Back when BigBrother was two, I would lament the tantrums and whining and general awfulness of the Terrible Twos. Seasoned parents would look at me, laugh and say, “Just wait until he’s three.” I thought, “What the heck could be worse than this?” Certainly nothing was worse than the time he threw himself on the floor in a restaurant because I couldn’t understand what he wanted to eat. (It was at that point that we stopped visiting restaurants until he exited the Terrible Twos.) Certainly nothing was worse than fearing to leave the house because of what we knew would happen.
Oh, the naivety of parenting for the first time.
Three has been… different. The public tantrums are minimal. He knows my serious voice. He knows my serious look. Reminding him of the rules that we discussed on the way to the restaurant, coffee shop, store or any public place usually gets him to calm down. That’s all fine and dandy. In fact, being in public isn’t the issue that it once was as he likes people to shower him with compliments and, as such, is usually a gem in public. A loud gem but a gem all the same.
The issue with three, however, is that it brings different challenges. Challenges that test my patience more than a kicking, screaming, hitting tantrum in front of my grandparents. (Though, that’s pretty darn mortifying, yes.) The issues we’re currently having are: supreme negotiation and absolute ignoring. The former I can handle as I’m pretty good at negotiating myself. It is the latter that has driven me insane this past week.
To the point that I googled “why is my three year old ignoring me?” To the point that I asked his preschool teacher to pay attention to him yesterday at school to see if he was having an active hearing problem due to a few ear infections since starting said preschool. To the point that I cried in the bathroom the other day.
By the way, the teacher said his hearing is just fine. When he wants to hear, that is.
My googling, of course, brought me to some other blogging laments about the beginnings of ignoring which apparently start at three and either do or don’t end. Maybe it’s more a phase that comes and goes. Gosh, I hope it goes. It is a phase, isn’t it? Like this blogger, we have tried talking louder. That doesn’t work. In fact, FireDad tried whispering at him yesterday, hoping that it would force him to pay more attention. That didn’t work either.
So what is a parent to do? Remember, we were just told that he’s mannerly at school. And it’s really not mannerly to ignore people, parents or otherwise. So, how do we teach him that ignoring isn’t nice? I suppose I could use some reverse psychology and ignore him but that just creates whining and, well, I’m not a fan of whining. It’s also somewhat frustrating as LittleBrother is currently in a repeating phase so there’s never any quiet coming from his mouth. Different phases can be confusing. One is always talking. One is silent. What to do, what to do?
I should just start negotiating with him.
If only he’d listen.