Kids and parenting

What to expect from a 3 year old?

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With my daughter turning 3 year old, I was a much relieved mother. After all, the terrible twos will be soon behind me. Little was I to know that after terrible twos, come troublesome threes. What a joke! Only if it was funny!

So threes come with their own set of troubles.

They know their mind: Yes, you need to give the 3 year olds credit for that one thing. Earlier, you said ‘Darling, you eat carrots today, tomorrow I will bake cookies for you’ and it worked. Not anymore. Those flimsy excuses won’t work. They know what they want. Once a NO, stays a NO.

They know where you hide them: Earlier, you hid an object and told them it had vanished, they believed you. Now, they not only know that it has not vanished, but they will actually dig out the thing for you. Little smart 3 year old detectives!

They are resourceful: Have you kept those jars of cookies and chocolate boxes on the top shelves of the cupboard? If yes, good. But it would hardly make a difference. Your 3  year old knows how to reach there. He has now learnt the use of stools, chairs, etc. Nothing is too far or out of reach for them.

They care for their appearance: My 3 year old checks herself out in the mirror every time she gets ready, either to go to the school or the playground. Suddenly, she has become quite conscious of her clothes, accessories and appearance. You might have experienced it too; that the clothes you decide find favour no longer with your kid. He wants to pull out his own clothes, even though they pair oddly. Also, they are fascinated with nail paint and makeup. They want their nails painted and lip colour on their lips just like mommy.

They also comment on your appearance and on others’ too. I get many a genuine compliments from my daughter. What my hubby fails to notice after 8 years of marriage, my daughter more than makes up for it. “Mama, you are going out? That’s why you are dressed so pretty? You are beautiful!” That makes my day.

They make friends and love them: Don’t take me wrong. They still love you. Till 2 years, they didn’t care much for any company apart from you. But now, they understand that friends are an important part of their life. They might fight, punch or not share with their friends; but at the end of the day, they care for them. They look forward to meeting their friends every day. My daughter gets time out from her teachers quite frequently for talking with her friends in the class and disrupting it. And somehow I don’t mind it. After all, it shows she has friends.

They observe much: Their sharp, observant eyes don’t miss much. So whether it’s a stain in your dress or a muddy dog, they take in all the details. And if they come across a pregnant lady, they will be curious to know how many babies are inside? How many girls? And boys? Yes, they love babies. Anything smaller than them fascinates them.

They talk nineteen-to-the-dozen: This should have been at the top of my list. It doesn’t matter; all the points are equal contenders for the top position. Your 3 year old is now an official chatterbox. The moment he or she wakes up till the time they go to sleep (and sometimes in sleep too), they talk about anything and everything. They talk about their school and friends, and weave interesting stories. It’s all very cute and fun. But sometimes, you do wish for a mute button.

They understand emotions: Earlier, you scolded your child, he forgot about it within a few minutes. Now no more. His memory has improved. Also, if you scold him, he would want to know ‘why’. He would cry or run off to another room. My daughter once told me, ‘Mama, I do not like you.’ So think twice before scolding. Also, they are perceptive enough to gauge your moods. If you are excited, sad or worried, they realise that something’s different and care about it.

They are curious: If there is one thing that you will learn is that all your formal education and professional skills are not equipped to deal with your 3 year old’s curiosity. There’s a ‘why’ for everything, even a ‘why’ for a why. One why stems out of another and so on. Believe me, it’s a daily struggle.

They are potty trained: You must be wondering how potty training can be a trouble. Allow me to tell you. By now, your child is diaper-free. That means, you need to make her pee-pee unfailiningly before you step out of the house. Still, it’s no guarantee that your child won’t scream ‘pee-pee’ or ‘potty’ every time you are out in a restaurant, visiting or travelling. And you rush to find a restroom.

They are smart: I had heard only Chacha Chaudhari’s mind worked faster than a computer. But these kids can outsmart him anytime. They are learning stuff, and quite quickly. A few days ago,  after an ice cream binge, my sister in law offered to clean my daughter’s face. She replied, “Only my mouth is dirty. Then why do you want to clean my face?”

Did you experience any troubles with your 3 year old? Or was it smooth sailing for you (I highly doubt it)? Whichever the case, I would appreciate you dropping a line here. Learn what to expect from terrible twos?


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