Sweet Sassy Molassy

Oh! That’s a great age! They’re so much fun!

That’s the majority of responses I get when I say I have a three-year-old.

My reaction is usually Does it get worse?

I like to think that aside from a five-year stretch from 12-17, that having a kid only gets better as they get older. You can travel together to far-reaching lands, make it through an entire PG-13 movie, explore new cuisines, share a bottle of wine, and so on. I’m under the impression that this parenting thing does, indeed, get more fun as you and your child share more common interests.

Right now, our common interests are ice cream and driving my wife crazy.

Overall, yes, my kid is pretty cool. In fact, our friends tell us so. She’s a little nuts, but what do you expect from someone who has me as a dad?

But, as she experiences more of life – and spends more time with older peers at daycare – she is developing an attitude like you’d expect from Nene Leakes.


We have become quite familiar with arm-crossing, back-talk and the ever-popular “I don’t want to!” with multiple emphasis on the final two syllables. She’ll throw in a foot stomp or a primordial scream here and there just to keep us honest.

Then there’s always the non-listening and the pouty face. Yep, my three-year-old wannabe reality TV star.

Admittedly, I’m the worst at reacting to it. I want to sass right back to her and tell her I can get hood real quick. I guess that’s the benefit of the San Fernando Valley, Palmdale, Riverside and Vallejo on my personal ledger.

Sometimes, when your kid is being an A-hole, you want to be an A-hole back to them. It’s like Who can be the bigger A-hole contest? Or, who can out A-hole each other? (Yes, I often wonder if I am sometimes the most mature parent.)

So this may be my reaction …


Instead I just put her in a timeout and think of the SNL clip of “Sweet Sassy Molassy.” It usually shapes her up for the larger portion of the day and then we’re good. We can go back to ripping gas and laughing – another benefit of a three-year-old: all farts are funny.

What is bothersome, though, is that the attitude travels. My daughter has sassed back to both of her grandmas, which ticks me off. All grandmas do is love – especially these two. Talk about spoiling a kid, whew … we’ve got it lucky with how much they love Ella and how they treat her.

When do the threenager years stop? Or do they just evolve to more eye-rolling, permanent arm-crossing, more feet stomping and talking back?

I can’t remember my sister acting this way at a young age. She waited until her 20s.

It’s got to end, right?

Thing is, my kiddo is overly good enough to get her way a lot of the time. We do the parenting thing where we take a doll away, or put her in a timeout, or hold her head underwater like in Guantanamo Bay revoke promised treats and ice cream … things that matter to a three-year-old. One of these days, we’ll hit a larger nerve and something will stick. And, by one of these days, it will probably be when she’s nine and has the iPhone 17 and is texting some boy named Chazz or something. Then we may have the breakthrough.

Until then, I’ll just keep entertaining myself with the stupid nicknames I call her in my head.

Sweet Sassy Molassy.





Sass-partame … the sugar substitute.

And then remind myself, when my three-year-old Nene rears her ugly head …


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