My 3-year-old is trying to kill me.

The 5 a.m wake ups.
The epic temper tantrums.
The refusal to use words and just whinge at me.
The flailing about when she is told ‘no’.
Telling me ‘no’.

(Tanget: The new rule in the house is that the girls are not allowed to say “no” to their father or me. If it’s something that is optional (i.e. a second helping of peas), they may say, “No thank you.” Last night I told Kate to stop crawling under her bed — where I knew she was going to poop in her pull-up — and to get on the potty. “No,” she said. “You’re not allowed to say no to me,” I reminded her. “No sank you,” she replied.)

Telling me no LOUDLY.
Yelling or screaming at me at all.

Oh, and the potty training thing.

Kate is done with diapers. She just doesn’t know it. She has horrible rashes from pooping four or five times in a short time (like, an hour) and needing to be cleaned up over and over again. That fifth clean up is an epic struggle akin to the gladiators fighting the lions. (Am I mixing my metaphors? Yes? Well, see point one above.)

The separation anxiety! Oh my hells. I thought children were done with separation anxiety at this age. Honestly, Kate has asked me to not go to work three out of four mornings this week alone. Which, while kind of adorable, is a little stressful when my gentle refusal to quit my job on the spot escalates to screaming and barnacle-type clinging as I am struggling to walk out the door with my mammoth purse, a packed lunch, and a traveler’s mug of hot coffee. At 7 a.m.

(The fifth morning this week she was still asleep when I got out of the house. However that was the same morning that Flora wanted me to sit with her and watch her eat her breakfast. One.Cheerio.at.a.time.)

Telling me I am a bad mommy.

That one hurts. A lot. Because, as many a parent knows, that is our deepest, darkest fear. That we are a bad mommy, and not in the cool way, but in the way that means that we are damaging our children, by time outs or yelling or supplementing with formula (or not any of those things), by staying at home or by working, by sending them to public or private school. The worst charge that can be leveled by society, at us: You are a bad mommy.

Which Kate tells me when she doesn’t get her way. When I tell her no she cannot have another piece of chocolate, or another 1/2 hour of television, or that it is time for her bath right now, or she has to sit on the potty. Or when I lose my temper and yell.

“You’re a bad mommy.” Arms crossed, lower lip pooched out.

And I know that I am not a bad mommy (although, yes, sometimes in the cool way), but oh my goodness I am tired of fighting with her.

Only 342 days until she turns 4.