Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I have a little girl who has a little curl right in the middle of her forehead...

And when she is good, she is very, very good and when she is bad, she is horrid!

Ah the blessed three-year-old stage. The tantrums of yesteryear have faded and in their place are cunning and strategic dialogues between a parent and a child, read: myself and my middle child, Minnie.

Corporal punishment is out. These days, parenting is all about negotiation, time-outs and consequences. And so, rational, verbal exchanges are all I've got to work with, and that's pretty tricky when my three-year-old hasn't quite reached the level of maturity required for the conversations... or is it that she has well and truly surpassed this level of exchange? See below example:

"Minnie, if you continue to write on the table, I will take away your textas."

"You can take them, Mum. I don't want them anyway."

And this:

"Minnie, pick up your blanket off the ground, or I will put it in the wash."

"Just put it in the wash, Mum."

Or this:

"Minnie, it's time to come out of time-out now. "

"No. I don't want to. Go away."

You see, I've got nothing. She leaves me speechless. Consequences are inconsequential and time-outs cause a role-reversal where she forces me away. The rest of the day is more of the same. See below:

"Minnie, let's look at some different clothes, too much pink can look silly at times."

"I'm not silly."

"I know, I'm talking about the clothes...oh, just wear whatever you want. I give up."

And I have given up, on clothes anyway. It is extremely hard to teach an obstinate child about the delicate balance of matching, complementing and contrasting colours in an outfit. It's hard enough teaching them to wear a jacket on a cold day.

Everything is a battle of wills right now.

"Get my drink bottle, Mum."

"Why don't you go over to the coffee table and bring it back."

"No. You get it."

"I think you need to ask nicely."

"Get it...Please."

"Hmm." Note silence as I begrudgingly picked bottle up.

I think I'm meant to be embracing my child's new-found independence, her ability to speak her mind and her forthright nature.

Instead, I'm longing for the days when children were seen and not heard.


  1. Ha! My two year old isn't speaking much yet, so he's all about gestures followed by explosive tantrums. I'm not sure which is worse! Found you through FYBF!

  2. Hmmmmm. I know this only too well. I'd like to say it gets easier, but with one of mine 4yrs & 3mths, they just get better at it. Time outs don't really work, either. For me it's reward the good behaviour and warnings that a favourite toy or privledge will be taken away. It has to be something they really value. In my son's case it's his teddy bear (sounds cruel but it's the only toy he really adores) or no TV.

  3. Oh my goodness, I could have written this myself! I sympathise deeply (not that I have a thing to offer as suggestions). All I can say is, now she is 4, I am experiencing something of a respite - calm before the storm?? - and the negotiations peter out far quicker than they did during the 3's.

  4. I have bad news..... 4 is the new 2. PS Minnie is the cutest name EVER! And she is a cutie. ox

  5. This makes me chuckle, which I know is not helpful. My kids are 5 and 7 and obstinate in different ways now. I remember when my daughter was that age I watched Nanny 911 and thought, there has to be some cut and dried method... There's not. Alas! I soon learned kids are just kids and they're frustrating and unique and perfectly lovely.

    Your daughter is adorable.

  6. This is my daughter: all 12 years of her life.


    Best of luck to you!

  7. My 4yr old daughter does exactly the same!
    "Get my water/scissors/book/etc mummy."
    "What do you say?"
    "Please can you get my water mummy"
    "Just get my water mummy. PLEASE."

    I've been told that the terrible two's last until they are at least 20. G.R.E.A.T.

  8. I'm sorry, but with a nigh on 20 year old, and a nigh on 18 year old - I can only breathe a sigh of relief to have survived these early years intact! My best advice? Leverage. Find out what really pushes their button (ie favourite toy, or when older, any technology fits this bill!) - and restrict access unless you are seeing the correct behaviour. In the same regards, make sure to notice and reward any unsolicited excellent behaviour.

    Seriously - you will get through it, and it does get better....until you hit the next hormonal growth spurt. Then you re-learn it all again, and get through that stage......

    Cate :-)

  9. I have a little girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead - except she is now 12 and much much nicer than when she was younger - there is hope - hold on and be strong :)

  10. my daughter will be born in about 3 weeks and I'm already dreading this stage LOL

  11. Are you sure you weren't listening in to the conversations going on at my house?!!!

    Thought I'd better check out/follow everyone who is attending the AusBlogCon. Pop over to bigwords if you get a moment x