Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I hated my three year old

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the concept of loving versus liking our children and their behaviors. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


You hear a lot about the terrible twos. Children who won't listen, who throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way. I think for Attachment Parents, two isn't that hard, mostly because you aren't expecting immediate obedience. When you give your children's wants and needs as much validity as your own, it's easy to work with your two year old.
228: Snuggles
Three was a different story though. Three, for me, was a nightmare. It didn't matter if I was trying to actively work with her to a solution, Moira wanted that specific thing, right now, no delays. If what she wanted a pink cup, and there were no pink cups to be had, there was no possible solution. She couldn't be distracted, she would never forget, she would not let it go. She also hit me, screamed in my face, pulled my hair, she broke things to get my attention, and then cried for the next three hours about it.
I hated her. I wanted to spend as little time as possible around her. I wanted her to just stop talking.
I am sure that she could tell, though I tried my best not to show how much my skin crawled every time she touched me. I made sure we did special things together, and had time cuddling. But I know she could tell that there was something wrong, and I'm sure that how I was feeling made the whole mess much worse. After all, the obvious way for a 3 year old to get your attention is to climb on you, throw a fit, need inexplicable levels of help and attention, and she only wanted more and more because she didn't feel a strong connection to me.

Then one day, when I was 8 months pregnant with her brother, and we were sitting at library story time, I felt an inexplicable need to sniff her hair. I assume I had a rush of Oxytocin at just the right moment, and it gave me a little bit of that automatic love you have for your sweet baby. Every day since then has been a little bit better. I'm relearning how to laugh with her, and not spend my whole day trying to distract myself with the computer. Every day, I like her more and more.


Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!


  1. On the downhill slide towards 4 right now, I totally get this. Three is a bitch and a half. My gosh! Two was nothing. Three takes more mothering strength than I often have. I have moments of weakness but like you, sometimes it is a small sniff of her hair or the little glimmer in her eye that reminds me that she is still my baby, a baby, in the grand scheme of life. And she deserves all the love and warmth I can give her. Hard as that may be!

  2. I still sniff my children's hair! I think there are moments in our children's lives which are about so much more then just giving them the opportunity to learn how to deal with emotions acceptably express themselves....they are also opportunities for parents to grow. I try to remember this when we are having one of "those days."

  3. Little ones can drive us inexplicably insane. I also have a daughter who tries every ounce of my patience! She's almost five, and is now becoming a person that I can reason with. It took me four years to work out how to "diffuse" her before she had a complete melt down. Yes, every day it gets easier and easier and I learn new ways to communicate effectively.

  4. Yes! Thank you for sharing so honestly. It's hard when everything your kid does to connect pushes you further away. Three cheers for oxytocin and reasons to go on!

  5. I am so very right in the middle of this exact thing! I literally tell Sasha to get off me often when she scoots right up against me on the couch at night. But I, too, make sure to snuggle her and make time to do a little something with just the two of us - especially since I leave with just her brother so often). I'm also trying to use words to tell her when I feel frustrated or angry about her behavior. My hope is that this will feed into the studies we're doing on emotions so that she will have the words to explain how SHE feels.

  6. You have no idea how relieved I am to hear I'm not the only one. I seriously feel like crying. Thank you so much for this post.

  7. I found 3 to be infinitely more difficult than 2 with my older son. I once read someone describing 3 as the age of "defiance with a smirk" and another as "the terrorist threes". We also had a new baby in the house so lots of transitional stuff going on in the home, which really just exacerbated the situation. I have to say I am really enjoying 4! While of course he still has his moments, in general he has become a funny, creative, empathetic little person. So, there is light ahead!

  8. I know the feeling. Those long spans of time where it is just so HARD to love your child. You treat them well, which is proof that you do, in fact, love them; but you don't *feel* loving. At all. And of course they pick up on it and that makes it ten times worse.

    Thank goodness for those moments when they worm their way back into your heart, just the way they worm into your lap when you're not looking. If it weren't for those moments, how could we ever keep up with the amount of completely one-sided love our children need?