My 3 year old is Hot n Cold

“You’re hot then you’re cold

You’re yes then you’re no

You’re in then you’re out

You’re  up then you’re down” ~ Katy  Perry (Hot n Cold lyrics)

I know that this song is about a dating relationship, that is, well, hot and cold, but I can’t help think that maybe Katy got some inspiration for the chorus lyrics by hanging out with a 3 yr old.  My daughter can change her mind at a drop of a hat and then change it again. I can not predict that something she likes today she will still like tomorrow.  This I can handle no problem it is the temper tantrum that follows is what gets frustrating.

Just yesterday, she asked for some milk, but sometime between pouring the milk and setting it down on the table in front of her, she had changed her mind to orange juice. And yes, I was apprently supposed to have read her mind. Guess what followed next… drum roll please… you guessed it, a meltdown that only a 3 yr old could accomplish. The scream of “NOOOO!!!”, followed by sitting on the floor kicking her feet, then came the tears, and finally, inbetween the sobs, she said she really wanted orange juice.  This meltdown was easily resolved and we got on with our breakfast.  That was until, there was not enough milk in her Cheerios, easy enough, I added some more.  Of course I added too much and you can figure what came next.

Luckily, not every morning is like this, but if you had or have a 2-3 yr old, it basically goes without saying that at some point during a typical day, your child will at some point get extrememly upset over something that appears to be a minor problem.  I have read many articles about toddlers brain developent and what causes the tantrums, according to Michael Potegal, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist,  it comes down to the deveolpment, or lack thereof, of the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that regulates emotion. Unfortunalty for all us parents with toddlers, it’s also the last area of the brain to develop, it only begins to mature by 4 years old.  The silver lining I take away from this is that even though it makes parenting challenging during this tantrums, it means that I am not always to blame for the meltdowns!

What I find quite amazing about the tatrums, are not the tantrums themselves, but my daughters amazing ability to just move on once the meltdown is over. It’s like nothing ever happened!  So until she is past this stage, and her brain is more delevoped, I take comfort in knowing it is normal developement and appreciate that as quickly as she can have a tantrum she can get over it just as quick and a hug from mommy can make almost everything better.

Her 4th birthday is coming up and these tantrums should start to slow down and hopefully I have a couple months before the next child pushes the repeat button and gets her tantrum on as well.



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