Bring on the threes!

It's probably a most unwise temptation of fate, but can I just get a high-five for surviving the "Terrible Twos"?

Sure, I wasn't always graceful about it. I might have muttered some four-letter words in my daughter's general direction a time or two or 10. But I never -- not once! -- gave into my near-daily fantasy of going outside to get the paper, picking it up, tucking it under my arm and continuing to walk right down the street and all the way to Tahiti. Each morning, instead, I fetched the paper, turned right around (OK, FINE. Maybe I hesitated every now and then, at least long enough to heave a sigh or two), and came back inside to face my fate.

Is there a medal for that? Or at least a free margarita somewhere?

Today, Nora crosses over into the, what, Thrilling Threes? Oh, you can think of some other word? I know. I've been listening when well-meaning but really rather tactless friends have said, amid my complaints about two-year-old behavior, "Oh, just wait 'til three!" or "It gets way worse." I realize the road in no way smooths out from here.

But so much changed in year two, and so many of those changes were for the better, that I can't help but be optimistic. The diapers, even though she's still in them, are less frequent and less gnarly (usually). She's now in a big-girl bed, which tells me she can handle transition OK. She started preschool and, after a bumpy beginning, now loves every single minute of it and is learning about her letters and the world at a staggering rate. Her language skills have developed so much that she can now tell me in great detail (great, GREAT detail) what she wants and what's bothering her. She can also have a conversation with me -- about books, about the zoo, about "Dora the Explorer," whatever. It's pretty great to be able to eat dinner with your daughter and just talk about your day. Moments like that really go far to counteract all that was terrible about the twos.

So bring on the threes, whether they be thrilling or thoughtful, theatrical or thankless. Times may well get tough, but hey, I'm just happy to be here. Even if sometimes I wish I were in Tahiti instead.