Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three and a half

Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis and describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities (known as alters or parts), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment.

While this is the definition of Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka multiple personality), I think it also is a fitting definition for a three and half year old, or at least MY three and a half year old.

I just don't get.
One moment, she is loving and cuddly. Playing nicely with her toys and her sister. Sharing, laughing, and smiling,
Everything is good.

Then it happens.

Like a switch,
Her alter ego takes over.
Thrashing, kicking, screaming.
She has no control.

Who is this child?
How did she get here?
What the f--k did I do to her?
Then the realization takes hold.

I told her no.

Lunch could not be Halloween candy,
or I requested she share the five toys she was hoarding
or nap time had arrived.

In response, an action comparable to Regan from the Exorcist, takes hold.
As her body contorts and her hair tosses from left to right.
Primal screams from the pit of her stomach fill the air.

I am at a loss.

I try to stop her.
Raising my own voice, I start.
"Time Out" I yell.
"Do I have to take away Jessie? Mermaid? Red Dog? Peyton?"
Her smug response only agitates me more.
"No Video, tonight!"
"No Chick"
 No, No, No....

I can feel my own blood boil, as profanity fills my brain and whispers escape under my breath as her rant continues.

A new approach,
I pick her up,
Toss her into her bed.
Tell her not to get out.
Shutting the door (okay slamming the door), I walk away.
Leaving her interchanging sobs with screams.
I am done.

Mere minutes pass as I hear footsteps on the hardwood floor.
The sound of the knob turning echos in the hall.
She opens the door,
Tear stained cheeks, with eyes face downward.
Her breathing strained as she chokes,

Mama, I

I gather her up in my arms, reminding her to breathe in and out, as her face buries itself in my shoulder. Her body heavy as her chest rises and falls quickly against my own.
It's over.
"I'm sorry." she mutters as she looks up to me.
Her eyes are different now, as I see contrition and love, which had been missing earlier.

Three is tough.

Kick me in the ass tough.

I love my kid, but I won't lie.
In those moments,
I really don't like her too much.


  1. This too shall pass! It will not go away only morph into some new form of tantrum!!!! Love the post.

  2. The threes are ROUGH. My youngest is three and he's either the sweetest child ever or the most demonic. And we have no idea why that switch is flipped sometimes.

  3. i keep hearing this- that 3 is much harder than 2! :( i'm soooo sorry.

  4. I have to echo what Shell says. Sometimes I look at my daughter and just want to hug and play with her all day, other days I wonder who she is!

  5. So true. I always said that whoever coined the phrase "terrible twos" hadn't met a three-year old yet!

  6. 3 is SO tough! 4 is like a precious gift once you get there. It's almost like a miracle! Hang in there, mama. You can do it.

  7. This has to be so difficult. I work with college students who are the prime example of why it is paramount not to give them their way all the time. Good for you for holding your ground while still making it known how much you love her.

  8. 3 is tough. I always say the terrible two's with my two older boys was nothing compared to the troublesome threes. Threes made the time in the twos feel like a honeymoon.

    Hang in there!

    Visiting from Shell's & PYHO.

  9. I think 3 is so much harder than the supposed terrible twos! Hang in there! It will pass. :)

  10. Oh man...Threes are certainly rough aren't they? I think anyone with a child can completely relate to your amazingly well written and honest post. We've all been there. Yelling, slamming and not liking very much. But those hugs and hiccuped sobs soothe the anger and make us remember that these little people are trying to figure it all out. Hang in there!!

  11. I keep hearing about how hard 3 can be but it sounds like it's hard on both of you. I love how she said she's sorry she knows she's not behaving she just can't seem to help it.

  12. The 3's are definitely harder than the terrible two's. I have no idea why that switch is flipped, but I sure wish we could fix it!

  13. Yes!! Three is the new two! That's when the tantrums started with my kids. Good luck, mama...we've been battling tantrums and "NO's" too. It helps to vent sometimes :)


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