Life with a 3-year-old: Welcome to the Year of the Rat

Much has been documented about life with a three-year-old. Personally, I’ve written about how the only conceivable answer to why I don’t leave for 365 days  is that I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome because what else can rationally explain living life under the cruel regime of a small and unpredictable dictator?

Other times, I marvel over her still-chubby arms and dread the day she has an actual wrist instead of a Michelin Man arm. The charm of hearing her pronounce her S’s with her tongue creating a sweet lisp noise as it presses against her front teeth and she waxes on about her love for “Sphider Man,” could make anyone forget the insane breakdown that just happened 2.3 seconds prior or is about to erupt in 12 seconds.

But it isn’t until you are into toddlerhood that you realize something else: They are rats.

No no. Not snitches. In my house, that’s the older one.

The human species at three exhibits many characteristics shared only by the rat. I know this because I am a world renown scientist. C’est vrai. Oh. And a human behavior specialist. And an early childhood educator.

Or I’m just super good at sounding like one.

What do I mean, you ask, all aghast that I’m telling you that your kid is cousins with that rat you’re trying to trap out back?

Remember these scenes?

The Bubonic Plague

Why probably weren’t in England in the Middle Ages as the Bubonic Plague swept across Europe. HOWEVER life with a 3-year-old means life with constant disease. They are nothing if not incubators and spreaders of all sorts of nasty illnesses. Look closely at that poor sad couple slumped down in the foreground. It’s totally you – probably like 3 weeks ago.

You know you’ve lived with a three-year-old when at least one holiday has been spent vomiting the entire time. We’ve been lucky enough to have two of those. The first time, our gift to my entire family on Christmas eve was the highly contagious norovirus.

Merry Christmas family! We brought the rat! We offer you a quick way to drop 5 pounds before New Year’s Eve.

#You’reWelcome. No need to send a Thank You note this year. Really, I insist.

This past year, we were quarantined to our own separate table over Thanksgiving dinner because the day started with puking again. Naturally.

Next year’s invite might read: You’re invited, leave the rats out back. And please wear your HAZMAT suit the entire time so as to keep your inevitable disease contained:

Pass the gravy, not whatver disease your kid is inevitably harboring right now. Happy Holidays.

Come to think of it, that suit might come in handy beyond the holidays. How about all those times the apparently “potty trained” 3-year-old craps their pants? My favorite is when she pees her pants while we’re standing in the bathroom.


You really didn’t know 1 second ago when I brought you in here, that you had to use the facilities?


Not long ago, I learned that some idiot parents at a preschool called the Department of Health on the preschool and complained it wasn’t clean enough because their kid was getting sick all the time. This story is endlessly amusing to me. Had these ahole parents never once ever come across a 3-year-old in their life until they had one?? Or better yet, were they the jerks who assumed every other parent did something wrong, like I don’t know, bathe their kid in illness, and continuously forget to wash their grubby little hands, because why else would that kid be sick so much?


So what other characteristics do 3-year-olds share with rats?

Hoarding and thieving things to retrieve for their nest. Specifically the hoarding of a totally random assortment of teeny tiny small plastic toys, that rotate in favorability and importance with no clear warning or obvious reasoning. My favorite part of this hoarding characteristic, which includes carefully guarding said items and squirreling them away in their room and random bags, is keeping track of these 2 inch items.

Because you know, they never get lost. Exhibit A: the world’s smallest rhino and the world’s happiest blue plastic bunny. I rue the day they entered my life.

How quickly can I make these guys disappear?

When the tiny toy flavor of the week leaves the rat’s nest, it is the adult human who bears sole responsibility for keeping an eye on said toy and ensuring its safe return to the nest. This agreement is not even a verbal agreement. Consider it part of the mind-reading terms you agreed too upon birthing this child, after hosting it in your uterus for 10 long months. If you defy the terms of this agreement because your brain dare crowd with other more pressing thoughts, the wrath of the rat will wreak havoc on your life. David beat Goliath. This is the modern day tale. During the year of the rat, the rat-human child will inevitably wear you down; you will find yourself scouring a park, the playroom, the bedroom, the laundry machine, anywhere you can deseperately think you might relocate the world’s smallest lost toy, as fear ricochets through your body. Your blood turns cold in ancitipation of the epic meltdown that awaits you in the very near future.


As for the thievery part of this phase of life, my best advice is, if a 3-year-old has entered your home, pat them down before leaving because odds are they’ve located more of the world’s smallest  plastic toys and carefully placed them somewhere on their person or in the backpack of “treasures” they insisted on bringing to the outing.

Desperate times call for desperate measures in the year of rat. As a well regarded scientist myself, even moi can’t shed any light on why the small rat-human favors small toys and hoarding them in this third year of life.

You will never win.

Accept it for what it is.

Am I missing any of the rat-like characteristics of the 3-year-old? Chime in.

In the mean time, if you’ve got a rat living in your home, my best advice: Dust off your hazmat suit, prepare to ruin a few holidays, hunt down some magnifying glasses and don’t forget to take your vitamins.

For more survival tips on the Year of the Rat, and general hilarity, be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page.

2 Responses to Life with a 3-year-old: Welcome to the Year of the Rat
  1. Bethesda Locavore
    May 1, 2012 | 10:24 am

    This is hilarious. Oh, those damn tiny toys … they will be my downfall.

  2. mjg
    May 1, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    Very funny and no one in the family will forget the Christmas Eve from hell and the fear of your family arrival last Thanksgiving lest we have a repeat of that Christmas.
    I really think 3 year olds hide and hoard small objects because we have kept the small stuff away from previous to this . They have instinctively been waiting for the time that they could finally play with small objects.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL