|My newly minted three year old during a happy day last fall|
And then Sidney turned three and everything changed. Gone was my sweet little boy and in his place appeared a moody, temperamental, and thoroughly frustrating pre-schooler. One minute the sweet little boy I knew was there and in the next an angry and defiant child took his place. I rationalized that Sidney was testing his boundaries but was it really necessary for him to test them every single waking moment? Suddenly I was no longer allowed to pick out his clothes, rather he began to select his colorful, and completely mismatched outfits each morning. (Note to self, only buy separates that coordinate). My once ferocious eater turned picky overnight and I was unable to keep up with his preferences. Ketchup was a food unto itself for several weeks only for it to be banished from the table with a blink of an eye. Plain pasta was acceptable but add a bit of sauce or flavoring, or even worse, have one food touching another, and an angry outburst with flying food would erupt. Playing took on a whole new spin; matchboxes learned to fly and railroad tracks no longer stayed connected. Sidney suddenly insisted that he control who does what, when and proclaimed that "he was in charge". Sitting in the wrong chair in the living room created an outburst whereas not sitting at all could result in a complete meltdown. On a regular basis he angrily points his finger and tells me to go into the kitchen. (I have no idea where this idea came from). The latest development? My boy who once loved his bedtime routine of brushing his teeth, taking his fluoride tablet and having an evening bath is now refusing all manner of personal hygiene. And don't even get me started about the toilet training battle. But then in the next moment my sweet little boy returns, he snuggles in my lap, and tells me he loves me. His mood swings are reminiscent of a teenage girl.
Maybe Sidney is suffering from only child syndrome but more likely we are engaged in a battle of the wills with one very stubborn little boy and two equally stubborn parents. I know (hope) this is only a phase that, like all the ones that came before, he will eventually grow out of. At the moment, however, that time can't come soon enough for this exhausted mom. As soon as I seem to get a handle on Sidney's current developmental stage it changes. Yes, that is a part of the challenge of raising children, but no one ever warned me about the terrors of being three years old. Sidney can't return to being two but perhaps we could fast forward to age four. That is eight months from now and can't come soon enough.