    first of all, great shot! that’s priceless. secondly, my daughter is just four, so we’re not that far ahead of you, but she did have a few mother-of-all tantrums during her fourth year of life, so I know where you’re coming from. And… I’m not sure where the “I have to be first at everything” comes from, but we’re still going through it. We sit down to dinner and Lauren says, “this isn’t and eating contest, ok guys?” We walk down the stairs..”I won!” We leave to run errands…”I get to get in first!” Ahhhh.. this too shall pass. (I think)

  5. chelle Says:

    I wish I could help. I too have a three year old and all I can say is some days are good, others not so much. We are making our way through it though. I keep reminding myself that this is how she is discovering the world.

  6. Mommy Babble Says:

    3 year olds can be the leading cause of mommy martinis for breakfast. πŸ˜‰ Everyone who talks about the terrible twos are only trying to get your guard down so you won’t susspect the 3s coming on. You’ve got my sympathy.

  7. my minivan is faster than yours Says:

    Your sarcasm on this post just warmed my heart. You’re talkin’ my kinda language, sister!

    Oh wait, you had a question. Actually my son’s turning three in October and hasn’t lost his marbles yet, but his nurse told me if they don’t have many tantrums when they’re two, they will when they’re three. So I’d say our are coming πŸ™‚

    Good luck!

  8. Jenny A. Says:

    I have a son who’s 11 who daily (at least) had a tantrum all through his preschool years. He was a baby who cried every night for hours on end. The tantrums stopped for school (mostly), but he’d be so tired after his Kindergarten days, he’d throw one just for me every afternoon. It’s tiring being a Mommy! Now he’s a kid who sees the world through his own unique perception, learning self-control more and more each day. It was a great day when I realized we did not ahve a meltdown one day!! He had to be taught a lot of ways (through many YEARS) to go and calm himself. Also, my J is really more in control if he’s well rested and well fed.

    Oh, yeah, I also have a daughter who I thought was “easy” but she’s just less difficult than her brother was! Just hang tough, and be pre-emtive—–set up their lives with choices so they can have some successes controling their own little lives.

  9. MelodyA. Says:

    I think we all have some form of this in our house. But glad you can see the humorous side to it all. You are too funny. And I LOVE the photo! He’ll love it too in a few years.

  10. Karen Says:

    Aw, what a cute shot! He’s a pretty boy, indeed.

    I can’t help you with the tantrums since we’re just entering the same zone ourselves. It’s really remarkable, isn’t it? I find myself checking in with him on *everything* on the days that I want to avoid the dramatics, and even then I screw something up. Like the day I took the juice box straw out of the wrapper (tolerable) and then STRAIGHTENED IT (unforgivable). I have faith we’ll get through it.

  11. Chelle Says:

    There’s another Chelle here on your blog… Wow, cool. Hey Chelle!

    No three-year-olds for this Chelle, but I’ve been through the niece/nephew phase with this age. Got a few doosies from those days and realize maybe I should just be the cool auntie.

    You’ll get through it like Chelle says. You are an awesome mom!

  12. B. Says:

    hmmmm. Why not let him eat cookies and drink lemonade before breakfast? Sounds like a reasonable request to me, as long as a, “please” is thown in there somewhere of course…(just kidding).

  13. Maya Says:

    Let me know what you find out about that loaner program…I have feeling I’ll need to bookmark that for one day! Wish I had more advice…I’ll be asking you what worked one day. Does the saying go “this too shall pass?” Never seems to make me feel better in the moment though!

    And your pretty picture…absolutely love it! One day you’ll show his girlfriends that.

  14. arizaphale Says:

    Absolutely laughing with you on this one. And that photo…he looks like he’s about to lose it there too!!!
    ” These are the wrong beeeeeeeeeaaaaaaads waaaahahahahaha”
    I remember these days well and I wish I had had an internet community to reassure me that it is common cos I just thought it was a) me or b) the evil spawn I had brought forth πŸ˜€
    As it was, food was a big catalyst. I am hypoglycaemic as are my mother and sisters and at some point I figured Bee might just be too. Low blood sugar can make you completely irrational. I tried to make sure she had small regular meals with lots of complex carbohydrates, I think you call em low GI nowadays. We try (still) to avoid eating sugar if we haven’t had anything else to ‘back it up’ or you can guarantee an attack. This approach seemed to work well with Bee. It wasn’t foolproof as you can’t always control what they’re eating, especially if you’re out visiting, but I feel it did make a difference to the irrational outbursts. The other thing is lots of reassurance and talking to them about how they feel when they have stopped wailing.
    It sounds like you’re doing all the right things though, and its ok to have the internal dialogue: hahahahahaha keeps you sane!!!

  15. Stacy Says:

    Oh, what a pretty boy!

    Well, my boy started early with those “hell hath no fury like a toddler scorned” temper tantrums. He once broke his lip open during a temper tantrum when he slammed his face into a cement floor. Then the screaming really started. We tried everything really…even resorted to spanking (as much as you spank a toddler), but it didn’t phase him. One thing that I learned was to give him a choice in the matter so he felt he had some control. A choice in clothes that I picked out that were weather appropriate (i.e. he couldn’t wear those shorts in the dead of winter, but he could choose which jeans he wanted). Sometimes nothing would appease him so we just put him in a room with soft carpet and let him go at it where we didn’t have to listen to him. Now that he has gotten older, I find that threatening to take away favored toys is usually a good deterrent. If he doesn’t quit he loses it for the day and he seems to be remembering now he has consequences.

    Good luck…I know how frustrating it can be!

  16. Erinne Says:

    This is adorable.

    My son loves to dress up. Good imaginations! πŸ™‚


  17. mikesgotnothin Says:

    Have you thought that the maybe the tantrums are coming because he was once dressed as a princess?! πŸ™‚

    Kidding, of course. Because, as I was reading, I was like, wait, when did she spend a few days with Aidan!?!

    Two were a piece of cake. Three, definitely a challenge. For us now, it’s throwing basically anything not bolted down….and i’m not just talking ‘loud talking’ i’m talking screaming!

    Ugh. We’ll ge through this. With ice cream, of course.

  18. Maggie Says:

    Regarding B.’s suggestion, you could always follow Bill Cosby’s line of thinking: Lemonade=fruit, and cookies are made primarily of flour, water and eggs. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable breakfast!

  19. Maggie Says:

    Oh, and PS, for perspective, it could be worse!


  20. Ashlea Says:

    This is my 19 month old lately. I think sticking a fork in my eye would be more pleasurable than another one of his doozys……which happen every other minute.

    repeat with me, this too shall pass!!
    Great shot though….

  21. Mandy Says:

    No advice (except that I think “spanking” does not work, as the above commenter suggested, and from experience, they do outgrow it-I think they are struggling with their independence), too cute in the tutu and wings, funny how when my girls’ friends, who are boys, come over do the same, but funny…..Olivia (she’s 4) loves to wear king crowns, superhero capes and carry a sword, go figure……

  22. Christina Says:

    Hehehe at pretty lil Will! In another 10 years, he will LOVE you for sharing that picture. πŸ˜‰

    We are about a year behind you on the tantrums thing, so please keep copious notes on what does and doesn’t work, so I can have a cheat sheet. :o) Seriously, everyone tells me the 3s are worse than the 2s, but we’re not even at two yet and she drives me CRAZY some days!

  23. Maggie Says:

    He’s so cute! And I’m quite sure he will grow up to appreciate this picture making an appearance at several (ahem) opportune times…

    No advice regarding tantrums. Although in my weaker moments I will let out a wail too – which surprisingly does tend to stop the tantrum! Good luck — my fingers are crossed for you!

  24. Is this why they say parenting is like riding a roller coaster? « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] Hank & Willie Shockingly regular entries since early 2007 « Advice wanted. PLEASE. […]

  25. Michelle Says:

    Found your blog through Mike’s and LOVE your sense of humor toward parenting—while I don’t have kids, I’m glad I’m not the only one talking back in my head to those who become annoying!

    When he goes on his first date, you can show this post to his girlfriend and then the score will be even. πŸ™‚

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