She might just be on to something.
Threenagers are getting a lot of bad press lately. And rightly so – I have one. I get it. Mine is defiant, stubborn and determined. Incredibly demanding and prone to loud outbursts of crying if she doesn’t get her way. She is full of contradictive behaviours. One minute she refuses my help with anything, the next she is clamouring for a cuddle.
But I’m wondering…is it at all possible to shine a positive light on the threenager? I wonder if they can offer us adults anything, besides the need for a Panadol?
It was hard (really hard), but I’ve come up with a list of lessons we could learn from the threenager:
1. Wear fabulous clothes.
For any occasion. In Miss P’s case, this means over the top, flouncy, bright dresses. Sometimes with wings, sometimes with a tiara. Sometimes with costume jewellery. No matter the occasion, Miss P always goes to a special effort.
She will also request a wardrobe change at least 4 times a day. Sometimes this is because a drop of water has landed on her dress. Other times, there’s no explicit reason. She will just start stripping off and ask you to get her another outfit. NOW. I must admit, the idea of wearing beautiful things at all times is very appealing. Let me tell you, if they made some of Miss P’s dresses in adult sizes I would be ON BOARD.
2. Don't accept no for an answer.
Miss P will battle with you for a yes to her requests. Even if you say no and offer a very reasonable and patient explanation, she will wait until you finish and then simply repeat her question. This could go on for half an hour. It often brings me to my knees. I try to dress it up as a compromise, so that it looks like things are on my terms. But they're not. I'm just giving in for the sake of peace.
So, the lesson here is, don't give up if you get a no. Keep asking and never lose your focus. Do not let someone try to fob you off with a long-winded excuse. You can break them.
3. Express your feelings.
Miss P will let you, and the rest of the street know if she is unhappy, hungry or wants to use the iPad. Her wails are so loud and overwhelming that our entire household ceases to operate.
The lesson here - if you're unhappy, do as Miss P does and let everyone know. Don't bottle things up. At the very least, you could end up with a cuddle and a biscuit.
4. Sing like no one is listening.
Singing is great for the soul. Miss P is really getting into her element with this one. What astounds me the most is that she doesn't even know all the words to these songs. I think she knows about two lines of 'Let It Go', but her version will go on for about ten minutes. She will sing her little heart out for anyone who's listening. I am all for this. Who hasn't rocked out in their car to really loud, really tragic songs? Feels brilliant, right?
5. Make your voice heard.
Miss P isn't just loud when she cries, she is generally a very loud little person. Why simply speak when you can shout? At least this way people will hear you the first time. I suppose Miss P struggles to be heard in our busy house, so this is how she's learnt to communicate.
The lesson here is, don't assume that people aren't interested, they just need to HEAR you. So speak up. Make people listen.
6. Be convincing.
Miss P will melt the angriest of hearts. So, if you find yourself in a spot of bother, try smiling disarmingly and quickly follow this up with a sincere-sounding 'sorry'. Make your eyes very big at this point. Maybe go in for a cuddle too. They'll be putty in your hands.
7. Be discerning with your friends.
Miss P is very clear about who her best friend is and the importance of interactions with said best friend. Anyone who is not best friend material or is at risk of having the best friend title revoked is informed by her in no uncertain terms. In adult terms, this means look after your close friends. Don't waste time on toxic or unhelpful friendships. Value your relationships with others.
8. Know your limits.
After a long day, Miss P will let us know she is ready for bed by refusing to eat her dinner and leaving the table to roll around on the floor every time we turn our backs. Eventually it clicks: this kid is tired. Game over. She doesn't even protest when we lead her upstairs for a bath. The lesson here is, know when you've reached your limits. There's no point pushing yourself when your body needs to recharge. Take a break.
Who knew a threenager could be so wise? I might start looking at her in a new light. Let me just make sure I've got the Panadol on stand-by.
How about you? Got a threenager? What's yours trying to teach you?
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