The Torturous Threes

March 17, 2014


When a black cat doesn’t just walk across the street in front of your car, but actually stops and stares at you as if wondering what he/she should do, take heed of the omen. I sure should have. But no.  My cocky self turned her nose up at the idea. “I’m not superstitious,” I scoffed in my head. “We’ll make it to pajama story time, even if we are a few minutes late.”

The idea to venture to pajama story time at the library this evening took root after Vinny took a glorious afternoon nap. My 11-month-old son doesn’t always take the best afternoon naps, leaving him ready for bed by 6 p.m. on most nights. But not today!  Today, he napped until 3 p.m., so I was confident he could muster enough baby attentiveness to make it to 6:30 p.m. pajama story time. My 3 ½-year-old toddler, who has since given up napping, except upon the rarest of occasions, was immersed in imaginative play all afternoon, so I thought she too could handle the outing.

I thought wrong.

Lately, my toddler and I are experiencing intense power struggles. She’d like to be the one in control, but I’m the mother. And, as the saying goes, mothers know best!  Since we went to the library earlier in the day to play with the trains, read books, and color, the event this evening was strictly story time. We were not there to play in the youth room. We were there to sing songs, listen to stories, and do a craft. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Well, my daughter had other ideas.

When we arrived, she refused to enter the room where story time was taking place, choosing, instead to play by the train area. She found a book and wanted me to read it to her.  So she received her first warning.

“Gianna,” I said. “We are here for story time. If you don’t want to go into story time, then we are leaving.”

But she persisted with the book and the train table. So, determined to stand my ground because at some point, whether out in public or not, children need to learn who is in charge, I told her we were leaving and I proceeded to walk out of the library.

Fortunately for me, she will follow me as I leave. If I could have, I would have picked her up, but since I was holding my 11-month-old, I couldn’t.

But let me tell you, we did not leave quietly. She screamed, no hollered, inside the elevator and as we walked out the door and I literally had to drag her down the street to my car.  One would have thought I was trying to kidnap her, she resisted so badly. In my head, I’m thinking, “What am I going to do if she bolts? I can’t just run after her with a baby in my arms. I can’t just put the baby down. I’m still too far from the car to put him in his car seat. Plus, I don’t trust her not to run in the other direction while I take the time to put him in his seat. “

So I dragged her as best I could thinking to myself, “What if I pull her arm so hard, she dislocates her arm from her shoulder?  I don’t want to hurt her, but if I let go, she could bolt and hurt herself.”

Somehow we did make it to the car. No injuries and no bolting away either.

It was definitely one for the books and, Lord help me, I will nip these tantrums in the bud.  I always considered her so mild-mannered, but as of late, she’s giving me a run for the money. Terrible Twos had nothing on these Torturous Threes. In my opinion, the twos weren’t terrible at all. I yearn for those days after an episode like today’s.