You’ve always suspected it. Part of you knows it. You’ve seen the warning signs. You know all the red flags. Is it time to seek help? Is your 3-year-old a THUG?
If you can’t pick your child up at school without getting an “incident report,” I’m talking to you. If you’re currently researching anti-anxiety meds because you can’t handle taking your kid to the park, I’m talking to you. If your child’s behavior chart offers stars for “Not biting,” “not throwing produce in the grocery store” and “not riding the dog,” I’m talking to you.
If your child does ANY of the following things, chances are…Your 3-year old is a thug. Know the signs–act early!
1. Your child mugs babies at the park. Like a dirty criminal trolling the streets for an old lady with a purse, your child knows her chances of success are higher when her victims can’t fight back. Babies are the low-hanging fruit of the park scene. They can’t walk, they can’t talk, and they’re usually surrounded by interesting toys and snacks like yogurt pouches and goldfish. My daughter knows this, so when you’re not looking and I’m picking a wood chip out of my flip flop, she’s darting over to your baby’s picnic to load up on everything she can get her hands on. I’ve seen her grab a board book, a pack of Teddy Grahams, stuff a bottle of breastmilk down her shirt and run off to a nearby tree to inspect her loot before you can say “Early Intervention.”
2. Your kid steals binkies from babies. This takes park muggings to a whole new level. Yup…That’s me, over there. I’m the mom dying in embarrassment when my 3-year-old calmly walks up to your darling toddler on the play structure, plucks the binkie out of his mouth and puts it in her own. She then pats your baby on the head, saunters off and heads down the slide. I mean, other Mom, what are you THINKING when this occurs? I shudder in horror.
3. Your kid physically removes other children from playground equipment when she’s tired of waiting. Instead of selecting a different activity or simply waiting her turn, she will nonchalantly pick up the other child from the swing, place her on the ground, and climb on.
4. The child develops a strategic and calculated approach in dealing with confrontations with older children. For example, a cute little girl in pigtails in a My Little Pony Shirt approaches the play structure upon which–until now–Holland has had to herself. Holland scans the child, and I imagine a screen appearing before her eyes, Terminator-style to assess her opponent.
Age: Appx 4 years
Developmental Age: 3.5 years
Apparel: My Little Pony (this is a big plus and I see Holland hesitate, distracted by the shirt)
Weight: 28 pounds.
A trigger in Holland’s head. “I’ve got ten pounds on this chick!” Holland climbs to the tallest point of the structure, raises her arms high above her head, and yells, “Hey-ya! This is HOLLAND’S PARK. GO AWAY!” Then she bangs on the structure like a gorilla. My Little Pony runs off crying for mommy.
5. You consider getting a prescription to anti-anxiety medication for park outings with your child. See above.
6. Your child shoplifts yogurt and fruit from the grocery store on a regular basis. You find the items later when she digs into your purse and pulls out organic Almond Dream Strawberry-top.
7. She prefers to ink her face up Braveheart-style with markers instead of actually coloring on paper. You see her get out the markers and you cringe. You ask her, “Would you like some paper?” She answers, “NO,” like, what, are you crazy? I’m getting ready to graffiti up some furniture, b*tch!
8. The first thing she does when she gets to school in the morning is look for some sort of tower, block structure or puzzle to dismantle, and yells, “Wreck-it Ralph!” When the other kids look on in dismay, she shrugs and says, “I’m bad…and that’s good.”
9. Your child is drawn to mean-looking dogs. On her morning scooter ride along the Ferry Landing, she seeks out the largest, most dangerous looking dog she can find. She barrels towards it full speed, brakes, then give the dog a big hug. (Good thing that pit pull with all the bite wounds was so friendly.)
10. She gets road rage. Using the bike trailer is now problematic, because she likes to start fights with motorists. She’ll often launch her sippy cup at cars she thinks are moving too slowly, and yells “Go, idiot!”
11. She magically has to poop every time you put her in time out. So you let her go to the bathroom. And she produces poop. Every time. It’s like she wills it to come, and it does.
12. She likes to wreck her ride-on motorized pink car. Just yesterday she rammed it into the fridge as fast as she could, launched it vertically up the kitchen wall, flipped off it backwards and was stunned. She lies on her back, and the car is partially on top of her, upright against the fridge. Instead of crying, she yells, “Awesome. Mommy, look!”
13. She likes to drink beer. If you leave a Tecate lying around, she’ll roll up and take a big swig, spill half of it down her shirt and say, “Beer! Yummy.”
So there it is, folks. These are the warning signs. If your child exhibits ANY of these behaviors, I advise you to grab a bottle of wine, and start drinking…now.