We are all “threenagers” sometimes

I would really like to talk about this term “threenager”. First, a confession – I myself have used it. Not regularly, but I’ve uttered it on more than one occasion. And sometimes it sort of feels accurate. But really? I think it’s a stupid term. It’s sort of insulting to teenagers (not that they probably care) and I think it’s kind of insulting to three year olds too.

Here’s the thing – it’s fucking hard to be three. HARD! You don’t know what you want sometimes and when you do know what you want these stupid adults won’t let you have it/do it. You’ve got big emotions that you don’t have words for and it seems no one can understand you. You want to be independent so badly but you still need help and comfort. You’re trying to figuring out this whole big giant, messy world and everyone around you is so busy and hurried and you feel rushed all the time. You don’t want to take a nap – you might miss something! – but being three really takes it out of you! And then bedtime, my goodness, do you know how scary the dark can be?! Or the fear or having an accident when you’re trying so hard to prove you’re a big kid who doesn’t need diapers? Or worse, when you like diapers because they mean mom smiles and chats with you while changing them…but everyone is telling you only babies wear diapers. and you are NOT a baby! but you kind of still are, just a little.


Being three sounds a lot like being a first (or fourth!) time parent. Or a teenager. Or a freshman in college. Or any number of times in our lives when we are faced with change or growth or outside pressure and emotions come into play and sometimes even adults act like a “threenager” and you know what? That’s all ok and normal. (See my last post!)

Listen, I get it, “threenager” is cute and concise and we can all bond over it at the playground. It does make the tantrums a little more bearable sometimes, to have a term that everyone understands. But the term “threenager” sort of sweeps all of the emotion and confusion and growing and figuring out under the rug…..and for me, remembering all that my kids are going through is what gets me through the tough times. Thinking about their feelings makes me sympathetic and helps me help them deal with being three.

Because they aren’t a “threenager” they are just three. And its hard to be three. And it’s our job to help them with hard things.

And just because I want you to know that I UNDERSTAND….here is a picture of my three year old eating a breakfast taco and giving me “a look”…



A breakfast taco, btw, that he begged me to make, watched me cook (there is a perfectly fried egg in there, damnit!) while hopping around underfoot asking if it was ready every five seconds, ran to the table to eat, and then as soon as it was served, he threw an epic fit because he DID NOT WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE THAT! (I don’t have the slightest idea what he was expecting, I make these several times a week and they always look the same.) After about ten minutes of screaming, foot stomping, chair rearranging (don’t ask), and general fit throwing, he finally pushed his chair back in, sat down, and happily ate the wrong-looking taco. He declared it delicious. I still have no idea what it was all about, but I suspect he was just having a hard time being three. Sometimes I have a hard time being thirty-seven. 🤷🏼‍♀️

One thought on “We are all “threenagers” sometimes

  1. Pingback: Common Hours

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