I’ve long said that 3 is the worst age of toddlerhood. I’ve never had many problems at age 2, but age 3, it just blows up. It has now occurred to me that before Liv, I had no idea what I was talking about. Bud and Lucy’s time of being 3, even if I combined their tantrums and bullshit, pale in massive proportion to what I deal with from Liv on a daily basis. I have always been the person wide eyed in the grocery store, at the child having a meltdown that the parent is seemingly powerless to stop. I’ve always been the one thinking to myself something along the lines of “damn, control your child!”. I should have known better. The tables have turned.
Olivia has always been a force to be reckoned with. She has been strong willed from the time she was an infant, fighting to the death to get her own way. Now, she is an extremely verbal 3-year-old who thinks that she is on par in all levels with her older brother and sister. I think too, because she has spent so much time one on one with grown-ups, that she also thinks she is something of a grown-up herself. So of course, when she doesn’t get to do what she wants, it is an all out battle.
Here is a typical conversation with Olivia, usually happening minutes before dinner time.
Liv: Mom, can I have a apple bar?
Me: No, we’re going to eat in a few minutes.
Liv: Please can I have a apple baaaar?
Me: Olivia, I said no. It’s dinner time.
Liv: But I said pleeeeaaase!!
Liv: Apple Bar!
Liv: Apple Bar!!
Liv: AAAAAple Bar!!!
Me: Olivia, I told you no. Now please sit down for dinner.
Liv: Well fine then, I’m not talking to you.
She is beyond infuriating, and I’m having a really hard time keeping my fury in check. We have tried everything: taking things away, time outs, carrying her to her bed, removing her from stores and dinner tables. You name it, we have done it and she does not care—not one single iota. And I am at a loss as to what to do with her anymore. Am I to just ride out this hurricane? When she is not being a raging hellbeast, she is really quite delightful. She loves to help with any chore, she likes to just converse with me, sit and read books, and do puzzles. She is quite a puzzle wiz, actually. But the second she feels like the slightest injustice has been performed, it is over and there is usually no going back.
So here’s my question. Are there any tried and true methods for disciplining an ornery 3-year-old? What about other forms of distraction? I feel as though I’ve exhausted all of my resources and I am starting to question whether the problem is me, and not her. Granted, I’ve never had this happen before, but still. Or maybe she just has, and always will have a strong personality. And if that is true, well, God help us all.