So far as I can, tell the main difference between two year olds and three year olds is that three year olds talk more.
A lot more.
Let’s say you were driving in a car with a two year old and she demanded water but there wasn’t any. You would tell her that there was no water and then there would be a high probability that pouting and screaming would follow. It would be loud, dramatic, completely unreasonable and involve lots of foot flailing on the two year olds part and teeth gritting on the mother’s part and then it would be done.
That’s the two year old way.
However, if you were driving in a car with a three year old and she demanded water but there wasn’t any, it might go something like this…
Jane: “I’m thirsty.”
Me: “Sorry, I don’t have any water.”
Jane: “Can I have some water please.”
Me: “No Jane, I don’t have any water.”
Jane: “PLEASE, can I have some water.”
Me: “Jane. I don’t have anything to drink in the car or I would give you some but I don’t have anything.”
Jane: “Mom, I’m thirsty!”
Me: “I know.”
Jane: “Can I have some Diet Coke.”
Me: “I don’t even have any Diet Coke. I don’t have anything to drink. See?” (As I hand back all available empty liquid containers so she can see for herself.)
Jane: “BUT MOM! PLEASE CAN I HAVE A DRINK!?”
Me: “When we get home you can have some, sure.”
Jane: (crying) “Please can I have some water.”
Me: “As soon as we get home.”
Jane: “Mom? Can we go to the gas station?”
Me: “Well there aren’t any gas stations here and anyways I forgot my wallet so I don’t have any money with me to buy anything to drink.”
Jane: “Please can we go to the gas station?”
Me: “All there is between here and home is cornfields and I don’t have any money to buy anything. So, we’ll get water at home.”
Jane: “I’m THIRSTY!!!”
Jane: “Please can I have water.”
Jane: “MOM! I NEED WATER!!!!!”
Me: “Seriously, I have nothing! I can’t get anything, we’ll be home soon, you just have to wait!”
Thirty minutes of this continual and terrible conversation later you’d be twenty minutes past the point where your sanity chose to jump into a snowy ditch and abandon you but you’d be home, getting the kid an *&#% drink of water.
That’s the three year old way.
And they call it the terrible twos…