The Hardest Age is the One They’re At


I tiptoed into the bedroom. After an hour and a half of naptime hysterics, Destroy had finally passed out and was sound asleep. His bare naked bottom was stuck straight up in the air.

Part of the tantruming routine involved frenziedly ripping his pants from his body. A full blown, mind-numbingly impressive, the power of Christ compels you exorcist, clearly possessed melt down ensued. Again.

Age 3.5 is clearly the hardest age. It’s all about the poop. They don’t want to use the potty, so their tummy hurts. But we really want them to use the potty because my house smells like pee. Plus they now have just enough vocabulary skills to excitedly express their desire to do precisely the opposite of whatever has just been requested.

Also they are now larger and harder to catch.

Birth was hard. I thought having a preemie would obviously be the hardest stage. That whole tricky concept of learning to breathe.

Bringing home an infant was hard. What do I do with them? They just kind of lie there helplessly. Completely and totally dependent for every aspect of life – no pressure.

Before they could talk, I thought it would be easier when they could just tell me what was wrong/what hurt. Before they could walk, I thought it would be easier when they could propel their own bodies toward the car after school.

And it is – easier. But they also spend hours repeating themselves until they receive the preferred reaction as well as informing me that they do not want to follow along with the prescribed program. Just because they have the ability to walk under their own power, generally means they will run in the precise opposite direction or become a limp noodle.

And they keep getting larger and harder to catch.

Someday they’ll be teenagers. Once again they won’t talk, they will be awkward and gangly not wanting to wake up to go where our routine takes us. The tantrums will still be there, the style will just change form.

(I recall being a teenager. It is with good reason my parents may have believed I had no soul. The discovery of self apparently first takes the form of pure selfishness know-it-all.)

We raise our children to the best of our abilities. We strive to provide them with the wit, determination and prowess to succeed. It is the give and take of parenthood that we bestow upon our offspring the very ability to push our panic buttons (or at the very least angrily remove pants in protest).

Let me dispel any vestiges of hope you may still be clinging to in a grand attempt to delude yourself from the reality of raising a child. Parenting does not get easier. It just gets different.

Every age has its challenged. It’s always about the poop – though that may evolve from the literal to metaphorical – as the fleeting moments of childhood continue to pass us by.

Our tiny ones keep getting larger and harder to catch.

Three and a half is clearly the hardest age. Because it’s the one mine are currently at. And I’m still pretty sure it’ll be easier just as soon as they poop.

1 Comment

Filed under Milestones, Parenting

One Response to The Hardest Age is the One They’re At

  1. Joanne Hamann

    Yup, just as poopy at 18!

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