Posted by: philosodad | August 29, 2010

Already a Teenager

So the Phoenix is already 18 months old, which is amazing, and the Highlander… well, he’s three. And a half.

Which would be amazing, if he weren’t acting so very much like a 13-year-old.

“Just leave me alone!”

“Stop talking to me like that!”

This is, essentially, his reaction to all behavior correction. He goes to his room and pouts, basically, and doesn’t want to talk about anything. Which honestly isn’t that big of a deal, because it saves me from having to put him in time out, but it is hard to stay totally calm while a three year old paces around and avoids eye contact.

Until he stubs his toe or something, at which point he comes over for a hug. Then starts pacing again and ranting about being left alone.

This is actually an improvement. I mean, it isn’t exactly a tantrum. The morning tantrums and the constant anger have dissipated since we changed schools. Everything is basically fine until around bedtime, when the teenage thing starts up. It is a weird behavior, and one that I can’t really trace to any source.

Still, a great deal of the time, I have a happy, well adjusted kid who says please and thank you and is back to being very helpful and interested in what is going on around him, so I’m pretty happy with the school move.

He might be picking this up from his sister. The Phoenix has decided that she is going to start potty training. And by ‘decided’, I mean that she will throw an incredible, monster fit if you try to put a diaper on her during the day, and she will eventually take it off. During the fit, she says “potty!” “Potttttyyyyy” over and over and over.

So we’ve decided to go with this. Why not, right? Unfortunately, she will accept no help or advice in this new stage of her development. If I pick her up to put her on the potty, she screams at me. Then climbs off. Then tries to climb on again, with varying degrees of success.

I should mention that the phoenix is in the 25th percentile for height, and 5th for weight. She is, in a word, tiny. And remarkably strong. And better at Ju Jitsu than you would think possible for a 20 pound person.

But still tiny, so climbing onto the big toilet (which she occasionally insists that she absolutely MUST use) is an adventure.

Of course, she has yet to actually pee in any potty. So this potty training thing has been a real exercise in patience. The potty training books say you should “make” the kid clean up any accidents. The Phoenix insists on cleaning up, so that isn’t exactly negative reinforcement. She just doesn’t seem upset about her lack of progress, and we’re trying not to do anything shaming or angry, because the good folks at the new school claim they know what they are doing.

The folks at the new school claim that this will just happen, naturally, eventually. She’ll start using the potty. Be patient, they say.

I’m wondering if I’m in the hands of woo. Are these crazed montessorians going to destroy my house in a flood of baby pee? I guess only time will tell.



  1. My daughter is 3.5years old. The bizarre almost teen like sulking happens here too, along with the pout. You’re not alone and we are also clueless as to the root of origin.

    • I’m wondering if it’s an exposure to TV thing. Good to know it’s happening elsewhere in the parenting universe, though. Thanks.

  2. I have a 2.5 year old and he basically potty trained himself. We had the potty chair there and at about 24 months or so he decided that his diapers were undesirable and would take them off (especially at bed/nap time)so when we were at home we let him run around without anything on. We didn’t push about using the potty but would mention once and hour or so that he might need to potty. Initially, he would almost always say no and then 2 minutes later pee on the floor but the odds of him going in the toilet slowly increased over time.

    We had lots of accidents (which we never made him clean up) but we were seeing improvement. After 6-8 weeks someone mentioned to us that trying the training underwear might work. After 2-3 accidents in then he started more consistently go in the potty. I think with the training underwear on he could feel the results of not going in the potty which could be ignored and walked away from when he was wearing nothing. Within about 2 weeks of starting with the training underwear he was going in the potty about 75% of the time and within another month he was about 99%.

    He is 30 months old now and has the occassional accident, usually in bed because he refuses to get out of his bed without permission or when an adult is hogging the bathroom and he can’t hold it long enough.

    So it can happen on its own without a lot of effort.

  3. Sorry, folks. This is typical three-year-old behavior. Oddly, the general myth is that there is a “terrible-two” issue, but really “three” can be more challenging.

    Then there are those kids whose “terrible-twos” last until they are seven-years old! I had one of those. This being the same kid who refused to be potty trained until he was almost in kindergarten (yes, I warned his teacher). (trust me, I tried everything… between ages three and four he wore nothing in the house… it was when we had to go out that he got something on, and then he let it rip!)

    He got the highest possible score on the AP Calculus BC test (that is the second year of advanced placement calculus!). This is equivalent to one semester or two quarters of university calculus (depending on calender). He has moved out of the house and pays for his own living expenses as a lifeguard (most of his duties at the pool involve teaching kids how to swim). He twentieth birthday is about ten days away.

    Trust me, there is hope. But the teenage years will bring many more challenges, and more smiles than you can imagine. To get a sense, check out the “Zits” cartoon. My son thought the writers of that comic had a camera in our house.

    (PS: my older disabled kid was potty trained shortly after turning three… yeah, there are other things you really need to worry about)

  4. My 4-year-old daughter routinely tells “you’re ruining my life.” Not sure where that came from. We’re looking forward to the teen years.

    I think learning how to use the bathroom is a fairly natural process that kids pick up when they discover that wetting and defecating in one’s pants is really not all that great. You are absolutely right to not make a big deal out it. But, man, is it a frustrating and confusing time.

    Endeavor to persevere.

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