Three (and a half)

I was warned about twin newborns. Not even warned, really. The chaos of the whole life-with-twin-newborns thing was obvious. Two times the nursing, the diapering, the diaper explosions, the laundry, the bathing, the dressing, the work of getting out the door.

“Just make it through the first year,” was the advice we received. “If you can survive the first year you’ll be fine.”

We did survive, all four of us. The first year came and went. We passed that magical deadline. It didn’t really seem any easier. I was glad to be done nursing, thrilled to finally be sleeping through the night, but it didn’t exactly get easier.

When the twins were small, we seemed to run into parents of twins all over the place. Or maybe we were just that much more conspicuous with Tyson and I each perpetually carrying a car seat. These other parents threw out all sorts of ages at us. The year mark was frequently mentioned. We were told that it all got easier once they hit 18 months, two years, when they turned three.

They’re three (and two weeks shy of a half).

It isn't easier.


Nobody warned us about three. Double the three. Some days I actually dream about going back to the baby stage. Not newborns, (dear Lord, not twin newborns), but a few months in. I romanticize that into being easier than this whole two three-year olds thing. Three is hard.

I’m not sure what the big deal is about two. Terrible twos? Please. Terrible threes is far more accurate, though maybe not quite as catchy. There’s lots of drama, lots of tears, lots of emotions. Three is like the teenage year of toddlerhood. There’s truth to that whole “threenager” thing. They fight. With me, with their little brother, with each other. There are strong opinions on what’s for lunch and what’s for dinner, what beverage is in their cups. They actually have good comebacks.

“Y’know what? Some kids don’t have any food!” I told them the other day, as one rejected the lunch I had prepared. (Pasta with homemade tomato cream sauce, chicken, and topped off with Parmesan cheese. And you want to go back to my lazy-day staple of cheese and broken crackers. Seriously?!?)

“Know what? Some kids don’t love their mommies!” the offender shot back, immediately. (Though I had to hold back a laugh with that one. That was a good one. I was impressed.)


We fight and make up. The kid with the comeback was snuggling with me on the couch not two hours later, all, “I yike snugg-ing wiff you, mommy. It’s my fave-it thing.” I remind them that I love them even when I yell, even when they don’t listen, even when they cry and cry and cry.


I suppose it doesn’t get easier, not really. I’m not sure what my expectations for “easy” even are anymore. For awhile my sole idea of easy consisted of sleeping through the night. But we’ve arrived at that now, for the most part. My version of “easy” would sure as heck involve sleeping later. 6:00 am is something I have not gotten used to. I guess easier looks like getting up and making breakfast for themselves. Dressing themselves. Going to the bathroom 100% and completely by themselves. (We’re a bit back-and-forth on that one.)

That’s where the tension comes in. Because all that, what I just listed? That’s like big kid territory. That’s elementary school kid stuff. And I don’t want them to grow up, not really. Or at least not yet. We’re already more than halfway through these five short years before they escape to Kindergarten. And while sometimes that sounds reaaallllyyyyy nice, I know what’s up with these little kid years. I feel like we’re hitting our groove. I understand playdates and fruit snacks, Daniel Tiger and the soundtrack to Moana.

I don’t really want to give up my three-year olds. When it’s good, it’s good. The snuggles, the way they pronounce words, the questions they come up with, the pretend play. There are things I could do without, of course. Tantrums. Strong opinions on things like socks. I could definitely do without bedtime. (Bedtime. I mean really. Was it necessary to give us bedtime to deal with on top of all else that is three?) But I don't exactly want to trade in my preschoolers for pre-teens.


I'd love to insert a neat and tidy ending here (and believe me, I've been racking my brain all week trying to come up with one), but it doesn't exist. Three year olds are hard. And there's a lot of three in our house. I hear that other ages are hard. I'm sure someday I'll miss it. Even some of the hard. But mostly the cuddles, the questions, the imagination, the helping, those little voices.

But when I'm reminiscing someday, about all the love and laughter and the fairytale that was three, please stop me. And pull up this post. So I remember. And in the meantime, I'm going to get in all the cuddles I can.

{All photos credit to Prall Photography.}