I May Not Survive My Daughter Being Three


I may not survive my daughter being three between all of the tantrums, tears, and fights.I cried this morning. More accurately, I scream-cried at my daughter and then sobbed in private while she continued steadfastly not eating her breakfast and not getting dressed. Last night we screamed in tandem while she argued with me about the placement of her blanket, where I was standing, how I was standing, which book she wanted, how the book should be placed in her lap, and whether or not her water bottle had water in it (spoiler alert: it did). Earlier in the evening, she screamed for over 20 minutes because she wanted to help bring in the groceries but didn’t want to go outside.

I thought my son was a difficult toddler. I was wrong. In hindsight, he was a dream. My daughter, on the other hand, is slowly killing me. Her day (and mine) can be immediately ruined by putting her cereal bowl in the wrong spot, putting her socks on before her pants, switching a light on (or off), not letting her make my coffee, waking her up first, not waking her up first, suggesting that she wear a sweater, reminding her to wash her hands… I swear the list is never-ending and ever-changing and is designed to slowly break me.

The best approach and the one I usually take is to leave her to scream and rage and kick and cry on her own for a few minutes, then go and give her a big hug and attempt to distract her from whatever ridiculousness caused the initial meltdown. But I am not always capable of this. Sometimes I’m late for work, I need to focus on dinner, or I just need bedtime to be over already before I lose my ever-loving mind, and I am no longer capable of giving her the calm and loving attention that she so clearly needs and I scream right back at her. Then my sobs of frustration turn into tears of guilt over my inability to be the grown-up in the relationship and now everyone is crying.

She’ll grow out of this, right? She’ll stop screaming at me about the nature of reality for at least a couple of years before she becomes a teenager? Right? RIGHT? Lie to me if you need to, I need some hope to get me through the next battle.

Want professional ideas on how to help minimize meltdowns? Read this article from EIRMC about five trusty ways to work through big feelings.