3 year olds are assholes

Put your arms up. Enjoy the ride. Feel free to scream. Don’t puke.

I always heard about the “terrible 2′s”. In my mind I imagined at 24 months my little guy would turn into a ‘NO!’ shouting, temper tantrum having, feces throwing lil’monkey. I was surprised when his 2nd birthday party came and went without any major changes in his behavior. He was still my little guy. For the next year he generally acted the same only with an improved vocabulary. On occasion he would have a melt down but they were in the acceptable level for a 2 year old. He was potty trained relatively easily and would say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ (or my personal favorite ‘no thank you’) without being prompted.So when we started planning his 3rd birthday party I was proud he was still such a great kid. I was also proud of my apparent mastery of the art of parenting. Of course now I realize this was all part of his plan from the beginning.

He wanted my wife and I to relax and bask in the awesomeness of our parenting skills. He watched us flaunt him to strangers in the grocery store checkout line. He witnessed the high fives between my wife and I as we stepped over some other parent’s child hyperventilating on the floor of Target. He bore witness to our greatest acts of self congratulations and was just biding his time. Waiting for us to let our guard down. Waiting for the moment when he knew we had completely bought into our own hype as parenting gurus.

It was as if the past three years my wife and I have been riding a ride called ‘Parenting Superiority’. It was an slow roller coaster we had never ridden before so we had nothing to compare it to. It was an odd ride in that only we were allowed to ride it. Our friends and family had to wait in that twisting snaking line watching as we rose above them. It was a slow three year climb where at some point we forgot we were going up a hill. At the peak of the hill is a sign stretching over the tracks that you pass under. It reads “Have a 3 year old”. We forgot with every inch we climbed up we would fall back down. Quickly. With screaming. There is a moment just as the front car begins to crest over that first drop. There is a split second when the car dangles over but is being held back by the weight of the other cars. Time freezes. In that second you look around. You see the path of the ride. Your future. You see the drops, the hills and the loop-dee-loops this ride is going to take you on. Your stomach begins to try and creep its way out of you as if it did not sign up for this and was getting off the ride now. You have that moment of hesitation where you think back to your decision to ever get on this ride. You thought you liked roller coasters. The other coasters you recently rode have worked out and where fun. Coasters like the “Get Married”, “Get a dog” and “Buy a house”. Though that last one made you throw up a little.

Within that second with time still frozen all these thoughts and worries flash through your head. Then you hear the brakes of the coaster release and suddenly the car goes silent and time is moving again. You are moving again. Gliding downward you start to pick up speed. There is nothing you can do to stop it. All there is left to do is ride it out. You put up your arms, not in a surrender, but acceptance that your kid is an asshole because all three year olds are assholes. So raise your arms, hold your breath but remember to keep your eyes open. The ride will be over before you realize it. Feel free to scream but do not throw up.