Turns out “three-nager” is a real thing. Madelyn was such a laid-back 2-year-old I kept thinking she’d always be an easy breezy little person. My child never threw tantrums in public, and she could be easily reasoned with when sad or mad. If she was upset we'd talk it out and she’d mutter out a quiet, yet sad, “ooookay.”
I thought we really lucked out, or this was my reward for her pregnancy being pure hell and for her colic and general unhappiness for the first several months of her life. Now my eager-to-please and selfless child is dumping out bins of toys with no intention of playing with them, and when I ask her to pick them up she looks me dead in the eye, say’s “no,” and kicks them around the room. Or when I'm getting ready for the day and Madelyn is playing quietly in the closet and once I come in I notice she has taken ALL of my shirts off the hangers and dumped out the hamper so the closet floor is covered in a foot of clothes. I don’t know how to deal with this! Also, how does a nearly 8 months pregnant woman clean up massive tornado-like messes a toddler creates? All the bending makes my sciatic nerve shoot pain from my butt up my back, and it also makes me have to pee about 5 million times.
My seemingly perfect, obedient, and calm child has learned she has a voice and an opinion and goodness I want to go back to before that time. Before something as simple as a broken stick or having to give back a toy a friend shared would turn into flailing limbs, screams that make your ears bleed, and a cherry faced toddler who looks as if she’ll poop her pants from extreme exertion at any moment.
List of things Madelyn has deemed end of world worthy:
1. Not letting her use all of her body wash during one bath.
2. When I try to tell her a shirt pulled down to her bum doesn’t count as pants. (Really hoping we won’t have this conversation again when she’s an actual teenager.)
3. When her hair is pulled back too tight in an elastic.
4. If I didn’t pack the one thing she wanted in her lunchbox, like a yogurt, even though there’s a sandwich, cheese, strawberries, banana, and a granola bar.
5. Not being able to see what I’m doing 24/7.
6. When Molly is sleeping and won’t follow her from room to room or sleep in Madelyn’s bed with her.
7. Getting water in her eyeballs.
8. When I won’t let her bring the 5 sticks and 26 rocks she found outside into the house.
One thing Madelyn has taught me is that no matter how angelic your child is there is no escaping the “three-nager” phase. All I can do is hope my patience multiplies and that she gets out of this stage as quickly as she entered it. Any well wishes and happy thoughts are much appreciated while we navigate this new phase of life.