The Threenager

I’ve been absent round these parts lately because…. Well I don’t really have a good excuse. Just busy and blah and brain fried. But just recently I’ve had to hit the ground running back at work (well one of my jobs. They all blur into one crazy mess really), and celebrate (or is that cry myself into a bowl of wine? I’m not sure) the fact that my youngest lass is entering her third year of life. Three. A magical age, isn’t it? We’ve talked about the Fucking Fours, we’ve talked about the Second Child Syndrome. Well, when that is combined with the threenager phase…… it’s time to just hide in a cupboard and comfort eat for a year.

threenager 2
It’s in the handbook. Apparently.

So, what is this creature known as a threenager I hear you ask? Well, you’re in for a treat. Having studied one such creature a mere two years ago, and now embarking on the ‘change’ in another, not to mention working with a few over the years, here’s a quick checklist to assess whether you may just have a threenager in your midst:

The Threenager Checklist

  • Does your child suddenly possess the ability to roll their eyes at you, even though they’ve never seen it done before?
  • Have they commenced foot stamping (preferably right foot. But left foot can be used at times also), whilst simultaneously putting hands on hips over seemingly innocuous things?
  • At random moments, are your ears assaulted with terms such as “Ugggh. I TOLD you already”, “ I said I would, alright?”, and “yeah yeah in a minute”. If speaking ain’t their thang, then do you get a series of growls and grunts hurled in your general direction?
  • Does your child appear to be a 15 year old trapped in a midget’s body? They may look cute, and all toddler-like, but the sass and attitude is like that of a surly Year 10 student.
  • Do things have to be ‘just so’? Only neither they nor you know what ‘just so’ actually is?
  • Will your child reserve the right to change their mind eleventy billion times a day? They want yellow shorts. NO! DON’T GIVE ME YELLOW SHORTS, I TOLD YOU ALREADY! But I really doooooo want yellow shorts.
  • Do you find yourself squishing their cheeks and just loving them sick, only to begin plucking your own eyelashes out mere moments later due to their moodiness and cyclonic behaviour?
  • Does your child stare at you with knowing eyes, the second you go out in public, and saves their best for an audience? They slowly turn their head, shiny eyes gleaming with joy, as they give you that look that says “ohhhh yeah. I’m all over this, bitchez”.
  • Have you taken to necking a bottle of wine on a nightly basis and bypassing the glass?
So much yes


If you’ve nodded along to all of these, and are crying and reaching for the wine by the last question, then it looks like you’ve got a threenager on your hands. My sincere condolences. Sometimes you may have an overachiever who starts at 2.5 years. Brace yourselves. This doesn’t mean they escape the phase any earlier, it merely means you’ve got an extra 6 months of the pain. Invest in a vineyard now.

They get through it. Eventually. As do you. Some sanity may be lost. But really, it’s overrated anyways. And when it’s over, you’ll be reminiscing about that little sass mouth and Benjamin Button style ‘tude. Because it’s onto four then. And we know what that’s like.


Have you encountered a threenager? Did you come away intact? If you don’t have kids, what kind of three year old do you think you might have been? I was a total cherub.

  • Fleur @ Our Urban Box

    OMG Yes!! We have a threenager in the house! Attitude and sass plus. Her favourite thing to say is “no mum, you listen to me”… Um ok kid!?! I’m hoping she grows out of this because she is hardwork! She’s nothing like me as a child. I was calm, kind and loved to play on my own.

    • Bahahahaha! Love it! The sass just kills me every time. And the hardest part is you’re part flabbergasted, part gushing because they’re so.darn.cute. They’re the ultimate headfuck ha ha. I’d love to say she’ll grow out of it…. but then she’ll turn four. Yikes.xx

  • Bahahaha! Though I don’t know why I am laughing, this is just months away from my reality! He already has the ‘tude and the throw down mastered.

    • Ha ha you have an overachiever on your hands lady! Miss SP started at 2.5. She also started the terrible 2’s at 18 months. Come to think of it I don’t think she’s ever stopped any of these phases. They’ve all just rolled into one insane rollercoaster ride. Enjoy yours ha ha! x

  • I’m not sure I should continue reading your posts Dr Sash. It scares me. Or is it better to be forewarned? Who knows…. But I think we’ve already established that Thud is going to be a cracker threenager if he’s anything like your Miss 3. SHIT STICKS.

    • I’d say forewarned is forearmed, but even all the preparation in the world can’t equip you for the random shit they pull. Because. Three. I’m looking forward to Thud growling at you in the coming years. x

  • Jo

    You’ve described my Threenager to a tee!! We use reverse psychology on him to get him to do as his told. The thought of rebelling against our wishes excites him to no end – except the rare moments he does listen. Fave saying at the moment (while he’s being naughty) – “I WANNA BE GOOD!” Learnt that catchy phrase from his FF yr old bro!! I need ALL the wine!

    • Oh good tactic!! I bloody wish reverse psychology would work on Miss SP. NOTHING WORKS on her. She is like the Terminator! x

  • Oh yeah, foot stamping, eye rolling, arms crossed over his chest. He also makes this squinty-eyed face that seems to suggest intense disdain for everything we represent. But oh what a crack up! He keeps us all amused :-)

    • Ha ha ha I LOVE the looks they get on their faces! So uncensored! Sometimes I wish I could pull the same kinds of looks off. x

  • I am in so many different stages of parenthood right now it’s a fucking joke! But let me just say this- I did not experience the threenager with either of my two big boys & I kinda wish I had because then I might have had some idea of what I was in for when they became actual teenagers. From my very limited experience I breed horrid teenagers. Times a threenager by infinitythousand & you will understand where I’m at.

    Take notes & let this stage harden you up. Let it make your skin tough as leather & your white light surrounding your emotions bright & bouncy because teenagers are NEXT LEVEL HELL! At least threenagers are cute. It’s what saves them every time 😉

    • Oh fuck me. I cannot do teenager if that’s the case! I will bury my head under a bottle of wine right now! Lady, you are a legend for managing all the different stages! x

  • My daughter is 4 (soon to be 5) and I can relate to all of the above. But every time she drives me a little bit more insane (ie. EVERY day) I have to stop myself and remember that all that I am getting mad about, are the things I love in her. Her feisty attitude, her strong-will, he non-stop energy. And then I thank the Lord there is wine. Copious amounts of wine. And I count the minutes until bedtime.

  • michelle barrington

    With my daughter we never had the terrible twos but she sure was a threenager – a particularly articulate one too which raised many an eyebrow! Her brother is three in april and firmly stuck in the terrible twos. He expresses himself so physically that I don’t expect we will have him be a threenager but having him be able to walk in to school without assaulting other peoples kids with a push,shove or MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if they smile at me would be nice. #NECKALLTHEWINE

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    Hell to the yes. I currently have an overachieving 2.5 year old who has transitioned easily from terrible twos straight into a threenager. I’ve been through this before with Miss TT and it’s not fun. Wine certainly helps. I drink more now since I’ve had kids than before in my 20s. I know it’s just a phase but it feels like it’s a looooonng one. My Mum tells me I was a well behaved child. Handy Hubby on the other hand was a little terror. My mother in law just laughs when she see my kids antics now and says “they are so much like him”. They are gorgeous little souls but damn hard work. Happy days!!!

    • Oh you do have an over-achiever there! My youngest too liked to reach for the stars and started threenagering at 2.5. And started the terrible two’s at 18 months. If she gets into the fucking fours in the next 6 months I will cry. Hard. And omg yes! How much more do we drink when we become parents? I think there needs to be a study on it! x

  • We’re through the threenager…and now in the teendult! Not sure which one is worse 😉

  • My threenager is KILLING ME. “Do you want water?” “Yes, I’d like ice and a lemon wedge in it, please”. Are you kidding me?!

    • Ha ha ha! Oh gosh that is hilarious! Refined tastes right there! What kills me is you then go to the effort of doing such things for them, and when you hand it to them they respond with “no I don’t want that now” Arrrrgggh! x

  • Ooh yep. My threenager has totally perfected the eyebrow raise – she looks at me as if to say “how do you even function?”.

    Yesterday I was singing along to the radio & she said “oh god mum, just stop, you’re embarrassing yourself.” WTF????? She’s 3, where did she even hear that????

    • Bahahahahaha! Classic! That is a line to write down for her 21st!!! Far out, I swear it’s just this in-built threenager chip that is activated, where all these lines spew forth! x