Urban Dictionary describes the Threenager as a “three year old child spouting attitude like a spoiled teenager.” That is literally what we are dealing with lately with Kbebe. It’s like a light switched and his 3.5 year old self turned into a monster. Like the Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, his Hyde side is emerging and it is testing my limits to the fullest.
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See, The Dudeman does bedtime. It’s their only time together and frankly I’ve never been able to put kids to bed without a boob. I try but ultimately he’s the bedtime master. Then he left me for 4 days last week and the roof caved in on me. I had to put both kiddos to bed in our one room bedroom/house thing, it was a nightmare.
Here’s how it normally goes:
In bed at 6:30pm- Dad reads a story, The Sweetness falls asleep and then Kbebe fights it a little but lays there until he falls asleep around 7:30pm.
Here’s how it went with me:
Monday Night: In bed at 6:30pm, a story, both kids running around the bed not listening, me calmly explaining to go to bed, them not listening, one kid crying, threenager hitting me and then crying because I swaddled him. Then eventually them both falling asleep around 8:30pm because they ran out of steam.
Tuesday Night: 6:30pm I tried a different technique, “let’s do calm breathing, like a wave, in and out.” Everyone laying in bed nice and calm, then all of a sudden crying, hitting, kicking, screaming, my blood pressure rising and feeling that out of control I just want to yell feeling. Eventually they fell asleep around 8:45pm.
Wednesday Night: “Let’s try a little later bedtime, that’ll work.” In bed 7:30pm, calm breathing, laying still, then yelling, crying, hitting, screaming, and a threenager saying “you are not my best friend and I don’t love you anymore.” Eventually they went to bed at 9:30pm almost 10:00pm. I stayed up crying after that because I was completely broken.
Thursday Night: I give up, 6:30pm again, more crying and screaming. (a lot from me) The threenager asks, “why are you crying mom?” UM BECAUSE I HAVEN”T SLEPT IN A WEEK BECAUSE YOU WONT SLEEP AND IM LITERALLY BREAKING “oh ok mom, goodnight” 7:30pm
Thank goodness The Dudeman came home Thursday night because I don’t know if I could handle another night. Now, I’m feeling completely defeated and like a bad mom because I yelled and smacked him back (lightly) once. It was as if all the gentle parenting techniques were thrown out the window and I became my father in those moments. I will never spank my children the way I was as a child but I could feel the fire building inside me.
Now, I just feel low. Like I’m failing my children because I can’t control my emotions and teach them how to control theirs. So, what do I do? Give up? No, that’s not what we do, we Hustle or Hyde right?
A few months ago, I ordered the Time In Toolkit from Generation Mindful but haven’t really started it. I liked the concept of teaching my children how to self-regulate their emotions but keep putting it off. Honestly I think it is because I wasn’t ready to put in the work, gentle parenting is really hard. After last week though, I’m ready. I don’t want to be a monster mom and I want my kiddo to not be seen as a threenager but fill the need he is expressing.
When he saw me crying it was like he saw why I was so desperate to get him to stop hitting me and go to sleep. It was as if showing my vulnerability and hurt made him understand that the way he was acting was hurting me. Sometimes it is hard to separate the “mom” from the “me” and show my children who I am inside. I’m realizing that maybe they need to see me more often and see me putting in the work. Then I read the guide for the Time In Toolkit and maybe this is what we all need. Growth across all channels and learning how to talk about our feelings/emotions without letting that fire overcome us.
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