In my opinion, 3 is a wonderful age. You're finally out of that babyish toddler phase and entering "big kid" zone. However, with all the really cool new things a 3 year old can do, there are also quite a few strange new tricks they've mastered, too. I'm talking weird stuff, my friends, like being able to see things you can't see, talking to themselves in the dark, and showing up in unexpected places around the house. There are a lot of creepy things 3-year-olds do that can (and will) absolutely freak a parent out if they're not prepared.
My 3-year-old son's favorite trick is to stealthily sneak into our bed at some point every single night. He's really excelling at this particular skill, honestly, and neither my husband nor I are even aware of his comings or goings. Some mornings we only know he's slept in our bed because we feel the weight of his body shuffling down towards the bed's edge before he pitter patters towards the kitchen for breakfast. Yes, he really is that good. While my husband and I are pretty solid sleepers, I know that we used to wake up when he was younger and came into our bed at night. It's just that since the later part of his 2-year-old toddler year and as he turned 3, he's become a Sleep Ninja and can sneak into our bed without us being the wiser.
This is just one of the many skillz my 3-year-old son seems to have acquired of late. Do you recognize any of these in your own creepy kid? (Please say yes because, you know, solidarity.)
When They Talk To Themselves
If you have a 3 year old who is passed the bedtime stalling phase, or who has already run you through the ringer for two hours and has finally accepted that, yes, it is indeed time to go the eff to sleep, you might notice some tunes coming from their room.
My 3-year-old son likes to take whatever dolls of the moment he is into (right now it is Super Man and Moana) and enact miniature operas from his toddler bed. Sometimes these go on for nearly an hour. The one thing I can count on is, that as soon as the singing starts, I know he won't be bothering me for a different sippy cup or another book. This is his "me" time. However, the first few times my partner and I heard the singing coming from his room, I legit was like, "Where is that creepy singing coming from? Is that my kid? Who sings to himself in the dark?" Yikes.
When They Ask You If You See Someone That Isn't There
More than a few people believe that young children are in tune with the "spirit world" and have an ability to see and communicate with ghosts and other dimensions. I was skeptical, honestly, until I had my own kids and experienced a few strange happenings myself.
Just the other day, my brother was putting my 3 year old to bed, and they were chatting in my son's room when he asked, "Hey, what's that behind you?" with a worried look on his face. My brother thought it was me, or my husband, but when he looked behind him no one was there. It kept happening every few minutes, and my son was getting increasingly frustrated that my brother didn't know what, or who, was behind him.
When They Show Up In Unexpected Places Around The House
By the age of 3, kids are (praise be) pretty good at entertaining themselves. Gone are the days of having to follow a toddler around, worried they might fall on their heads, or having to wave a shaker in front of a baby to hold their attention. A 3 year old can sit with a toy barn or some Legos and be pretty content for some time.
It's not like I live in a palace, but my apartment has enough nooks and crannies that my 3 year old can surprise me by his presence. If he's been quiet for long enough, and I've been in a different room, when I come into the kitchen and find him quietly munching on veggie straws in his pajamas while sitting in his stroller, it's a little jarring. Also, who knew he could open the pantry and retrieve veggie straws on his own?
When They Scream Demands Over And Over Like They're Possessed
The uptick in vocabulary has a dark side, dear reader, and that is the number of things that your 3 year old can now request from you.
Yesterday, at breakfast, my son randomly decided he could not live without cornflake cereal. Never is his lifetime has he experienced cornflake cereal in our home, so I don't know where this notion came from, but the fact that we did not have it anywhere was unacceptable. From the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m. until we were able to switch his attention to the allure of half a bowl of straight Nutella at 7:30 a.m. (desperate times), he screamed, "Cornflake cereal! Cornflake cereal! Cornflake cereal!" like he was trying to summon some kind of demon spirit.
When They Enjoy Licking Your Your Face
Don't ask me why, but I've seen more than a few 3 year olds to know there is just something about your eyeballs and your nose that seems really inviting to lick. Weirdos.
When They're Not Fooled By Your Fake Happiness
You can try to fake it all you want, but a 3 year old is going to see right through that forced smile. I'll be having a bad day, but trying to hide it so as not to let my mood affect my kids, and inevitably my son will say, "Mommy, why you not happy?" It breaks my heart that he notices, and that he can tell what I am feeling when I don't want him to be able to notice. True, I have a bad poker face, but I really am trying to not let them know that crap is going down in my personal life. Still, my 3-year-old son catches my vibes no matter what.
When They Can Survive On Hardly Any Food
I am in awe of how little my 3-year-old son seems to really need nourishing food some days. If it weren't for some epic, hard-won battles, my son would probably only eat a handful of cereal for breakfast, half a small brownie for lunch, and two bites of mac and cheese for dinner. How is this possible? My BFF's kid is the same, and at a recent pediatrician's appointment, her doctor told her that at this age, their caloric needs are actually pretty low as they aren't growing at the same rate that they used to.
Until I heard that pretty comforting piece of information, however, I was really worried about my son's eating habits, so I was constantly chasing him around with yogurts, bananas, and bagels. I often thought, "I'm starving! It has been hours since we've both eaten. How could he not be hungry! Is he superhuman?"