I've been actively participating in online forums ever since I got pregnant, and have met many wonderful moms and made some awesome friends in that time! One of the nice things about being active on these forums is talking with moms who have older kids, because it gives me a glimpse into what I can possibly expect as Judith grows and develops. It's also particularly nice and beneficial to be active in these various communities, because I have an additional support network, particularly for the CF front where it's incredibly difficult if not next to impossible to get together as a large group because of the need to find caretakers for the kids due to infection control policies.
Anyway, in recent months, I noticed a phrase popping up on the boards from moms whose children recently turned 3: "threenager." I laughed at first, thinking, "That's a clever term to come up with!" and promptly dismissed it from my mind because I was in denial that 3 could be worse than 2. I'm now here to admit that these other moms were spot on with their description, because for the last week I've been in 3 year old hell. It's not like she's been 3 that long, either! I remember saying that, when she turned 2, it was like a switch flipped and she became this little terror. This year it's like a gigantic lever was pulled, not just a tiny little switch flipping. Judith is so incredibly stubborn to begin with (and I don't have to wonder where she gets it from), but I swear right now she could give any hormonal teen a run for their money in the obnoxious and attitude categories!
We're dealing with a new host of behaviors that we weren't dealing with in the past. I've had more days this week where I wanted to bang my head against the wall, rip my hair out, or sit in a corner while rocking and mumbling tons of incoherent things. If I had a nickel for every time I've had to tell her to stop terrorizing the dogs, to use her indoor voice, to stop throwing things, etc., I'd be incredibly rich. And it doesn't stop with the "normal" defiance, as she is now fighting everything CF-related. She fights her vest. She fights her twice daily albuterol treatments. She fights her vitamins, although no one, not even her CF team, really blames her for that because the smell of the new formulation is enough to make anyone gag. Probably the only thing she isn't fighting is her miralax, and that's only because it's thoroughly mixed into her pediasure so she doesn't even realize she's taking it. I'm constantly thinking up new tricks and things to say to get her to comply with her treatments more easily, and to try to minimize our battles. Since she's into hugging everything lately, telling her her vest "needs a hug" and wants to hug her back helps us get it on her without her going into "noodle" mode and making the prep time for the treatment about as enjoyable as wrangling a small, greased pig. She's been getting a lot of screen time during her treatments, which means she's not trying to see how loud she can scream as often. And the food battles? We've cycled back to Judith not wanting to eat again, but now it's amplified by her 3 year old drive to test her boundaries as much as possible. I talked briefly with our nutritionist, and she said that she knows we're doing what we can, but we're still going to try to come up with new strategies within the next week or 2 to see if that helps.
On the flip side, being 3 also means a whole new set of interactions, advancing play skills, advancing vocabulary, and lots of other developmental things that show she's growing up so fast. There are days when I laugh hysterically at the things she says! Like yesterday in the car while we were waiting to make our deposit at the bank: my mom and I were doing the silent laugh thing, because we kept hearing "Aw, come on guys! You know what to do!" coming from the back seat. I never know what comments she's going to make in church when the choir sings their anthem, and more often than not at least half of the choir is trying not to laugh at something she says. Hearing her excitement for the upcoming Christmas holiday is amazing, and it's contagious because this is one of the first years where I'm really excited because I know she's going to love it.
I have a feeling this is going to be an extremely challenging year with her, but with any luck things will level off eventually.