Crappy Baby is Getting Over a Cold

Crappy Baby is just getting over a cold. You know that stage when they are technically better but they are whiny and…awful? That.

Three-year-olds are horrible human beings. (I mean, you know, sometimes. Other times they are cute and hilarious. Otherwise we’d all stop feeding them.)ย 

He approaches me and asks me a question. An innocent (so I think) question:


He asks if this loopy circular thing looks like a pirate sword. Which it doesn’t. Like, at all.

Nope, nothing about a circle screams ‘pirate sword’ to me.

He is joking anyway, right?


He asks me again.


Despite his annoyance and obvious frustration, I answer the same way.

I’m not going to lie. It doesn’t look like a freakin’ pirate sword.

He is then possessed by a demon. He yells:


So I try ‘yes’ instead.

I mean, maybe it does look like a pirate sword to him.

He is on the verge of freaking out. Shit is about to get real. Can I dodge this? Have I diffused this tantrum with a tiny white lie?

Is ‘yes’ the right answer?


And he throws it at hard as he can. At my face.

Well, thatย did hurt.

So that is sorta like a pirate sword. I guess he was right.



Yeah, I know. You might think I should have stood my ground. Believe me when I say it wouldn’t have mattered. That circle “sword” was destined for somebody’s face either way. Better mine than his brother’s.

He’s much nicer today. He only threw a stuffed toy at me. He must be feeling better.

No really, he’s adorable! But he also totally sucks.

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199 Responses to Crappy Baby is Getting Over a Cold

  1. KpMcD says:

    Oh a child’s imagination is a precious thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Yeah, my 3 yr old sucks sometimes too. When she’s not being the cutest, funniest, smartest 3 yr old on the planet.
    Good thing I adore her so much.

    (yeah, I know all about developmental phases, blah blah blah. I have degrees in psychology, linguistics, and communication disorders. I’m still allowed to say my child sucks on occasion, because sometimes she does.)

    • Eva says:

      Awesome footnote! Yes, you are totally allowed to say that your child sucks! I find allowing myself to say it makes it a teeny bit easier to deal with.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Joy. I don’t have all those fancy degrees. just psych. I agree. I love him to bits, but sometimes, I feel like that too.

  3. Oh my gosh – this is my life today! My 2.5yo threw a book (thankfully paperback) at me this morning because he had a stuffy nose & Daddy was at work and he didn’t want to wiping his nose…only Daddy!

  4. Ow. You know what? When I was three, I was not like this at all. Somehow I waited until I was eight to have my “terrible twos”. Then it was all just meanness and sarcasm for like a year. I think my parents would have preferred getting hit in the face with stuff.

  5. June says:

    Ouch! ๐Ÿ™ How did you respond?

    When my younger kids (a few months shy of 3 yrs) hurt others, they have an immediate time out and a subsequent conversation afterward about why we don’t throw things at people and how it hurts and blah blah blah… But I think they don’t make any mental connections yet between the inciting event, the time out, and the conversation. (“I was just playing, and suddenly I’m in time out for no reason! And Momma is making those mouth sounds again.”)

    • Janae says:

      Rofl! Mouth sounds…that’s exactly what my kids must be thinking.

    • Woolies says:

      It’s the Charlie Brown teacher noises :

      wahh whaa waah whaaa whaa

    • Kim says:

      I’m really very sure that’s how it works with my middle child. The girls, they get it, they plot and revel in getting you to respond with a punishment but the boy, he’s just confused. “Why are you mad at me again…. Oh hey look something shiny!”

    • Ben says:

      Mouth sounds nothing! My just-turned-two year old would definitely know why he’s getting time out. Twos/threes are a lot smarter than people give them credit for!

  6. WOW, that is rotten. 3yos are awful. Adorable, precious, violent little sociopaths.

    • Elizabeth says:

      ^this. This exactly. I am so sick of three.

      • Amy W says:

        Four has been so much better. I have been enjoying it. Or maybe I have an infant to compare my daughter to. The baby (14.5 months now) screams loudly and gets mad at the littlest thing. My daughter can still be annoying, but at least I can reason with her somewhat.

        • Samantha says:

          No, four is most definitely better. I am just going through age 3 with my 4th and final boy right now, and age 4 is absolutely, unequivocally, infinitely better than three!! And whoever said it was the Terrible Twos obviously didn’t have children that lived to be three, because three is WAY worse!

          • Stacy says:

            For me 4 was worse than 3…I REALLY can’t wait for him to turn 5…I am getting grey hairs by the minute

          • Kat says:

            My 4 year old apparently didn’t hit the 3 year old behavior until she was 4. I heard about 2’s, but she was good as gold at 2! Then 3 came along and out of left field, the ‘terrible 2’s’ came along.. then when she turned 4, I swear she hit the ‘throttling 3’s’ (that is a joke, I would never throttle my children).

          • Cassie says:

            Ageed! Three was waay worse than two. All of a sudden my cute little obedient toddler turned into an opinionated jerk that wanted to reason her way out of everything. It was like living with an adorable, obnoxious defense attorney who objected my every word! Bleh, glad that’s over. Now she’s ten….. yikes.

        • JenB says:

          Three is worse?!? My 2yo son has already perfected the silent treatment (no, really. It almost makes me envious he’s so good) and is currently working on angry outbursts. He is also insistant on sharing of things that are specifically for him, like fruit squeezies and toddler gummy vitamins and we each have a stuffed toy dog we must each hold at storytime.
          Thankfully he couples this with funny mimicry, a rapidly developing sense of humour and utter cuteness. Of course, I’m biased. I’m his mother. He’s the best.

          • Kiza says:

            Three is SO much worse. Three sucks. A lot. I really kind of disliked my son a lot when he was three (you know, when he didn’t totally rock because he’s really an awesome little dude), and I am SO not looking forward to my daughter turning three in a few months. Two is awesome, four is awesome, five is awesome…three sucks.

      • SassyDandelion says:

        Oh, hell. Six is horrible! My son is 6. He’s terrible. He’s sarcastic, and shitty, and I don’t know what to do. I’m getting boxes from work today. I’m packing ALL of his toys and putting them in the attic. I told him that he can earn them back one at a time with good behavior and chores. I don’t fucking care if he gets bored; he can read a fucking book.
        Sigh. It’s been a rather difficult day.

        • Cristina says:

          Oh, honey! You poor thing. Your post made me laugh out loud, but only because I sooo get it. Hang in there mama.

    • Merryn says:

      I’m glad everyone is agreeing on the same thing. I have been telling my husband for nearly two years -“it’s just because he’s two” or “he’s three give him a break” . Now, i Can’t wait until the little man turn four in about 6 weeks time, maybe he’ll turn the corner then!
      Then it’s the youngest who turns two next week that ill go through the same thing for the next two years, I’m sure!

      • Rebecca Letts says:

        My middle son just turned 4 last week and my youngest is turning 2 next week. I do see glimses of non-3 behavior from the first (at the same time that my sweetest little baby suddenly is throwing trantrums for no apparent reason). I’ve been telling my husband to give the 3 year old a break too for ever, but secretly, I’m afraid he’s just extremely stubborn, like his dad.

      • Lindsey Kelly says:

        Erm sorry but 5 was an absolute shocker! I’m JUST managing to have a conversation with my 6 1/2 year old without her screaming in my face. She’s a “challenge” (English mum code for she sucks)

    • Kristen says:

      So so true. Although, four has been worse for us with our son. Terrible twos didn’t hold a candle to the horrible threes, but nothing has compared to the fucking fours. I’m hoping the next birthday is he fabulous fives…

    • Laura says:

      3yos are awful. Adorable, precious, violent little sociopaths.

      That is the most perfect discription! Good job! XD

  7. Kim says:

    I love his angry eyes lol Perfect characterization of a sick 3 year old. Then when you say, “I know baby, you’re tired, it’s okay” they shriek “I AM NOT TIRED!!!”… and then cry. Oy.

    • June1 says:

      HAHAHAHAHA! That’s my son, who’s three and a half. He’ll rub his eyes, I go, “Awww,” and he yells, “I’m not sleepy!” I don’t have to say anything to get a reaction.


      • My daughter does this too. She thinks if I recognize sleepiness she’ll have to take a nap.

        • Nicole says:

          My daughters new favorite line “I’m too tired to sleep” ( almost 3), or “My tummy hurts too bad to pick up my toys”.

          • Alli says:

            I’m so with you. My three year old pulls the same stuff, “Oh, no, I’m just too tired to sleep, I think I’ll play with my trains.” Though, lately he’s added the excuse of, “I just feel too sick to. . .” or he says that his arm-bone, bladder, liver hurts.

          • ACsMama says:

            Mine has started telling me things like, “my arm won’t let me pick up my toys.” Or, “My belly doesn’t want to go to sleep yet, and so it is keeping me awake until I feed it some candy.”
            Nice try kiddo, but not gonna work!

      • Melly says:

        Oh yes, my 3.5 does the “I’m too tired to pick up my toys”. I usually respond with a very sympathetic ‘Oh I guess you will have to go to bed then, come on..”. The response is usally a very sassy ‘Oh FINE den, I will pick up my toys!!!!”. Which they are then slammed moodily back into the box.
        13 is going to be a real joy.

  8. Erica says:

    I just want to preemptively say that anyone who tries to give parenting advice, particularly in regards to three-year-olds, and absolutely when it comes to ill three-year-olds, has B.O.

  9. Melissa D. says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I seriously cannot stop laughing! I hope your face is okay. It’s a fine line we walk as mothers between honestly and wanting to keep the peace! Love your blog, keep up the great work!

  10. Michelle Heaton says:

    I always tell my kids (almost 3 and 4) “you are so lucky I love you so much because I was a different kind of mamma….”

  11. jenw says:

    I’ve learned that the correct response to the same question any more than twice is “What do you think?” No matter the question.

    And my 3.5yo sucks sometimes too. So does my husband. I’m sure I suck occassionally…but no one in my house tells me that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mindy says:

      Yep…answering a question with a question can be most helpful. Though it wouldn’t have worked for this particular pirate sword dilemma, another favorite response to questions is, “I wonder…” ๐Ÿ™‚ I learned the “I wonder” response from Kim John Payne in his book Simplicity Parenting. Wonderful book!!

  12. What I can’t figure out is how they can have so much darn energy when they are sick. I know it’s wrong to wish for high fevers, but at least then they sleep.

    • amber says:

      I know. It is so much easier when they are sleepy and you’re in “Oh no, poor baby!” mode.

    • Emily says:

      haha I thought I was the only one with that ‘bizarre’ thinking! Nice to know other parents think so too! And loved to see the pictures of trying to figure out a 3 yr old ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure if my son is just a toddler or bipolar some days

    • Lyz says:

      Not always… My youngest spiked a 104-something when he was 2, and he was running around playing like there was nothing wrong. I didn’t realize he even HAD a fever until I picked him up! I took a video of him playing because I just couldn’t believe it.

      If I had a 104 fever I would want to curl up in a corner and die.

  13. Adriane says:

    As a Mommy to a 3-year-old myself, I can say that I’m happy my child isn’t the only one prone to such “rational” outbursts. :-/

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Reading stuff like this always makes me feel a little bit better about the insane three year old creature in my house that used to be my sweet little girl. Not much better because I still have to deal with her, but it’s always nice to be reminded that it’s not just me, I didn’t somehow totally screw her up and turn her into a psycho or something, she’s just strong willed and three. (BAAAAAAD combination.)

  15. Sophia says:

    Who said it’s the terrible twos??? It’s totally the threes. 2 was bliss! I’ve been saying this for 6 months now… so glad I’m not the only one dealing with a changeling child. It’s a little scary how quickly things changed.

    • Phaedra says:

      It’s the terrible teens… twos, threes, tens, teens, twenties, thirties… then we grow up, hopefully?!

      • Jewel C says:

        Nope, they do not grow up. Bright side, they have children and you get to spoil the grand, send him/her back! Revenge is better served with a side of chocolate coated 2 year olds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Corie says:

    My almost-three-year-old is in that phase, too. The other day he threw a fit and refused to walk into our house because, “That’s not my house!!” Never mind the fact that he’s lived in that house since birth. I left him standing in the garage while I took his baby sister inside and sent my husband out to deal with him.

    It’s amazing, though, how he can go from acting like a little shit (yep, I just said it!) to being sweet as all get out when he’s around his sister (she’s almost six months old). I’m curious to see how that changes in a few months when she’s mobile and starts trying to play with his toys!

    • Renee says:

      We have a 3 1/4 boy and a 13month girl…yeah lots of taking of toys, hitting, pushing, pulling, screaming, crying…lots of hugs and kisses and “I wuv you!”s

      • Megan says:

        Yep. I have a 4 year old son and a 13 month old daughter. I can’t even go to the bathroom without him beating on her or stealing her toy and me having to yell at him to be nice. Then he wants sissy cuddles.

        • Julie says:

          Mine was the opposite. My son had been nothing but sweet to his little sister, but she would throw things at him, hit him, tackle him, etc. She definitely has the more violent temper, although sometimes he is a massive space invader. Things have gotten better since she is almost 4, although we learned from a young age nearly all her bad behavior can be traced to hunger. ๐Ÿ˜›

  17. Andrea says:

    You guys are killing me. So far this morning I was smacked in the face and kicked, while my TWENTY ONE MONTH OLD said “Kick mama! Funny!”. So….it’s going to be like this for a while, huh? I need to buy stock in wine.

    • Karen says:

      I thought the same! I have two and half year old twins and you’re all telling me it gets WORSE?!
      Think I might have to buy shares in a winery.
      Oooh, crappy mama you should buy a wine label with millions you will make from your awesome book, then we can all invest! Think of all those smiles reaching into the fridge at the end (or the middle) of a long day…

  18. Renee says:

    omg I can totally relate! My son is STILL recovering from what I think is a sinus infection (read: several weeks of disgusting boogers and snotty nasal sounds and hourly fights on wiping his nose). Please, deliver me from this 3 year old whiny, mucusy hell.

  19. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for this. I really needed a laugh today. I also have a three year old boy. And a five year old boy. And a seven year old boy. (Can you believe life is a little crazy at my house?) Thankfully, I now have an 8 month old girl. Here’s hoping. Oh wait, I just fished a popcorn kernel out of her mouth. Never mind.

    • Samantha says:

      Haha, I have a 3 yr old boy. And a 5 yr old boy. And a 9 yr old boy. And an 11 yr old boy. Did I mention the oldest two have ADHD? Yeah, ‘crazy’ doesn’t even begin to describe my house ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Cheryl says:

        Haha! You’ve got me beat. How’s this one: My SIL has a 9 year old boy, a 7 year old boy, a 5 year old boy, a 3 year old boy and an 11 month old boy. lol. I’m not sure about ADD or ADHD, but her 7 year old wouldn’t surprise me. They are nuts for sure! Makes for some good stories though.

  20. Andrea says:

    My not quite 3 year old son directs us. At first he only did it with screaming fits. The he started to understand the “use your words” request, so he does. If he asks a question and I say “no”, he says “Mommy, say yes.” He does it in a very director-of-a-major-blockbuster manner. Calm, yet determined. He also likes to direct our every move – if he imagined he will wake up in the morning and find us in bed, and we are instead in the kitchen, he will insist (with words, screams, throwing fits or by other means) that we return to the bedroom, then he goes back to his bed and replays the whole waking up scene again. Apply to everything we do throughout the day and voila – that’s our life nowadays.

    • JenB says:

      Does he have any action figures or dolls? Can you convince him that it’s his idea to boss them around instead? If this works, you should reward yourself with wine and chocolate and tell me how you did it!

    • Rachel says:

      Same here. My daughter creates entire conversations in her head and then sits there and feeds me my lines one by one. Heaven help the person that doesn’t give her planned, scripted response.

  21. Erin says:

    My 3-year-old sucks too. She’s going to be four on Saturday. Do you think she’ll magically stop sucking then? I’m not optimistic.

    (And I love her. And she’s sweet and cute and funny and affectionate and generally precious. And she’s a big beast.)

    • Rachael says:

      My sucky 3-year-old turns 4 on Thursday and I was hoping for the same miracle. I’m not holding my breath – in fact, it seems to be getting worse as his birthday approaches. Drop me a line if yours improves so I can be-in-awe-and-hate-you-at-the-same-time over the interwebs…

      • M. says:

        My sucky 3yo turns 4 a week from today. My fingers have been crossed for months that will be the magic day that I start liking him again. Except, ya know, when he’s cute, sweet, funny and thoughtful.

    • Tanya says:

      I remember when my now 8 year old daughter was 3, and I asked our preschool director if I was just me or if all 3 year olds were awful. She assured me that 3 is the worst age and that 4 would be much better. So the day my DD turned 4, I went back into the director’s office and complained that I’d been counting down the seconds until she turned 4 and now she had and things hadn’t gotten better yet. LOL!! Her face! She was like, um, Tanya, maybe give it more than 12 hours.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Based on what my almost-three year old is like right now, I am dreading her teenage years. I just know she’ll be the teen who sneaks out just because she can, ten minutes after she’s obediently come back from her curfew. She will be the kid who does what she wants damn all the repercussions, all the while maintaining a veneer of politeness and following-the-rules-just-enough-not-to-get-sent-to-jail-or-military-school. I just have to hope we all make it through alive and sane, lol. It’s a dangerous combination: she’s the sneakiest of all three of my girls and the youngest, so she’ll have plenty of time to learn from her big sisters and do it better than they will. This is the only reason why her being three isn’t making me nuts–I am too busy taking notes for her teen years…

    • Anonymom says:

      My daughter plans if I ever have one: 12 ft fence, daddy bulk up before she starts dating. put her on contraception age 13- depo needle if she’ll agree, nothing to forget then…

      Because “just don’t do it” just doesn’t work. It didn’t do anything to me except make me do whatever it was sooner than if I’d just been left alone. Purity ring? forget it. Don’t smoke weed?? too late.. Alcohol isn’t cool- did all my binge drinking before I turned 18 when I sneaked out.

      Thank goodness I did not become a teen-mom I wasn’t completely stupid thankfully and used protection but honestly it was all because I was told NOT to do it that I did it. I thought “who the hell are you to tell me what to do!?” And like the girls from St Trinians I did as I damn well pleased. All the while my parents had no freaking clue.

  23. Liz says:

    Don’tcha just hate how long it takes sometimes to realize they aren’t actually being rational? They’re all like “Complete sentence with grammar and enunciation” and you think “Cool, I can deal with this!” and then it turns out that it was all a lie.

  24. Liz says:

    And it’s:
    Terrible Twos
    F***ing Fours

  25. Danielle says:

    Sounds very familiar. Today I had this conversation with my 2 year old on the way home from his play school…
    Him: Daddy’s at home
    Me: No, daddy’s at work today, honey.
    Me: Ok, whatever. Daddy’s at home.

  26. Nickol says:

    This is why children are at their cutest from 18m to 5y. It is a natural defense mechanism so their parents don’t kill them. It works really well.

    • Janae says:

      This fact has only just barely saved my children! It’s hard to see how cute they are when they are slamming their door in time out and then reslamming it repeatedly to be sure I didn’t miss it! Ugh. I thinned I’ve slammed the door once while having a “discussion” with their father in their whole lives. They were on that one like ants at a picnic. The concept that “we wear clothes outside” on the other hand…incomprehensible.

      • Melanie says:

        Our two-year old started slamming his bedroom door and my husband threw a small towel over the top. Our son was too short to pull it down – worked a treat in stopping the slamming ๐Ÿ™‚ Alternatively, there are little plastic things you can buy that fit on the top edge of the door.

  27. tara says:

    Hahahhah what the hell?! You should’ve made him walk the plank into a kiddie pool.

  28. Jennifer Puakea says:

    Dying laughing! I’m home today with my sicky daughter, slinking around and doing my best not to irritate or be noticed…

  29. Lisa says:

    3 is so like that. My sympathies.

  30. Janae says:

    Finally, what every mother needs! A safe place to say “my kid sucks” every now and then without other people pretending to be appalled while secretly thinking theirs does too. My twins passed four one month ago and yes it is marginally better! Keep making us laugh and we may just survive this yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the post and all the comments!

    • Jimin says:

      Lucky you. My twins just turned 3 last month. Guess my wine consumption will be going up significantly.

      • Janae says:

        Hang in there! Three is better than two and four is even better. And then I think it will get worse again around 11 or 12. I’m hoping for a long reprieve! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Emily D. says:

        Jimin, I think not only wine consumption, but also definitely WHINE consumption! Haha, good luck with your three year old!

  31. Yup, my 3 year old is the same way. Basically, you are wrong. Period.

  32. Jennifer says:

    Totally been there. My oldest went through it when she was 4 and oh my gosh I do not fully know how we survived it. I’ve always stated that the only reason children survive to adulthood is because they are adorable and precious. I’m so deeply worried for the twins to hit the toddler age. Dear Lord in heaven help me!

  33. Nikki says:

    I have 3 and 6yr old boys. It’s like your living in my house. If he wasn’t so cute, he’d be dead. (Not really. Joking. Mostly.)

  34. Gretchen says:

    Yeah…my 6yo son is sick right now. Dad was letting me sleep in, since it was his day off…dad was also busy with a guitar lesson. So…dear son went into the bathroom. He thought he had a fart. He has diarrhea. So I woke up to him hiding in the bathroom, not wanting to wake me up or interrupt daddy. Shit all over the bathroom, because his cleaning attempts were counter-productive…

    Kids are great. I need a drink.

  35. Robin says:

    I feel your pain! I have a three year old. This stage sucks (sometimes). Maybe someday when they are teenagers we’ll look back on “the threes” and yearn for the days when the worst they could do is throw a circle pirate sword at us!

    • Elizabeth says:

      This is what I tell myself. At least at this age the stuff they do is mostly just annoying and maybe mildly painful with the occasional destruction of expensive objects. Better than the teenage rebellion and insanity that can screw up their entire lives. …Ok, so it’s not all that comforting.

  36. Shelley West says:

    You ALWAYS turn the question back to them. You should have asked him what he thought it looked like. Much less potential for bodily harm.

  37. brenda says:

    So I teach three year olds, and I have a ten year old of my own. Three year olds can be a$$holes, and also really sweet, at turns evil and compassionate. I’m sick right now, so I totally wish I could this something at someone.

  38. Denise says:

    Three is the best AND the worst.
    I couldn’t wait until my son turned three but he ruined it. He wasn’t good until 7, and he still has moments.

  39. Lisa says:

    OMG. Laughing so hard. I HATE age 3. Hate it. All 3 year olds belong in boarding school. They need to be outsourced so we don’t eat our young.

  40. Jenn says:

    When it comes to my almost-4-year-old boy, I swear the level of badness is directly related to the level of cuteness. He is evil, but he’s so cute that I don’t want to get rid if him ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Lauren says:

    ah, I so needed to read this today! my son’s 2 and a half, and had the entire nursery running from him on Sunday. Meaning, the small children would actually RUN AWAY AND HIDE when he came near. Yeah. For reals. They had to take him outside and sit with him by himself for half an hour until we picked him up (which was, thankfully, early). The thing is, he never does this stuff in front of me! So I don’t even know how to correct it! Yeesh.

    So, yeah. Toddlers suck. But God made them so insanely cute so they’d live through it!

  42. Sarah says:

    I was just telling my (college) class that 3 year olds are possessed by demons. At least it’s a possible explanation. They all looked at me like I was crazy… Except the few that are parents!

  43. You know, when it is actually ricocheting off of your face, I bet it did kinda-sorta-maybe look exactly like a pirate sword.

  44. Ahhh the demonic possessions. I like when my toddler’s shit hits the fan in public and I have to pretend to be calm and say stuff like, “I understand you’re upset. Please use your words.” Those are the times I wish I had a circle Pirates sword.

  45. Susan says:

    Oh my god, I just died laughing. This has been one of my favorite posts of yours. The tension in the storyline had me riveted.

  46. Katie says:

    Omg!! I’m dying right now!! The last picture of the round thingy hitting your face is awesome!! For me, when something is hitting my face, it’s usually one of my girl’s heads. Ouch.

    • Lisa B. says:

      LOL, yep! I started giggling at “Um…yes?” and then totally lost it once I saw the pic of the round thingy hitting her face. ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Liz says:

    SO right on. My 4 year old son has been a total wacko lately… I was giving him a bite of blueberry bread today and he chomped down on my finger (by accident). When he realized it actually HURT me, I saw a crazy smile start to creep up his face… psycho. I told him that his baby sister bit me earlier too and it also REALLY hurt. Then he got mad at his sister. Who, when she bit me, thought we were playing and cried her face off when she realized she was hurting me. Ahhhh… kids.
    Thanks for the sanity check, Amber!

  48. Jamie says:

    I wanted to sell my kids to the gypsies when they were 3. Horrid little adorable beasts.

  49. Samantha Moore-Schwermann says:

    Oh man my three year old son is such a little shit! Then he does something adorable like telling the neighbor girl to hold on a minute he he needs to go kill some zombies. Then right after wacks the dog with his plastic sword. Because obviously the dog is a zombie. Three is such a mixture of being a complete shit and completely adorable in the same five minutes.

  50. Katie says:

    My son just turned 4 on Monday! Yay! (I hope.) However, for the last year I’ve said he’s either three or bi-polar. Happy and sweet one minute, and an absolute screaming wreak the next.

  51. Tanya says:

    Seriously, my mantra has become “I do not negotiate with terrorists!” My 3 and 5 year olds are like little defense attorneys on steroids – they could negotiate themselves out of anything (or try, anyway!) It’s exhausting. I’ve repeated the above statement so often that my husband and two teenager have picked it up. So anyone acting snotty in our house these days gets labeled a terrorist!

    • Megan says:

      I love this!! My 4 year old son tries to negotiate with me Me: no more cookies.
      Him: One more cookie and that’s it!!
      (Alternate version: 100 more cookies and that’s it!!)

      I’m going to start using this argument.

      • Tanya says:

        I love it when they negotiate JUST for the sake of negotiating, not even realizing they are putting themselves in a worse position . . . like when I say “15 more minutes til bedtime” and they respond “NO, 5 more minutes!” Okay – 5 it is!! LOL

    • Gretchen says:

      ROFLMAO!!!! I love this, so so much!!!

  52. Susie says:

    Ha! That was awesome and so much like my life! My son, 20 mos, has begun to throw things. This morning he freaked out because I didn’t get the juice in his grubby little hands fast enough. Once it was in his posession he looked at me like I failed him in the worst way and chucked the sippy cup at my head. 12 years of softball was excellent training for toddler tantrums, I fielded the cup and put it back on the counter. Unfortunately this created a new outburst and the event was one of those “rinse and repeat” type of mornings.

    • Shannon says:

      OMG, I love that you caught the sippy cup. How mad your son must have been! I try to make my 2 year old go and pick up what he just threw. It works 50% of the time. My favorite is when he throws his pacifier. It’s the one thing he always wants, but when he’s mad he will throw it, and then get mad that he no longer has a pacifier in his mouth. Proof that the throwing is a silly reaction and that there’s no malicious intent behind the throwing!

  53. Emily says:

    Every night my son throws tantrums. 2 is such a lovely age. But now and then he looks at me, gets this sort of look across his face, and comes over to give me a hug and 20 kisses, then goes back to the tantrum. He just gets to feeling guilty sometimes seeing me ready to collapse in a heap and hide from his tantrums.

  54. kate says:

    Loved, adored aunties aren’t exempt from three year old wrath. When chickenpox hit (yes he’s immunodeficiency, they really need two doses like adults etc) he went from following me everywhere to screaming and throwing things at me whenever I visited….and banning me from sitting on the couch. I probably didn’t help by laughing at him.

  55. kate says:

    Edit….not immunodeficiency, immunised, stupid auto correct.

  56. Polly says:

    Should not have read these comments. I have twin boys who are 2 months off their third birthday. I thought things couldn’t get any worse but now I see that apparently they can. Thanks guys.

  57. I just wanted to say you crack me up. Every single time. Thank you!

  58. Marlen says:

    OMG, could not stop laughing. Especially since this just happened to us. My little guy is also getting over a cold. While riding in his carseat he became upset for no identifiable reason. In anger he threw his show and got dad right in the back of the head! He then proceeded to cry over the lost shoe! They’re nuts sometimes!

  59. Sherrynjv says:

    Gotta love it when they set you up to fail, NOT!

  60. hazel says:

    Hope he got a time out for pulling that crap on you!

  61. Kat says:

    Oh my goodness. Same story, second chapter, at our house with recent colds. “Mommy, what’s that?” “What?” “That!” “I don’t know. I can’t tell what you’re pointing at.” “No that.” Then she andwers herself, proudly. “That’s a boogie!” and she (my 2yr8mo girl) licks her finger and tells me “boogies make me sick. That’s gross!” So I’m like, “don’t eat them!”

  62. Sandra Nelsen says:

    My youngest of nine is now 20. I read these and smile. Been there a few hundred times, did that, had stuff thrown at me. I must say, 20 is a really great age. When she was three, did she want to go to preschool? No, she cried to go to college with her older sister. She had a large enough vocabulary to go, however, she was a little short. Two years of college, and she says it is as great as she imagined. Seems like yesterday she was crappy baby-sized.

  63. angel says:

    I read an article about peer pressure and it said that if kids argue a lot when they are little they are less likely to be bullied or be pressured by their peers. I am telling myself this most days so I don’t go insane with the arguing (often about nothing) that my children will do!!!!

    • Fi says:

      So there is a silver lining somewhere! Thank god for that. Our guy is prepping up to be completely immune from all future peer suggestion or interference. Hopefully he will still have some friends…

  64. Megan says:

    Too funny, Amber. I laughed so hard I cried.

    Mine instructs me to answer any yes/no questions with “kinda”. If I answer yes or no, he will say, “no. Say kinda, Mama!!”
    And he’s about 2 seconds from throwing something at my head at that point if I don’t comply.

  65. Emily S. says:

    I feel so much better having read this. Thank you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  66. Emily says:

    Haha!! I am a non-parent but when my little sisters were three…look out!! Love your blog, Amber! Keep up the good work!!

  67. IngunnPingunn says:

    You made me laugh SO loud, all by my self!
    You are awesome!

  68. Kristi says:

    Can you do a post about discipline? I’d like to know how you handle these crappy situations. Plus we all know how humorous that can be… at times! 3 year olds are tough!

  69. Dannielle says:

    Amber, you are my hero. I appreciate how you talk about your kids. Makes me feel like a real human instead of a horrible mom! Thanks for keeping it real.

  70. Jenny Trickett says:

    Ahhhhh I feel a tiny bit less awful about raising a 3 year old who thought it was ok to hurl a truck at my face yesterday. Having one of those weeks here too ๐Ÿ™

  71. Natasha says:

    This is one of those times when I am glad to read that I’m not the only one going through this phase and that it’s totally “normal”, lol. I’m right there with you!

  72. Dayna says:

    Usually by this point you’re sick yourself. That is where I am today. My 4 year old (who hasn’t completely shook off the 3s yet) is just getting better and am I worse.

  73. Marisa says:

    I’ve only recently discovered you. While my 5 are mostly grown, I’m now collecting grand children who spend a lot of time here… I feel as if I’ve found a parenting soulmate. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    My youngest used “diffused” for confused at the age of 3. We still say it. You’re the first other person ever to do it too.

  74. Redin NC says:

    As the mom of a soon to be 7 year old, I’ve been saying “he’s just being 6” for nearly a year about my dear son who swings wildly between cool, fun, curious, creative proto-human and overgrown whiny post-toddler on a nearly hourly basis. I’m wondering if I’m going to spend the next year saying “he’s just being 7.” Ha! Probably. Wouldn’t have it any other way. They mold and train us as much as we do them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  75. Steve Martin says:

    Maybe he was demanding a pirate sword? Tiny dictators need curved swords, curved. swords.

  76. Elizabeth. says:

    Yep I feel ya! The worst — getting a toy to the back of the head un-expectly…no…I didn’t know my two year old was going to be a baseball player…lol

  77. Kris says:

    A friend refers to three-year-olds as “threenagers.” She’s so right.

  78. Bethany says:

    Ah, the joys of motherhood, being screamed at, hit, kicked, pushed, pinched and still loving the little devils more than anything in the world.

  79. Heather says:

    With my first kid I thought once we got out of the ‘terrible 2’s’ we were going to have a nice kid again. Well I was extremely disappointed when things got worse. They don’t have a cute little term like ‘terrible 2’ for 3 year olds so I created my own, ‘little assholes’. I still loved and adored my little assholes but the term fits perfectly when they are making me nuts.

  80. Lisa says:

    My sweet, wonderful daughter sailed through the twos without a hitch. I laughed in the face of Terrible Twos! Then she turned three. My nickname for her became Hell- Spawn. For a year we’ve been “frenemies” at best. Hoping we turn a corner at four, because a year of your kid sucking more than not is exhausting.

  81. Nicole says:

    My three year old has been nicknamed “Damion” by the kids in our youth group for this very reason….. I’m so glad we are almost done with this stage…. As he runs away with my coffee while I’m typing this.

  82. Lauriesl says:

    Oh my I just laughed so hard on the bus while reading this! Also, I didn’t realize Crappy Baby was 3! Haha!

  83. Alison says:

    Ah yes, I know that feeling of when the tantrum is going to happen and there really is no hope of diffusing it. This is why I really hate when the kids are sick.

  84. Ellyn says:

    My (just turned) 4 year old has been dealing with kidney stones for 2+ months. He had been whiny & had screaming fits at random for a while before we discovered the real culprit. I thought he was just being a snot that was having trouble adjusting to a baby sister. Now that the whole ordeal is over he still wants some of the babying that he received while “sick” but for the most part is a sweet, polite, wonderful child again. He also just turned 4. Not sure if the age or the relief are to thank, but perhaps both & I’m so thankful that he is being a human being again rather than a whiny lump. I felt horrible for getting irritated with him (b/c kidney stones SUCK) but after 2+ months of it I was like “suck it up, dude. I just gave you tylenol with codeine, you’ll be fine in 5 minutes.”

    Ok, now I feel horrible for admitting that.

  85. Amy says:

    I totally know that feeling. The last time my youngest (3) was sick she came over to me and punched me. So I gave her the “I know you are sick, but it is still not ok to hit… Blah blah blah…” speech and told her i was going to put her to bed if she did it again. So what does she do next? She walks over to me, calmly looks at me, says, “Don’t forget my water,” and punches me again! If she wanted a nap why the heck couldn’t she have just said so. She is lucky she is cute.

  86. Lori says:

    Love this post. I think your guy and my almost-3-year old would get along splendidly. Mine microwaved my sunglasses this past weekend — they exploded. And later that same day, he was putzing around the front seat of my car (a fun “activity” at our house) and left the glove compartment open so when I got in the car the next day to head to daycare and then to work, the car was dead. Every day there is something new ๐Ÿ™‚ But, he’s the smartest, cutest, funniest thing in my life and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

  87. Lori says:

    I remember my mother used to say to my little sister “if you weren’t so cute I’d throw you away”. I have since repeated that phrase. It is a mantra. They are cute, remember the cute.

  88. Oh my god.. Lately, I’ve been doing the whole “breathe, breathe, count to ten, react” thing cuz my kids have been making me want to hide in a blanket fort at MY grandmas! My two year old son woke me up the other day by “back of his head” head butting me while I was sleeping… It hurts to raise my eyebrows! My three year old recently got his “acceptance” letter for kindergarten and I have been saying “THANK YOU GOD!” Because I don’t know how much more of his crap I can deal with.. That and my 7 year old is ADHD and is just a handful.. My goodness!

    Idk Amber. I think we moms of 2-3 year olds should run and hide. Isn’t that what normal people do in terrorist situations? Run and hide from the terrorists? Oh that’s right, they’re adorable so we have this obsessive compulsive NEED to hug, kiss, and love them lol!!

    But really.. The “breathe, breathe, count to ten then react” thing helps. Doesn’t always work, but my kids are alive today because of it LMAO!

  89. rtleeb says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! You must live in my house.

    Oh, and I just dropped my 3.5 yr old at preschool 3 hrs late because she wasn’t feeling well this morning. A little advil and suddenly she wanted to put on her dress-up tap shoes and dance while I took pictures. I said no pictures and the flying object just barely missed my head. Thankfully it wasn’t her tap shoe.Yep, time to go to school.

    I have no doubt I’ll be getting a call from the school around 3 saying she has a fever and why the h#ll did I bring her to school sick.


  90. Cobble says:

    Not to side with a three year old but perhaps the round object reminded him of the hand protecting basket in front of the sword handle. Our 3 yo is now 30. What a joy he was at 3 ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Happy says:

    Ooh, boy. My 2.5 year old is sick and totally irrational (while on a normal day he’s just somewhat irrational). Last night, I took him to the bathroom before bed. He cried and screamed “I don’t want to pee”, all while he pushed down his own pants, got on the big potty by himself, and took care of things. As soon as he flushed, he started whaling, repeatedly “I want to pee again”, while gently closing the lid and getting the stepstool situated to wash his hands. Sigh. Sick toddlers are amazing.

  92. Kara says:

    I find that having worked in a record store was great prep for parenting a 3-year-old. “Mommy, i want to play the game on your phone with the song that goes like ‘mm-mmm-MM-mmm.” Heaven forbid i not know which one he means!

  93. Holly says:


    You can not imagine how much I needed to read this yesterday. My 27 month old is going through a new phase of awful. She started the terrible twos at 13 months, so I should be used to it. Alas, the demon can only be exorcised for small amounts of time. Little one is what we call “spirited.” In other words, she can be a really horrible little thing. When we were playing she abruptly hit me across the face. Ay! Oh, well, just keep swimming.

    Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚


  94. Holly says:

    I forgot to mention that when my “terrible two-threes” having daughter is really bad, I stare at my six month old and think, I love, love, love this age.


  95. Ami says:

    Tried to e-mail this to you, but for some reason none of the captcha codes will work – so, my review of The Book, if you are ollecting such things:)

  96. Ami says:

    And then I didn’t include the link. Sigh. I need more coffee. But I’m pregnant so I can’t. NOT FAIR.

  97. neo says:

    Ugh, that horrible crappy feeling whiny time is the worst!

  98. Amanda says:

    Lol! My son throws things when he’s frustrated. He’s 2. And let me tell you… I am barely dealing with two. These comments are starting to scare me about 3… Um…

    • Fi says:

      Second that. My laughter has been laced with cold shivers down the spine.

      • Cristina says:

        Third. I’m in denial, though. Keep thinking oh, no, that won’t happen to HER. (Shhhh, let me have my blissful ignorance as long as I can.)

  99. Alison says:

    I love the “Shit is about to get real” part. I know this feeling very well, and will say almost any kind of BS to diffuse the situation. Sometimes my 3 yo says things I literally don’t understand, probably made up words. I ask him to repeat once or twice, and when I can see he’s starting to get pissed, I’ll just say, “Oh yeah! Totally, honey!” Usually works.

  100. Jaimie says:

    Love it! I love reading your stores because this is what I deal with everyday. Except with just one. lol.

  101. K8 says:

    Sounds like your crappy baby and my crappy baby would get along well! ๐Ÿ™‚ I too understand the feeling of having inanimate objects thrown at my face, and never having the right answer!

  102. Sarah says:

    Bahahahaha! Dying laughing because this was my day with a 3 year old. I can’t remember what he was asking me about but I kept saying no that when he wore me down so I just said “yes” to move on, he got all mad because it was wrong answer. Oh, 3 year olds…

  103. Lori says:

    I just wanted to thank you for drawing/writing this. Last night I finally got my 3 1/2 year old to bed (after a long list of whining and somewhow managing to get his teeth brushed, and then the requisite post-bedtime potty trek that he always reserves for when I’m finally comfortable at my computer). He shares a room with his little brother, 19 mo old, who was asleep. Asleep, I tell you. Ten minutes after he’s in bed they’re giggling and jumping on their bed/crib and saying things like “Boom!” as they jump down. Then the question becomes: should I go in there and try to parent, knowing they’ll ignore me, or should I just ignore them and let them wear themselves out?

    Anyway, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not just me.

  104. anon says:

    I am a pediatrician and feel guilty that I dispense “sound” parenting advice and then come home to 2 boys who love to fight. The 4 year old especially gets under my nerves and pushes buttons. It seems some ladies felt the need to say how they feel then add that the child is so cute etc. I have a hard time sometimes appreciating the cuteness, and imagine life not having to deal with all the crap.

  105. Lisa says:

    At least you didn’t say ‘What?”

  106. Ben says:

    Oh my son (just turned two) would definitely get time out for this and would know why. Throwing or hitting just isn’t allowed in our house. End of story.

  107. Jennifer says:

    Is it bad that my 11 month old is already a little shit? (I say this with tons of love…he’s my squishy boogy lovebug). My daughter, who is 2, has a ton of personality and is outgoing but she’s overall just so sweet and considerate…and then there’s my son. Who loves me to pieces. But also beats me up. Regularly.

  108. sb25 says:

    My (almost) 3-year old son tells he can’t do things because his legs or arms are too long. He gets his dramatic streak from me.