Bean is entering a new phase. I think this must be the three-year-old behavior people warned me about. These days, Bean is like a PMS-ing tiny warlord hyped up on steroids. He’s emotional, moody, demanding, bossy, and very rambunctious. My sweet, shy, quiet little two-year-old has become a little turd.
I say it with love, but it’s true.
The biggest change in him would have to be his roughness. I remember a few months ago we were at a birthday party for a little boy in Bean’s class who was turning three. There were other three-year-old boys there and I remember watching them push and shove and literally roll around on the ground playing in the dirt. Meanwhile, Bean was hanging out over on the sides, kind of close to me, just watching and checking things out. I remember thinking, “Thank goodness Bean isn’t a rough boy.”
It’s like all the rough and tumble that comes with being a boy just suddenly came surging through Bean in the past two weeks. He’s rough and pushy now. He kicks things and jumps on things and throws things and takes things from Gracie. I don’t think he’s intentionally being mean, but it’s like he can’t control it. He reminds me of the Hulk.
All these changes are driving me crazy! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Michael, is that how we play nicely?” over the past two weeks? Bean hasn’t sat in time out in months, but lately I feel like he’s been in time out more than he’s been out of it! To a certain extent I’m trying to let him ride through this phase. I know this is just part of being three and being a boy, so I try not to stay on him ALL THE TIME. But at the same time, there are rules in our house that we do not break. We share toys, we don’t push or kick, we treat our toys nicely. And no matter what phase my kids are in, those rules have to be followed. Which is usually how Bean ends up in time out…
The difference between the two’s and three’s from what I can tell is that at two, they are still learning how to control their emotions. You get random outbursts and meltdowns because they are learning how to use those emotions and actions, so they can’t really control them yet. And then they learn how to control them, so they like to practice using them – like, a LOT. Two was tough, but the actions (no matter how frustrating) made sense in some way.
But this three-year-old thing? From what I can tell, now it’s not about learning to control those emotions and actions, it is knowing what’s right and wrong and deliberately choosing the wrong, just to try and cross the line. I’m sure that psychologically he’s learning about boundaries and limitations right now and that these little acts of defiance are to test our limits, so I’m glad that Chris and I are holding firm about what rules we have in our house. But GEEEEZZZZ! This is going to be tough!
Last night Bean was particularly challenging. He wasn’t being very nice to Gracie and I ended up sending him to bed early because of his behavior. This morning wasn’t much better as Bean pitched a total temper tantrum about not having a THIRD bowl of cereal because we were running late for school. By the time we got to daycare, I have to admit that I was ready to drop him off. I had told him that he could have breakfast at daycare since he didn’t get to finish his bowl of cereal at home, so I took him into the cafeteria to eat after we’d dropped off Gracie. Normally, if Bean eats breakfast there, I just drop him off and he sits at a little table, eats his breakfast, and then the cafeteria girls take him to his classroom when he’s done. But this morning when I went to drop him off, he took my hand and looked up at me with those big blue eyes of his daddy’s and said, “Mommy, will you sit with me?”
I was so late for work already. So, so, so late. But it was so nice to see my sweet boy shine through for just a minute and so I sat down with him and we ate breakfast together right there in the middle of the daycare cafeteria. There was the normal rush of morning drop off going on around us, but Bean ate his waffle and talked to me like we were the only people in the room, and soon I felt like we were. It only took him about 10 minutes to eat his waffle, and then I walked him to his classroom before I left. And I smiled all the way to school.
Three is going to be rough. I can already tell. But three might also be very surprising on random Tuesday mornings, and that part I’m really looking forward to.