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Navigating through the ‘threenager’ year

Rochelle Carter by Rochelle Carter Additional Needs

Rochelle Carter

Rochelle Carter

Sharing insights on how we, together as a family, are living life ‘differently’ as a result of Cerebral Palsy in attempt to help raise awareness ar...

We sailed through the terrible twos but now find ourselves with a ‘threenager’.

The Urban Dictionary describes a ‘threenager’ as a: ‘Three-year-old child spouting attitude like a spoiled teenage.’

‘I want to do it on my own - Let me do it!’

Currently we have a child who doesn’t want help. Annabelle wants the independence that other three-year olds have (and rightly so). The difference is she is not physically able, so that independence is not to the level she desires. We do not have the luxury of sitting back and letting her figure it all in her own time because sometimes she simply isn’t able to. We are challenged with getting the balance of support we give to the correct level or we fuel the frustration and can be faced with ‘threenger’ attitude and tantrums.

‘I’m not tired!’

Annabelle is of the age whereby she doesn’t think she needs to nap but if she doesn’t have a late morning nap, any therapy scheduled for the afternoon becomes a challenge as she simply does not have enough energy to give it her best. When therapy is essential for your child, you want nothing more than for them to give every session their all but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Some sessions go well whilst others she has her own ideas and simply does not cooperate, most often because she is just too tired.

‘I want to feed my self - Don’t help me!’

Annabelle is capable of feeding herself, but it is a slow process. The time it takes to get a meal inside her is at least double when she is doing it alone. The technique of getting food onto a spoon or a fork and to her mouth without it falling off can be tricky for her and often requires more than one attempt. When she is hungry, she just wants to get the food in without delay, so frustration can kick in when it doesn’t quite go to plan but the ‘threenager’ in her is determined to keep trying.

We also have a hectic routine, before the current pandemic we had somewhere to be everyday, so time was never on our side. We battle to find food that we can give Annabelle that is healthy but that she can manage to eat at a relatively quick speed to ensure we get out the house on time. She has no concept of time unless it works to her advantage. The alternative is to take the risk with harder to manage food and offer her help and hope that it is the one time she will agree and let us assist when she is struggling.

Despite the challenges and difficulties that arise, we are over the moon to have a ‘threenager’. A ‘threenager’ who is going through mental changes and learning who she is as a person just like all those other three-year olds! She is testing her boundaries and with the right guidance and a bit of teeth gritting, soon enough we will come out the other side and will move onto the new challenges of having a four-year-old!


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