For a couple of years after my son turned that magical, yet more reasonable age number 4, I remember looking at him warily every time something didn’t go quite his way. I was waiting fearfully for him to lose his ever-loving mind like he did his entire third year. For awhile, we called this Post-Traumatic-Three-Year-Old-Syndrome.
Oh crap! The dog ate his cheese stick! Run and hide, he’s going to blow!
Now that I am in the midst of having my second 3 year-old, I am reminded that there are some perfectly normal every day things that I am now afraid of. Once again.
1. A change in plans. One day, my daughter cheerfully sat in the car in her gymnastics outfit. As I put the car in reverse, I felt something…strange. The car had a flat tire. We were going to MISS GYMNASTICS. The icy fear that suddenly clutched my heart had nothing to do with trying to figure out how to change a tire and everything to do with having to tell my daughter the bad news. She did not take it well.
2. Unfamiliar food. This is especially awkward if you are at someone else’s house. And while I have hope that manners are forthcoming, right now if you serve my 3 year-old an item of food she doesn’t recognize, she is going to give you a piece of her mind and I am going to die of embarrassment.
3. Waking someone up from a nap. Once a week I have to wake my daughter up before she is ready to be up. I go into her room armed with snacks and forced happiness and my voice trembling. I am unable to do anything right in those 15 minutes of my life. I will pick the wrong socks, the wrong snack, the wrong way to breathe. It will all be WRONG.
4. Sticking to your guns. You gotta do this sometimes. I mean, most of the time. But it’s the scariest thing ever, especially when you accidentally say something stupid like, if you don’t put your pajamas on RIGHT NOW and stop screwing around, you aren’t getting your story tonight. They sometimes want to see if you’re serious and then…well…shit gets real.
5. Too much cheerfulness. It’s almost like my daughter is a pendulum that must always swing equally to each side between cheerfulness and crabbiness. If it goes too far into happy land…I’m basically screwed.
6. Something spilling on someone’s favorite shirt. No words can express how frightening that 2 second pause between milk dousing the front of the beloved Rainbow Shirt and my 3 year-old’s realization that she will have to wear SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I’m scared just talking about it.
7. Helping someone when they clearly don’t want to be helped. God help me with soap dispensers that are too hard for her to do by herself. The one at soccer practice has ruined our day more than once.
8. Accidentally laughing at someone when they are being very serious. I try not to do this. I realize that it’s not very nice. But I do have to admit that when a small person is very seriously “telling on daddy” because he wouldn’t sing her a song after she hit him, it’s super hard to keep a straight face.
9. Missing a meal. Ummm. No…just nope. I’ve learned my lesson on that one.
10. Disappointing news. And if you don’t think you could ever be afraid of a 3 year-old? Try telling one that they can’t go to the birthday party that they have been foaming at the mouth about FOR WEEKS because they are sick.
Go for it. I dare you.
This post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.