Dear reader, I’m appealing to you. If you are the mother of child who is three years old, or the mother of a child who is four years old, and you have some inkling how to deal with three-year-olds, please send me some advice.
As you know, I have a five- and a three-year-old. I have been through the three-year-old phase before. I have only vague memories of it. I recall nothing of how I dealt with this phase, nor do I seem to possess any skills that, having navigated this phase, I may have developed.
And now I am deep in the phase again. And I haven’t.got.a.clue how to handle the three-year-old.
He is defiant for the sake of being defiant.
I ask him to put his shoes on in the morning. His simple answer is “No.”
I repeat my request. He repeats his answer.
I offer him some help. He says, “No.”
I insist that he put his shoes on because now it’s time to go. He stands firm with a “No.”
I ignore his defiance and put on my own shoes, then instruct his sister that it’s time to leave and she needs to get her shoes on. She complies. I pray that her obedience will encourage him. He stands resolute in his decision not to put his shoes on.
I continue to ignore the behaviour and head out the door to the car. With Big Sister safely secured in her booster seat, I go back into the house and tell him one more time to put his shoes on. He smiles his ever-so-charming smile and says, you guessed it, “No.”
I pick him up and carry him to the car. He kicks and screams the whole way. I deposit his shoes on the floor of the backseat, reminding myself not to scream at him, then I get in the car and drive him to preschool.
This is my morning. Every morning.