You, Me and Teddy

Parenting adventures and activities in and around Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Terrible Threes… Anyone?


As we approach the third birthday the tantrums are increasing. I am not sure if its the age or simply the fact she seems to have decided she no longer needs to sleep.

She has completely dropped the afternoon nap over the past few months. Fair enough. She’s about the right age but we are keeping “quiet time” during which she has to play quietly in her room for an hour or so after lunch. This, however, has also become a new battle ground… How destructive can one little girl be? No, actually I don’t want to know what more damage she can do to her newly decorated room.

Never having been a great sleeper we were overjoyed when E started, finally, sleeping every night through just before her first birthday. It seems that just before her third birthday she has decided that bedtime is for “babies” and she is now a “little girl”. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the falling asleep later and waking earlier is going to sort itself out once she gets used to the season change. I did, however, go and buy some homeopathic sleep aids yesterday and plenty of lavender oil to try and help her to fall asleep in the evenings. Every little helps.

Its not just the sleep though, but it does make her mood swings more violent and tantrums definitely become more frequent when she is tired, its the rather new advances in logic she has taken and the recent improvement in her memory that she is starting to test out.

Some of her recent musings that she has shared have included :

  • Daddy is going to be taking her to her swim classes on Saturdays now with the big children while Mummy will keep taking M to the baby ones so they must now be at the same time.
  • The sky is sad when it storms and then gets even sadder because it doesn’t like storms.
  • Mummy’s top is the same as hers because it has a label on it, despite the label being different, and the top a different cut and colour.

While some things seem a bit abstract other things are quite grounded. If, for example, M has decided to throw his food over me and I am upset she will remind me that it “doesn’t matter” and my clothes can be washed. Or if someone is not feeling well they need medicine or a plaster to get better. You can see that she is obviously thinking about things more and developing her own theories about the world.

She is unsurprisingly very stubborn (like both her parents) and likes to make sure she does things her way. If, for example, you want her to go and have her bath she will refuse to go immediately. However, if you say that she needs to go have her bath in one minute and set a timer she will go without a squeak. It is frustrating though if you are in a restaurant and have ordered her an apple juice and she refuses to drink it because she wants fizzy water like Mummy. Sometimes things get a bit lateral too like last night when I asked if she wanted her milk warm or cold and she refused to answer. Knowing if I did it wrong she wouldn’t touch it I pressed her until she finally replied, “blue”.

I think with all of it you just have to stay light-hearted. It will pass. She won’t be this testing the whole time and she definitely won’t still be having screaming tantrums on the floor when she is 20. Well I hope not…

In the meantime I will pick my battles and she can have blue milk if she wants.

blue milk


Author: youmeandteddy

I am a stay at home mum with 2 young children living in the French speaking part of Switzerland.

9 thoughts on “Terrible Threes… Anyone?

  1. Three is a VERY challenging year. I think it’s far worse than 2!

  2. Terrible threes are DEFINITELY a thing – both my kids were far more trying at 3 than 2.

  3. God bless you momma, with some peace , sleep ….

  4. My son is only 2.5 yo and is already going thru it! every time he needs to do something, it becomes a huge negotiation deal. When we tell him to not do something, he’ll do it to see our reactions. He’s become super demanding as well and increasingly stubborn. Praying for extra love and patience for us mommies!

    • Oh how familiar does that sound!? It’s been another trying week here. We have also discovered hitting… Yes, extra helpings of patience required all round please. Good luck and thanks for commenting.

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