Here's an evening that exemplifies the age of 3. and the problems of having two children who are the same age.
Yesterday after naptime (which is our typically worst time of day... they are still tired and want nothing more than to lump on the sofa and gorge themselves on Spectacular Spiderman on Netflix) I took the playdough out and got them started making people and animals and food out of playdough.
Then I started dinner while they played in the kitchen. Z helped me make 'sushi' rolls with white rice and julienned vegis. C continued to play with the dough and allowed Z to make her a roll. Then we sat at the table and ate sushi and drank tea out of the fancy china teacups and had an awesome dinner.
After dinner, while I did the dishes, the girls played an insane game where they took turns being a snake on the floor and their sister's job was to sit on their back and keep them from slithering. Whatever, no one got hurt and they laughed hysterically. And I got to clean up the kitchen.
Finally I set up the record player and had them listen to a recorded read-a-long book (yes they were mine and no, I never throw anything out) while they had a glass of milk and a cookie for desert. And that's where the utopia ended.
C is OBSESSED with the change she keeps in her little change purse. I tell her 50-teen (her words) times a day to put the money back in her purse. That it is not a toy and she can't play with money all around the house. I'm trying to impress upon her that it has some sort of value. and she understands that she can use the money to buy something at the store. But she just. doesn't. listen. at. all. She's one of those kids who just humors you and lives in her own little world where she is queen and you are an annoying noise to be tolerated temporarily until you give in and go away. And I am the biggest culprit of this. I am the High Holy Mother of Empty Threats. I came back into the room after filling up the bathtub and she had change all over the couch and floor. So I took it and put it someplace she couldn't reach it. I explained she could have it back tomorrow, but that she didn't listen to what I had already asked her many many times to do.
And she screamed for over an hour. Solid. through bathtime (she wouldn't get in the tub and I had to wrestle her on the bathroom floor to wash her up) through putting pjs on. Through book reading. And into singing with the lights off.
Z on the other hand, listened to the end of her record, turned the player off. came up the stairs with her blankie, got in the tub, washed her hair, brushed her teeth, peed on the potty, put on her pjs and sat in bed listening to stories and songs. The only time she got upset was when C tried to climb over the baby gate at the top of the stairs and Z was afraid (as was I) that she would topple over it and fall down the stairs head first.
So in an effort to be fair to Z, I basically had to ignore C's freakout. Which is not the best way to handle it for her. C isn't the kind of kid who will wind down on her own. She needs to be physically restrained and almost shaken out of it. Like in the old movies where you slap the woman out of her hysterics. But the choices are ignore it and let it escalate and continue for longer than it needs to go on, or ignore the kid who's being good and basically punish her for her sister's freakout.
Aren't these awesome choices? Last night I picked Z. Most of the time I don't. She was owed a night. And up until around 6:45 we had an awesome day. In retrospect, it's probably the chocolate milk and cookie that's setting C off at night. I'll have to ponder a way around that part of the evening routine...