I was remarking to friends recently how interesting it is to watch my children’s innate personalities manifest after birth. When it comes to nature vs. nurture, I’m always quick to rattle off a myriad of reasons in support of the nurture side of things. I suppose it’s some way for me to feel in control of every situation. But working with my kids teaches me time and time again that crap happens whatever is inside is bound to come out.
Take my 3-year-old for instance. My youngest is a walking, talking example of When You Make Plans, God Laughs. It’s not just her surprise conception. Or, the fact that she came out penis-less when she mimicked every craving, emotion and ache that her brother’s previous birth had produced. It’s more the fact that despite our loving and patient guidance she insists on being a complete and total lunatic in public.
I’m not a parent that’s easily embarrassed, mind you. Nose picking, flatulence and questions about anatomy in front of strangers hardly cause me to bat an eye, really. My toddler though finds the most unique ways to ruffle my feathers. She’s strategic and possesses a particular set of skills. Skills she’s acquired over a short life. Skills that make her a nightmare for a person like me.
Parker is a hard 3, I’ll tell anyone that. She’s at that weird stage where she communicates near perfectly but is still frustrated by not being granted full autonomy. She understands how some rules work but isn’t able to rationalize why they should apply to her. So most days she spends her free time giving me crap for being the authority figure that’s making her life so hard. So basically, she’s a threenager.
I love all of my little monsters angels, there’s no question of that. But being a stay at home mom to that littlest kid can make a mama lose her mind. While laughing with my own mom about it (she was doing all the laughing, mind you) I realized there are so many things that other people hate that are still better than my kid throwing a tantrum.
In fact, the more I thought about, I realized there are at least 8 Things Less Annoying Than My Threenager During a Tantrum. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
- Attending a PTA meeting at my big kids’ school. Two hours with the ladies that ignore me at the bus stop. And still, want me to bake 185 cookies to support the 4th-grade field trip to teach Costa Rican orphans how to skateboard has absolutely nothing on my 3-year-old’s tantrum because I deleted her Caillou episode from the DVR.
- Talking about politics on Facebook. Really, Susan, you’re sad you just found out Uncle Bobby was an idiot who shouldn’t mix his Electoral College vote with a bottle of his bathtub-brewed moonshine? Well, I’m sorry for you. But I’m sorrier that my kid didn’t realize this birthday party isn’t for her and now she’s gonna make us all pay.
- Paper gowns at the doctor’s office. It’s not that I like narrowly avoiding a paper cut on my left boob during a pap smear. It’s just that compared to an afternoon of 847 games of Chutes & Ladders with a person that changes the rules every 5 minutes…it’s not so bad.
- Teaching my mom to program the remote. There’s no instruction manual Comcast could produce that would clearly explain to my mother why she doesn’t need to manually press each channel number to scroll between stations. Nor will I ever figure out how she manages to record every episode of Judge Mathis but can’t remember how to “pay the man” for the PayPerView movies she rents. But in retrospect, she’s still got nothing on her littlest granddaughter.
- Contemplating a basement renovation with my husband. I recently spent 2 days giving the person I promised to love for always in sickness and in health the silent treatment. He assumed that ‘basement remodel’ was code for check prices on theater-worthy surround sound systems and sketch up architectural plans for Brown Daddy Man Cave 2018. But the nerve of her daddy is still dwarfed by the kid that once asked me for dessert in the middle of a screaming match about why she refused to eat dinner. Girl, bye.
- Teaching my Kindergartener to read. Don’t make that face! I’m not a horrible human being. I love watching my kids grow and learn. But, until you’ve sat through 45 minutes of a 10 page Dr. Seuss book because your 5-year-old insists on sounding out the words by himself, you don’t know pain. Pain that is still rivaled by waiting patiently as his younger sister puts on her socks and shoes alone. (I’m still waiting, by the way. She started sometime in April.)
- Trying on bathing suits after 3 kids. I’m sure there are women sitting there with their perfect abs, and their toned quads (or glutes or lats, heck, I don’t know) reading this and sucking their teeth. But let me tell you, prepping for a beach vacation after three kids is no walk in the park for me, sister. Even though walking away in the park is what I had to do after my kid threw a tantrum when she wasn’t next in line for the swings and tried to bite me. Fun times.
- A yeast infection. Now hold on, I did wonder if this was appropriate, especially in this context, but hear me out. At least with a yeast infection, your discomfort is private and you know that with proper care, the pain will lessen. Not the case with my kid in the toy aisle of Target when she found out you’re not supposed to unbox the Legos, now that’s a struggle to last a lifetime.
I hope this has been a wake-up call for all you mamas that thought you had it rough. If nothing else, look on the bright side. You may have problems, you may have horrible days, but at least you’re not trying to strap a 25lb screaming and flailing wild woman into a car seat when there’s still more “sunshine left” outside at the carnival. *sigh*