14 ways to know you are raising a threenager - Color Me Meg

14 ways to know you are raising a threenager

i missed the important chat somewhere about “toddler hell.”

someone should have sat me down and prepared me for this…

14 ways to know you are raising a threenager

threenager: noun.

a 3-year-old in a “phase” in which they truly do believe they are a teenager with negotiating skills from Harvard.

ex. “great, my sweet toddler is now a threenager. i need a huge diet coke and a cookie. and a live-in nanny for 2 years…”


1. You spend time in 30 minute increments. 24 really, because that’s how long an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates is on Netflix {or whatever they’ll watch}, and therefore your allotted time to get anything done .

You’ve also given up on that rule your pediatrician probably gave you at some point about the “recommended amount of screen time” for a kid his age and tell yourself it’s educational…. cause it is. Thanks Super Why, for teaching my kid his letters.

toddler shows jake and the neverland pirates

2. You feel on the verge of a heart attack for 90% of the day, worrying that at any moment your child will run into oncoming traffic or attempt to actually “fly” in his superman cape off the balcony.

Or consoling him because he isn’t really superman, and can’t actually fly.

boston toddler running (1)

3. The ratio of NO!s and STOP THAT!s shift from 90% you, to your child. You must have forgotten who was in charge all this time… and apparently YOU are the annoying one.

kid throwing fit tantrun

4. You spend 30 minutes at a time in arguments over things like going to the barn. “what barn?” “THE BARN, MOM!” “I don’t know what you are talking about…” “THE BARN! WITH THE ANIMALS! I WANT TO GO. RIGHT. NOW!!!!”


5. A good *30% of the day is spent watching your child in a sudden self-induced seizure of fits with his face in the floor, fake alligator tears, and no form of consolation for miles around. {*statistic completely made up to be dramatic and prove a point}


6. Poop happens. And not a soul in the house cares about it. Not the kid sitting in it all day, not the ones who have to change it…. Cause stopping 10 times while you’re finally out to find a potty now sounds like hell on wheels. Literally. Racing a cart through Target {what should always be a mom’s happy place} to beat the 30 seconds to the bathroom… no thanks. Poop away kid. We’ll deal with all that stuff when we’re ALL good n ready…

potty training

image source



7. If it isn’t their idea, forget about it. You both spend time negotiating and manipulating conversation, trying to get the other to believe it’s their idea…

“mom, you want to watch that show, cause it will make you happy!”  Riiiiiight.

“Don’t you want to go to preschool? You can’t go to preschool unless you go in the potty…” NO! I don’t WANT to go in the potty. Now change my diaper, mom!!!”


image source


8. Going anywhere requires an extra allowance of no less than 25 minutes to allow for any possible meltdowns or sudden amnesia regarding seat belt protocol.

This, is why you are almost always late for things, and trying to come up with other reasons than “i actually had to buckle him in this time!”


where are we going toddler

9. Talking on the phone at any time of the day requires more patience than anyone in the house has. “So we were going to the… not right now, sweetheart…. ballgame, and we saw Cheri…. can we NOT climb on mom for a few seconds? …  and she was telling me about her husband’s new job… please don’t hit your sister! CAN YOU PLAY WITH YOUR TOYS A MINUTE?!, i’ll be there in just a second… [shouting and crying from multiple children]….[sigh…] Mom, I gotta go…”


image source

10. Car-rides are where the most learning takes place [mostly because he is finally stuck  in one place]. It also means you have a built-in police car radar as well as a backseat driver to remind you of the meanings of traffic colors, AND  someone to ensure that you don’t miss a single octagon or rectangle along the way. It would truly be horrible to miss one of those…

Stop shouting at me street sign

This between the musical entertainment you surely should capture for him to see when he IS a teenager and wants to make music for real…

11. Food is a battle you’ve now given up on, taking on the mantra that “they won’t starve”. They’ll eat when they eat but it’s not on your watch. Some days it’s milk and cheese, other days you scramble to feed the bottomless pit and army of one, it’s just getting through the day that matters… and trying not to stress too much about being responsible for their future health problems you’ve caused…

boston toddler eating

12. Time-outs are now at least 15-20 minutes, rather than the recommended 3 minutes. Cause that’s how long it takes to catch your breath, get a beverage, and sit in your personal space long enough to remember that you had this child on purpose and you still love them. It’s really a time out for you at this point… plus they forget they’re in timeout and finally do “play with toys by themselves” like you wished they would…

dirty diet coke naptime door hanger

printables found here


13. They always surprise you with random kindness and understanding you didn’t think cognitively capable for a little person with typical age-appropriate behaviors. “Mom, you didn’t have breakfast, you need this apple and cheese.” “Mom, I cleaned up my toys cause it will make you happy.” or “Mom, can you come outside and take a picture of me with your big camera?”

boston toddler 2

note: he doesn’t often let me take pictures of him, and he knows i love it… so i’m sure that’s he way of giving back…

14. At some point you have called one or both of your parents to thank them, cry to them, or ask for advice because you are sure you have turned into a crazy person with too many different emotions: frustration, guilt, humility, anger, sadness, self-loathing, sleep-deprivation, love, desperation, more guilt… all in the wake of deeply trying to connect with a little threenager who WAY deep down is still a good little person just learning to be a human.


boston toddler 1


Sign up and I’ll send you my printable planner with meal planning as a THANK YOU.

We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.


About Meg

I am Meg. A health and wellness coach, a color lover, and a wish-i-owned-a-house-er. My husband and I are self-declared foodies and LOVE cooking together and doing home projects. We blog about our food and DIY adventures from sunny Arizona with our 3 cutie kids. Email me at colormemegblog at gmail dot com to work with me!

10 comments on 14 ways to know you are raising a threenager

  1. mandi
    June 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Ok, can I just say I love that on your ‘about you’ section you put that you and your husband are wishful home owners. I have 4 kids under 6 and we don’t have a house yet and I feel so much pressure from other moms telling me that we need to get a house. I knew I was not the only respectable mother out there who wasn’t a homeowner. This is my big *sigh* of relief 🙂

    • Meg
      June 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm (4 years ago)

      haha! oh, we will probably NOT be home-owners for a while. San Diego, while paradise, comes with some sacrifices… 😉 someday i will be sharing my new house on here, and it will have nothing in it! 😉

  2. Amy
    June 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my gosh this makes me feel so much better!!! Mine’s not quite two and I can relate to almost all of these. He’s not super verbal yet so those ones haven’t happened *yet*. ESPECIALLY 12!!!

  3. Stacey
    June 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm (4 years ago)

    I laughed so hard that I was near tears reading this. My oldest boy, who will be six next month, never really went through most of these as a toddler (does some now); his three and a half year old brother, though, is the epitome of every single one. My husband and I have joked that we will be called into the principal’s office on a regular basis with the younger one, who mysteriously is always well behaved at church and day care, but can be an out right terror at home. I love them both dearly, but there is a reason why I decided to have only two kids. 😛

    • Meg
      June 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm (4 years ago)

      That is awesome! I always tell my husband that I’m sure he will be the one the teacher says is such a “gem” and “he’s such a good obedient boy” and I will want to smack her for it. I’m truly hoping my sweet little girl stays sweet… Though either way she’ll be a teenager at some point I guess…. Is there no way out?!?!

  4. Ruthanne Weighton
    June 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I’d like you to know this made me laugh because oh – thank – God – it’s – not – just – me and not because I think what you’re going through is funny. (Even though it kind of is.)

    It is SO relieving to hear that I am not the only one who struggles with:

    Here, s your underwear honey. (No underwear…give me a diaper.)

    Honey, don’t throw the cat! (Why Mom?)

    Sssh. Mommy’s on the phone. (But I need to poooooop!)

    No! We were supposed to leave 5 minutes ago! Put your clothes back on and find your shoes!

    I have two children who’ve made it past three… Surely I can live through one more.

    Please let me live through one more.

    • Meg
      June 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm (4 years ago)

      Haha! Yes! Mine always asks me to just out his diaper back on some can poop in it. He’s done it, he knows how. He’s just a lazy one in that area… So funny.

  5. Sandy
    June 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm (4 years ago)

    You made me laugh. You made me cry. You made me feel normal! Thank you!!!

  6. teresa
    June 20, 2014 at 11:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Then they turn into actual teenagers and wreck your car and use language that is no longer cute or easily remedied with a good washing the mouth out with soap.

  7. Julie
    July 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm (4 years ago)

    I know you are an awesome mom, because you are an awesome person 🙂 (I know you weren’t looking for validation, but its the truth!)

    Love all the fun inspiration on your blog!