Two is Worse than Three and I’ll Prove It

If you’ve ever had a Two, then you’ve had the conversation. The conversation with Been-There-Done-That Mom. BTDT Mom once had a Two, but now has a Three, so she is qualified to speak on such matters. BTDT Mom knows the Threes are more terrible than the Twos, compelling her to warn you – as bad as you think Two is, trouble is coming. It goes something like this:

Just like that, BTDT Mom has invalidated your existence, insisting “You think it’s bad, now? Just you wait. Three is worse than two.” But, stand firm Toddler Mom, because BTDT Mom is wrong. Way wrong. Two is much worse than Three. The twos are indeed terrible. Get your own alliteration, Three. (Perhaps one that actually alliterates.)

Two is worse than Three because…
Two is closer to Zero and Zero is when your sleeplessness began. By Three, you’ll have had 12 extra months to catch up on sleep. That sleep deprivation stuff has rollover minutes. You don’t make up for it in one night.

Two is worse than Three because…
Two has no clue what they are doing. Lip quivers, silent cries, hyperventilating, tantrums – all of this nonsense is just knee-jerk to Two. It’s all they’ve got. The arsenal is neither deep nor stocked. In an instant, Two can be whisked away on a magical journey of delight, forgetting about sharing-woes, mommy-no’s and subbed-toes. How is this worse than Three, you ask? Because Toddler Mom has absolutely no right to stay mad at them. You can’t blame them at all. I told my husband I wanted to trade in my Two for a Four and get her back in two years. As soon as it left my mouth, I felt guilty. She is Two! She knows not what she does! How dare I! Had she been a Three, my words would have been justified. Instead, I’m left soaking in Mommy Guilt while she has moved on to the next shiny object.

Two is worse than Three because…
Toddler Mom is one year less experienced, one year less mature and one year further from realizing how none of this really even matters. BTDT Mom has a whole ‘nother year under her belt. BTDT Mom is a pro. (This is why she is able to pass out such wisdom as “just wait…three is much worse than two.” She knows.) BTDT Mom has no excuse. The raw behavior of Three may be worse than Two, but when matched with respective mom experience, mommaturity and perspective, having a Two is much, much worse.

Two is worse than Three because…
Two dances on the fence between baby and child.

Two can sleep in a crib, but can also climb out.
Two can ride in a stroller, but can also walk.
Two can pee on the potty, but can still wear diapers.
Two can be called baby or big girl.
Two can use words or just babble.
Two should nap, but doesn’t always.

Two has options and options are not good. Options mean unpredictability. Uncontainment (not a word, but it should be). Uncontrolled. Upper-hand. Yes, options give Two the upper-hand.

By Three, the lines are much clearer. Three is allowed to play with chokable toys. Three must have their own airplane ticket. Three has to pay to get into the fun places. Three can go to preschool and do things sans “parent participation.” Three is a noticed member of the free world. Three is practically an adult. Shame on you, BTDT Mom for even comparing them. Two has to toe the line and it’s not pretty.

Two is worse than Three because…
Two is now. Three is the future. Now is what is hard. It’s one thing to dread what’s coming. It’s quite another to live in reality. Yeah, yeah, yeah, having a verbal kid with an vocabulary extended past “no,” with 3% common sense (that’s triple the going rate for a two-year-old), with a grasp on cause-and-effect and who is capable of eliminating into a flushable container – I’m sure that will be a real drag. But, right now, I’m staring in the face of a plugged toilet no plunger can defeat, all because Two wanted to make the whole bag of “flushable” wipes go “splashy-splashy.” Right now, I’m scrubbing guacamole off our new couch because Two had no idea she was covered in it before she climbed aboard her magic carpet while watching Aladdin. Right now, I’m deleting every Disney song from my Music app, because Two thinks my phone is her own personal DJ. Right now, I’m still stabilizing my heart-rate and stress levels, even though Two went to bed (screaming) 90 minutes ago. Three is someday. Two is right now.

Ok BTDT Mom, now that we’ve got that straight, I don’t want to hear another word about your Threenager or your trouble that starts with “T” and ends with “E” and stands for “Three.”

Stay tuned for the next posts in this series, entitled Three is Worse than Two and I’ll Prove It (coming July 9, 2017) and Apologies to My Adult Children for the Things I Plublished Online When They were Too Young to Defend (coming sometime in 2026).

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