Please Tell Me It’s Just Three

If I could have put sound effects up there instead of a title you would have heard a series of door slamming, wailing, I wanna do its!

Please tell me this is just three. Please tell me that the obsessive counting (ten more times mama!) and persistent repetition to keep to the routine (NONOTLIKETHAT let me do it again!) is just a stage. Please tell me that lining up perfume bottles, opening and re-closing doors, and demanding we return the sheet she never uses just because it’s supposed to be there is not going to turn into something we have to manage. Please tell me that I won’t be repeating things like BEEK A BEEK A BEE in exactly the right octave and pace forever. And that I won’t have remind my wife to do it also because HAVEN’T YOU HEARD HER SAYING MAMA DO IT DO IT BEEK A BEEK A BEE for the last five minutes?

That she won’t always have to line up her plate and cup and bowl on the precise edge of the table and don’t you dare touch it because I will cut you.

That she won’t continue to make me leave a room if I haven’t come into it just the way she asked.

That she won’t repeat actions ad infinitum until it happens just the right way.

As someone with her fair share of hurdles in life courtesy of my particular genetic lottery “winnings,” I truly hope this really is just three. I find myself going out of my way not to inadvertently create new routines for her. No, of course I don’t mind a shirt then pants then shoes routine. Or a brush teeth wash hands pajama routine. But the let me shut the door holding the handle this particular way and god help you if you so much as look at me funny routine isn’t working for me. And neither are the rituals she’s accumulating in order to be able to undertake any activity. Bedtime not only includes songs and stories but also climbing up a balance ball like a mountaineer! and jumping up and down ten times not in trouble (she says because I told her 20 was too many. Once. Months ago.)

I assume routines are comforting. After all, she’s a teeny tiny cog in a really big wheel and it must be nice to control something. I just don’t like the colossal tantrums that result from being moved past a ritual into actual progress. Please tell me it’s just three.

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17 Responses

  1. It’s just three. And this too shall pass. Really.

  2. Three was when we made a photo book so – and I am not making this up – the spouse and I could page through it, after bedtime, and sigh “He used to be so cute.” So I’m betting on just THREE. Usually with some child-inappropriate words attached.

    Bug sang the same ‘song’ – ten off-key words, over and over – for 25 minutes in the car yesterday until I threatened to pull over, get out, and maybe never come back. (He’s four, so I can’t blame it on three, but definitely on Small Children Are Irritating.)

  3. This reminds me of my oldest boy C1. His bedtime routine became extremely unwieldy, and we (ok, DH) had to put our foot down and cut him off. We made the routine a manageable 20 minutes (bath, PJs, teeth-brushing, book, bed) and repeated the steps ad nauseum. I considered a poster with pictures, but I was too lazy. We had to endure lots of tantrums until the new routine replaced the old one. I used earplugs.

    It’s possible there is something underlying the control issues. Perhaps she’s chronically overtired, or attempting to give up her daytime nap and just exhausted by bedtime, or not eating dinner so hungry and crabby? It helped me to keep a journal of C1’s triggers to identify a pattern to his behavior. I’m ok putting up with some routines, obviously, but the door handle thing would drive me batty. I’d suspect child of trying to see how far I’d let her control me, and what crazy thing can I make mommy do today! Which would call for flat refusal, and earplugs for the ensuing tantrum(s).

    C1 had LOTS of tantrums. LOTS and LOTS. Eventually, we figured out he was chronically tired, due to snoring, caused by an allergy to bedbugs. I covered his mattress, pillow, and washed all his linens and lovies, and it became much better.

    Thanks heavens C2 was a normal-crying baby and normal-tantrum child.

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  5. Also, the rule at our house is “No irritating people on purpose. If you need to be irritating, go be by yourself in your bedroom.” This includes all repetitive noises and battery-operated toys. Multiple times a day, I say, “Thank you, honey, but that is enough of that song/noise/word. You can continue doing that in your room.”

  6. My money’s on three. And she won’t be three forever. (And Critter won’t be 2.5 and having meltdowns about not being allowed to wear the fleecy footy pajamas in our un-air conditioned apartment in July forever, either.)

    • Oh man. We had to hide the fleece footy pajamas. That’s a meltdown either way, literally in one case, figuratively in the other.

  7. I would have said OCD, but that’s because I don’t have any experience of children of any age. I’d listen to those who do, if I were you 😉

    Maybe though – chuck in a bit of messy play and “oh look how fun chaos can be!”?

  8. Our 2.5 loves to try and make us all sit in certain seats and then cry because we aren’t doing it right. I think it is about little people learning they can control their environment, and learning that they can say words and make other people do stuff with those words-powerful stuff. We also have one mommy who is extremely accommodating to all sorts of ridiculousness, and one mama who is very resistant, and, thus, gets more freaking out.

    For us, all of this is further heightened by LB several therapists who are happy to throw out a possible diagnosis or two, good times.

  9. Oh great, just what I’m looking forward to! 😉 I’m sure it’s just the age, but my kiddo is not yet 2, so I haven’t even managed to get past that hump yet. I’ll let you know when I get there!

  10. Suddenly the cats waking us up too early on the weekends seems way less annoying…

    • Let me tell you – whenever my cats so much as PEEP before I’m awake it’s annoying. 3 yr olds have nothing on cats.

  11. I think it’s just three. In our house our 3.75 cannot tolerate it if people come in the front door unless they pause to let her pull them in and they cannot go out the door unless she gets to push them out the door and if it’s me, I have to say, “Flap, flap, tweet, tweet, roar,” as I’m pushed out the door. I have no idea why.

    • That’s it. 3 is hereby banned. If that’s where we’re going, I’m in serious trouble.

    • I don’t know you or your child (at least I assume I don’t) but this is pretty funny. (It’s always funny when it’s someone else’s child.) Mine is a kitty cat who has to crawl through a tunnel en route to the bedroom. The tunnel, of course, is my legs and Lord help us all if I pet her tail before her head on a head-first day. I sure hope you don’t add an extra roar or anything as you go!

      • If I roared once, I’d be roaring every day until my last breath. Also, I think your cat lives part time at my house. I have the teeth marks to prove it 🙂

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