It’s not Easy, Being Three

I keep rounding up and thinking Eli is basically four years old and then I spend a full day with him and then I realize so very clearly that he is 3.5. So so 3.5. And I want to lay down in traffic and let cars run over me.

I mean look, I love him. I love him so much I cannot even believe it sometimes. He is one of the three best things in my life (I’m counting my husband. There is no third baby). But oh my God. Three and a half might kill us all.

I spoke to his teacher last week about his behavior and I was sad (okay mad) to find out that his crappy listening and aggression and general being a butthead is happening at school too. I had hoped that is all being on the same page might help but if today is any indication, that’s a no.

After a horrendous music class where we almost left early for the second week in a row, Eli told me today that he didn’t want to invite his cousin Addie to his birthday party. I was kind of taken aback for two reasons: first, he loves Addie. Second, how does he know that he has that power? So I prodded and he couldn’t give me any reason why he wanted to exclude her, but he did say that other kids had been saying it to him. I continued to question and he said all his school friends have said he can’t come to their birthdays and it made him feel sad.

And oh hey. There’s my heart smashed into a million pieces.

His teacher warned me this was happening- Eli has learned that he can speak up for himself and he has been doing so, usually unnecessarily and excessively, while playing with his friends. He pushes them until they get mad at him and then they go play with someone else. Or in one case, they uh, bite him. Frankly, if he treats his school friends like he treats his brother, he probably deserved that bite.

We are trying so hard to help him learn to play well with other kids, but it breaks my heart to think that he’s driving other kids away. I don’t want my baby to be the lonely kid on the playground.

I have spoken with his teacher and we are hatching a plan and I don’t really know what I’m going to get out of writing this, but parenting has gotten a lot more difficult than I realized it would be and I’m just crossing my fingers that we figure our way through this new and awful obstacle soon. At least before he gets bitten again.



  1. Three and a half stinks. It really does. It WILL get better as he grows and fully understands how his actions are causing consequences. Stay strong, mama!

  2. I have always said that 3 is way worse than 2. They don’t really know what they are doing at 2. At 3, they know what they are doing but don’t have the maturity to think about consequences. Three is hard. So, so, so hard. I wish I had advice for you (but I don’t really believe in parenting advice unless I’m specifically asked, and not even then because all kids are different). You are doing all the right things to help your child. Hugs to you and to Eli.

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