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13 Reasons Why My Threenager “Just Can’t”

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

Three-year-olds are no joke, my friends. Talking one down from an an emotional ledge is akin to dealing with a hormonal 13-year-old getting her period for the first time. I often think back on that time in my life as I was navigating drastic hormone changes for the first time and think to myself, “Hmmm … her behavior is eerily similar.”

When you’re three (or 13), it feels like the whole world is out to get you, nobody understands you, and even the tiniest things are personal and earth-shattering affronts. And lately, her go-to response to any request, direction, or suggestion I have for her is “I just can’t.” But, don’t worry, my child clearly has her reasons. Such as …

ME: “You should probably apologize to your brother. It’s not kind to hit.”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t, because I still want to hit him.”

ME: “Can you help me set the table for dinner?”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t, cause I’m really too busy today.”

ME: “I need you to go calm your body in your room. I’ll come in to talk to you once I hear that you’re calm.”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t! My body doesn’t want to be calm! My body is NOT calm!”

ME: “Please use the potty before we leave.”
THREENAGER: “I can’t use the potty! My poops are too hurty!”

ME: “Can you please finish eating your dinner?”

THREENAGER: “I’m just not used to eating.”

ME: “If you’re going to be in my bed, then you need to be quiet and close your eyes.”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t close my eyes because I can only do a cheese smile right now.”

ME: “I need you to get dressed please.”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t, because I need someone to talk to me.”

ME: “Let’s put these clothes on.”
THREENAGER: “I can’t! Those pants are NOT a dress!”

ME: “OK. Here’s a skirt for you to wear.”
THREENAGER: “I can’t wear this! This dress is NOT twirly!”

ME: “Let’s choose one toy to bring with us.”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t bring only one, because my dollies will miss me.”

ME: “Let’s finish that breakfast so we can go play!”
THREENAGER: “I just can’t, because it’s not cereal. It’s eggs and eggs are not my favorite.”

ME: “It’s nap time, sweetheart.”
THREENAGER: “No! I just can’t! I absolutely cannot take a nap!”

ME: “Can you please give that toy back to your brother? He was playing with it first.”
THREENAGER: “I can’t! Because, it’s not even fair!!!”

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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