Everyone talks about the “terrible twos” as if they’re the worst thing going until your kid becomes a teenager. This is a bald-faced lie. Yes, 2-year olds suck. But threenagers are possessed by Satan. You might think little 2-year old Jimmy’s bad with his tantrums and his just-learned-the-word-no’s. But he has nothing on 3-year old Damien.

Which, by the way, is the name of every three-year-old, because at their third birthday, every child turns into the kid from The Omen.

1. Your Terrible Two dumps things. Threenagers destroy them.

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When my son was two, I thought I might develop some kind of stress syndrome from the sound of Duplos clattering onto the hardwood floors. He’d sit and just pull books off the shelf for ten minutes, then stand up and saunter away from the pile. But now that he’s three, he’s Drax the Destroyer. He takes apart his brothers’ Lego creations just because he can. He decorated my entire hallway with enormous hieroglyphs of his own making — in Sharpie. Now we have to explain to guests that Sunny was “in an artistic phase.” He dismantles all the things, then hides the pieces. And I thought re-shelving books was bad.

2. Two year olds are strong. Your Threenager is The Hulk.

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In the midst of a tantrum, that is. You could scoop up your 2-year old, toss him over your shoulder, and hustle his kicking ass out of Target quickly, neatly, and efficiently. You even got it down to a science: scoop, toss, hustle, ignore the screams in your ear. But threenagers are bigger. Threenagers are stronger. And your threenager has no more self-control than he did when he was two. So now he can plant himself and howl, and you have to struggle, and manhandle, and drag and cajole and possibly get kicked in the face. You can’t manage to toss him over your shoulder anymore; you always end up wrangling him into a kind of football carry that leaves him free to pummel you front and back while he screams and old ladies judge you as clearly a bad, bad, bad parent.

3. A Threenager is secretive.

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Your sweet little 2-year old made all his annoying mischief out in the open. Your threenager? Not so much. He’s old enough to ghost into another room and once there, destroy everything you love. This is how my kid Picasso’d our hallway. While you aren’t looking, he will steal your phone in an attempt to watch Dino Trux, mess it up irrevocably, then weep because there are no Dino Trux. You will weep because you can’t access the internet and your ring tone has changed to “You Sexy Thing.” He will steal candy with no moral compunction whatsoever. Or, like my husband did when he was three, he will sneak away from his cousins and wander two miles away, where he will be found eating cigarette butts.