The Not So Nice Three’s

If you are here for some crafty inspiration or deep insight on life, sorry. All I have to offer today is a mommy that is at her ropes end. Y’all ever heard of the terrible twos? Well two was great. Two was a dream. Me and my buddy had lots of fun. Quinn was very verbal, very young and could express himself well. I think this meant limited frustration on his end, which meant limited tantrums. He 100% adored us and what we said was the LAW. Quinn never pushed boundries or buttons and was a real blast to be around. He was fun loving, and his dimples and big blue eyes just melted your heart. Two was anything but terrible.

If you were at Target today around two, yes, that was my child crying and screaming. My three and half year old throwing a tantrum. Excuse me? When did this become an acceptable way to act? Oh, today was a whole lot of bad choices. Pushing, angry words, not listening, tantrums.

Three has been hard for me. Hard because my baby is slipping away. My baby is turning into a boy. Parenting a little boy is HARD. In moments like this, thirteen flashes before my eyes, and I pray to God I am not messing up.

Three is

…an obsession with guns, and superheros and good guys and bad guys. Ni Hao Kai Lan anybody?

…poop and pee and butt jokes. On the bright side, this obsession is brought on by his awareness of his body, which means no more diapers! WooHoo!

…wanting mommy and daddy to go away so he can play with the big boys. What? Already?

…wanting everything. What happened to being satisfied with what you have? I don’t like the gimmes.

…having his own agenda. He has plans and wants to be in charge, I get it.

…sounding sassy. Where do they learn this stuff? Okay, so “in your face” was from me, but I only said it once (jokingly).

…begging, whining, manipulating. Hmm…sometimes kids are just too smart for their own good.

Yes, three is hard. Today was hard. Today’s car ride home was full of crazy mom yelling and crying. Today’s nap was remorseful mom snuggling and rocking. As I snuggled him I asked him if his mommy loved him and without hesitation he said yes. I told him that every day for the rest of his life he was going to have to make choices and that I want him to make good choices. The kind of choices that make him happy in his heart and his mommy happy in her heart.

I have to say there is still a whole lot of sweetness and innocence and kindness in that little boy. Most days are good. I don’t take to the blog to vent about the good days, but most of them are. Even in the tough days, there is so much good.

The hardest part about three is seeing the boy separate himself from the baby. It literally brings me to tears. Parenting is so hard. It is about holding on and letting go. It is about being “mean” when you want to be a big old softie. It is about doing the best you can and never knowing if it is right.

My favorite bit of parenting advice is, “This too, shall pass”. When things are tough, I try not to take it too seriously, because this too shall pass. When things are great, and snuggly and wonderful, I try to take it all in, because this too, shall pass.

For now my little boy is still full of snuggles and “I love you’s” and “Aren’t you the sweetest mommy?”. Quinn thinks all moms love their little boys as much as I love him and if you say stupid he will tell you it is a naughty word.

Tomorrow, I am sure, will be full of better choices.



  • Budgetbungalow

    Don’t worry you’re a great mom and just today I was thinking what if Quinn no longer thinks I’m cool? When will that stop? I need to manipulate him with awesome things and experiences. So needless to say I miss him and you

    • Megan Bray

      Thank you! We miss you too!

  • kendra625

    ah! this made me a little teary. i have a just-turned two year old, and i find myself easy frustrated at his boundary-pushing and stubborn ways. most days, i can’t imagine it getting worse. when those tantrums happen, i also find myself saying not-so-friendly things (not always vocal) that i immediately regret. 

    this brought things to perspective for me.. knowing that someday (hard to imagine WHEN!) i will miss this chaos.. and his little chunky hands that always reach for mine.
    thank you for writing this!

    • Megan Bray

      Seeing my baby become a boy is hard and rewarding at the same time. Luckily, the tantrums are few and far between so I can keep my sanity. Here’s to hoping we have our little ones on the right path .

  • libbywilko

    Are you sure your not talking about my 3.5 year old, they seem to be so so similar except I’m not getting the mummy go away …yet…. My gorgeous boy was an angel at two as well we signed he could tell me what he wanted but as we’ve got to three oh my goodness someone who is so independent , strong willed, stubborn and wants to test mummy and daddy’s boundaries arrived ! Very different from our elder boy who did everything we asked…Thank goodness for all the snuggles.

    • Megan Bray

      I like to think his strong willed tendencies will pay off in the long run and I wont have to worry about him when he grows older. You are right though, I wouldn’t trade in one day with my little guy for anything. Even a day of tantrums!

  • Heidi @ Decor & More

    Keep the faith, Megan!  I wish I could tell you parenting gets easier, but I find myself with a 17 year old boy and a 13 year old boy that challenge, exhaust, and elate me every single day.  Nature of the beast. :)  Find humor, savor every second you can, and yes, “this, too, shall pass.”  xo Heidi

    • Megan Bray

      So true Heidi, so true! Man is hard to see him growing up so fast. It is like once you have kids time goes on hyper-speed.

  • Mark Gregory

    Don’t worry Megan Darth Vader is still cool.

    • Megan Bray

      I told Quinn that Ross would be golfing with “grandpa” in the morning and he goes, “grandpa Tom”. I said, no grandpa Mark. Quinn said, “Oh, you mean Darth Vader”. LOL!

  • kay

    Ladies, ladies, ladies… you have got to pace yourself!  This parenting thing is a marathon, not a sprint.  It will only get harder (in many ways) and easier (in some ways) as they grown up.  For every “benefit” of the next age/stage (like becoming potty trained), there will be a new “challenge” for you (like his beloved fart jokes, which will continue until, well… forever). 
    As a mom with multiple older kids, one with special needs, I can only encourage you to relax and enjoy the moments for what they are.  Don’t demand perfection in them, or in yourself/your partner. Your children will not stay little forever and I promise you will be happier if you can relax and give yourself, and your kids, a break!   

    • Megan Bray

      Very good advice! I guess we all have one of those days and this just happened to be one of them. Keeping perspective certainly helps. Thanks!

  • Carolynn Powers

    I hate to tell you, but I don’t think that 4 1/2 is much better.  More creative in making guns out of little Lego pieces & NO NAP on most days:)  Keep the stories coming – it makes my world seem “normal”!

    • Megan Bray

      Oh, they grow up so fast. Luckily, days like that or few and far between or I might go crazy!

  • Jessyca Booth

    I have a 9 year old boy. I also have an engraved plaque a friend had made for me when my son was 3. It says, “This Too, Shall Pass.” Coincidence? I think not. You are sooo far from alone on this.  I felt like I was rereading a post of mine from 6 years ago (you know, if I had known about blogging then). Maybe I should send along that plaque :)

    • Megan Bray

      Such good parenting advice! Helps keep the perspective. What a nice gift and a thoughtful friend!

  • Nikki

    Oh my goodness…couldn’t have said it better myself!  We all have those days probably more often than one would wish. Sometimes I wonder, is this normal? I just hope I am doing something right!

    • Megan Bray

      Right with you girly!