I am excited to have Amber of Four to Adore (another Mama of multiples) share a special guest post today on parenting “threenagers.” Find out more about Amber in her bio at the bottom of the post.
Threenagers. Oh how I have done my fair share of grumbling about what it’s like being the parent of four “threenagers”. It was almost as if I put four cherubs to bed on the eve of their third birthday and by morning they transformed to gremlins whose strong emotions and opinions became unbearable. And, I am not alone with this sentiment. Three seems to be a difficult age for most if not all parents, hence the trending term, “threenager”. With every season of parenting there are the obvious challenges, but so many joys to celebrate. As we approach age four, I’m trying to relish the many wonderful things age three has brought us.
At three, the kids have a zest for learning. They absorb information from all around them and thirst for more. Even the most mundane things are learning experiences for them as they learn the mechanics of the world. Seeing the world through a three year old’s eyes is refreshing
Thankfully three year olds aren’t typically savvy enough to tell lies, and if they try give themselves away. If I want to know who scribbled on the wall or got into the Goldfish crackers, all I need to do is ask. Chances are someone will fess up. They’ll also let me know if I forget something or make a mistake. There’s nothing like accountability from three year olds.
3. Delight in Chores
Three year olds genuinely enjoy chores. They feel empowered and valued when doing chores and they are developing skills that are actually helpful. Without hesitation, the kids will pitch in to do everything from load the washing machine to feeding the dogs. I know that a day will come when I’ll hear groans about chores so now I’m appreciating this moment. Plus, it’s nice having a few little chores off my to do list.
I often struggle with knowing how much independence to allow the kids, and they’ve been surprising me with what they can do on their own and what they initiate. For instance, one of the girls started brushing her teeth without prompting and puts the toothpaste on everyone else’s toothbrush. With a stool, all four can refill their own water bottles. Just like with chores, new found independence can really help a mama!
With budding imaginations, the kids are less reliant upon me to entertain them, and instead enjoy playing with each other. Even better, it takes very little to spark imaginative play and inexpensive items provide hours of entertainment. Some of the best entertainment was found in items found at the Dollar Tree. As I type this, I have one child who is making a dress pattern by tracing a piece of fabric with a plastic knife and ironing out the wrinkles. Meanwhile the boys are swashbuckling clad in pirate hats and eye patches.
The kids have developed incredible language skills and we have deep and sometimes entertaining conversations. I’m constantly impressed with their ability to articulate their thoughts, appropriately use new vocabulary words (this is the part where it’s critical to watch what is said in front of them!) and make connections. It’s also lots of fun asking their opinions about various things. For example, when I asked one of the girls what I should wear to a party, without skipping a beat she replied, “you should wear a tunic with leggings, a necklace, and Tom’s.” Pretty solid fashion advice.
7. Extracurricular Activities
Age three is the minimum age for enrolling in extracurricular activities and it’s loads of fun. The girls have been learning how to plié, releve, and jete in dance lessons since the fall, and our boys are stoked about spring tee ball. It’s been such fun watching them develop new skills and beam with pride upon mastery. We aren’t expecting prima ballerinas or all star athletes, but these things are helping the kids learn how to follow directions and develop sportsmanship.
My three year olds are still small enough to snuggle in my lap, and they enjoy it too. Enough said.
9. Easily Soothed
It doesn’t matter if the kids have hurt feelings or an injury, no matter what a little TLC and a kiss always solves the problem. It’s nice being someone’s hero. Sometimes I wish my problems were so easily solved.
10. Salient Memories
At this age, the kids are developing salient memories and recall things from the past. It’s fascinating to hear them recant an event. Knowing they can remember something makes family events and traditions even better.
When it comes to parenting, the old adage holds true “the days are long, but the years are short.” Though there are many trying days and times, there’s so much more to appreciate in our daily lives and it’s important to make note of the “good stuff.”
Amber Shawver resides in Fort Worth with her husband, George, and their three year old quadruplets, Rylin, Harper, Sydney, and Mason. In an effort to maintain professional skills and a stitch of sanity, Amber continues to practice school psychology part-time. She finds that her professional training and experience are often handy managing the quads at home. In her spare time, Amber chronicles life raising quadruplets on her blog, Four to Adore. You’ll also find Four to Adore on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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