Threenagers are the perfect term for the post terrible-twos child. There’s the attitude and the insistence of independence without any actual skill or knowledge. They are three. Hear them roar.

Threeangers are like little evil wizards. They are adorable and somehow powerful. We are definitely under their spell. Let’s discuss… 

They invoke terrible curses.
“If you don’t get me a doughnut, I’ll be mad and break my toys,” yelled my three-year-old from the back seat. I believe him. He’s just that crazy to do it if he remembers when we get home. He’s so fresh! Threenagers are brazen enough to threaten their own parents over trifling complaints. Formerly sweet, mostly quiet toddlers morph into tiny, opinionated dictators who will say anything to get their way.

They have magical powers.
Threenagers can survive without eating any food. They can live for days on air and water. They never get hungry enough to eat something they don’t like. They can eat three Cheerios and still have enough energy to trash the playroom. They can also give up sleep. Though they are cranky, a threenager may swim all day without a nap and stay up until midnight bouncing off the walls. The adults are nodding off and the threenager is still going strong.

They can also make anything disappear. It’s time to leave. Where are his shoes? My three-year-old has many times lost his underwear somehow. It defies the laws of nature how everything they touch can simply disappear.

They are usually scheming.
You have to watch his every move with his younger sister. He’ll steal that cookie right out of her hand. He’ll hide her toy and she’ll have no clue where it went. His schemes never work on older siblings, not yet. They outwit him and are taller and faster. This is frustrating and he continues to scheme. Quiet alarms you. If you don’t hear him or his siblings reacting to him, run and find him! There’s definitely some evil scheming happening.

They dress terribly.
That once docile, sweet baby who wore any adorable outfit you put him in now insists on dressing himself. Last week’s favorite shirt is now considered garbage. He only loves red and orange now. He insists on pajama pants and a Batman mask. He only wears mismatched socks. You give up and make breakfast. Fine, if he wants to look ridiculous then let him. Except that you find out at drop-off that it’s picture day!

They look great in crazy hats.
The crazier the hat, the cuter they look. Some kids are more tolerant than others. A colorful knitted sleeping cap. A baseball hat with batman wings. A princess cone with glitter and tulle. Threenagers hold their head high with their big imaginations, however, they must be in the right mood. They also must to think it’s their idea, otherwise forget about getting that great picture.

Christi Terjesen

Christi Terjesen is the mother of three lively boys in New York. She keeps her sanity through daily walks, expensive wine, and good books. Check out her blog, Mental Stimulation for Moms at, and her playground blog,