The ABCs of Raising a 3-Year-Old


When the muppets were born, they were indoctrinated to a cold, cruel, gravity-filled world. Instead of smiling alligators, bumble bees, and caterpillars adorning nursery walls in bold primary colors, their first ABCs were the red beeping alarms of apnea and bradycardia episodes in an intensive care isolette.

Now they’re closing in on age 3. And causing trouble. Yesterday I got pulled into the principal’s office. Because one of my little ones was spending a bit too much time in THE OFFICE. We’ve been observing and discussing next steps. Our new ABCs are antecedents, behavior, consequence.

Whatever. Interested in the actual alphabet involved in the parenting of a toddler?

A is for active. Because they Never. Stop. Moving.

B is for battle. Because that is what you do during breakfast, bathtime and bedtime and any time in between while begging for good behavior.

C is for control. Because they’re fighting for it and you’re looking back like, “Kid – I’ve got 30 years experience perfecting this. Game on.”

D is for diaper. Because if you’re smart you’ll run out and invest heavily in a product that there cannot be enough of.

E is for exhaustion. Because you love them and will think about that when you cannot physically arise off your couch at the end of the day.

F is for flop and flail. Because sometimes they just don’t want to get in the car seat. Professional soccer stars train with toddlers.

G is for guilty. Because Catholics have nothing on Mom guilt. And also, yes, the kid probably did do it.

H is for humbling. Because they’ll call you out on everything. And if that fails, they’ll pants you in front of the preschool parking lot.

I is for “I do it MYSELF.” Because they’ll start exerting their independence the moment they decipher the secret of human language. (See C is for control.)

J is for Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Because the meltdowns have to stem from somewhere. Usually because Jake is not on. Or if he is. But I’ll take this cartoon over the alternatives any day.

K is for karma. Because it’s really a bitch.

L is for listening ears. Because they will get left at home and/or forgotten. All. The. Time.

M is for mischief. Because they will get into it. A lot. Often.

N is for “No.” Because I said so. Sadly, so did they.

O is for Oh My God. Because did that seriously just happen? Make that phrase your own. Embrace it.

P is for poop. Because there is a lot of it.

Q is for quiet time. Because even if they won’t nap, there WILL be quiet time – even if it’s not so quiet. (See N is for No.)

R is for running. Because there is nothing cuter than a toddler toddling at full tilt toward something. Less cute when the run is away from you. Or in opposite directions when it’s you v. twins.

S is for shiny object. Because toddlers have the attention span…COOKIE MONSTER!

T is for timeout. Because there’s gotta be a better way to teach right and wrong. (See O is for Oh My God.)

U is for unreal. Because I’m still utterly amazed that any child can make it this far; the toddlers – they’re like real people now!

V is for vertical. Because they will climb before they crawl and everything is a personal Mt. Everest.

W is for “Why?” Because they ask it every minute – right after and before, “What’s that?”

X is for xenophobe. Because when you have preemies, strangers are always to be suspected of scary foreign germs. Back off virus monger!

Y is for youth. Because there is no “what if” in the mind of a child. Only “let’s see what happens.” (See M is for mischief.)

Z is for Zoloft. Because sometimes mommy gets sad. And that’s ok.


Filed under Miscellaneous, Parenting

2 Responses to The ABCs of Raising a 3-Year-Old

  1. I have such a love/hate relationship with Jake and is band of “pirates”.

  2. Joanne Hamann

    Yes, yes, yes!

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