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Little Tyrants: All the Terrible Phases From Birth to Age 7

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If parenting were a horror movie—and let's face it, sometimes it is—then the villain would be the terrible twos. Everybody watching knows the that movie bad guy will wreak havoc on the characters in the movie, just like every parent knows to beware the 2-year-old.

But when you have a 3-year-old, you realize there's a new villain in town and her name is Threenager. Suddenly that 2-year-old throwing a tantrum doesn't seem so terrible compared to that 3-year-old who can go totally "Real Housewives"-level dramatic within seconds of saying, "Mommy, you're my first best friend."

See, the thing about the terrible twos is they're not so terrible when compared to the other awful phases parents will endure with their children. Child development experts will say our young children's hard phases are all part of their development, but those phases could cause most sane mothers to call a glass of wine her first best friend.

Well, hang on to those glasses, because here are all the other tyrant stages our little ones will go through. Check out what you have to look forward to:

RELATED: Why the Twos Are Terrific, Not Terrible

The 'Is This All You Do?' First Six Months

You'll love bonding with your infant for hours on end while she cuddles in your arms for the first six months of her life, but eventually you'll notice that's all she does. You'll chastise your husband for saying, "Babies don't do much"—even though you'll think the same thing yourself. Don't worry, as soon as that baby starts crawling, you'll miss those months when she did nothing but nothing.

The Wounded Walking Ones

When a baby starts walking, game on. Just because a child can walk doesn't mean he's good at it. But your little walker won't be the only one in the house who's feeling a little worse for wear from practicing walking. You'll need a chiropractor and a deep tissue massage from the hours spent hunched over trying to keep that little guy from walking into yet another inanimate object.

Terror-Alert Twos

Anything can happen with a terror-alert two in the house. Well, anything but quiet, that is.

Forget the terrible twos! Two-year-olds are little terrors who thrive on destroying things, touching things, eating things, peeing on things, climbing on things and jumping off of anything possible. Once you have a 2-year-old in the house, your home's terror threat level is permanently on high. Anything can happen with a terror-alert two in the house. Well, anything but quiet, that is.


Three-year-old toddlers are like little teenagers minus the braces. They have all the attitude and eye-rolling of a teen, minus the moments when teens remember to be nice. The most loving thing your threenager will say to you is, "Mommy, you have a big tummy." This will be much better than her usual comment to you: "You're the worst Mommy ever!"

The 'Eff You' Fours

Four-year-olds see the world through 'eff you!'-colored lenses and they're always looking for ways to tell you that you're wrong, don't know what you're talking about, or how they'd be better off living in another family. This is particularly deceptive because 4-year-olds are absolutely adorable … when they're sleeping. Don't be fooled, 4-year-olds are brutal. Trust me, I have one.

The Fantastic Fives

On your child's 5th birthday, you'll hear harps play and everything will seem to move in slow motion. That's because, for the first time in your parenting career, your child is a real human being. Gone are the diapers, cribs and car seats that are more difficult to unlock than Fort Knox. In their place will be a small, but lovely human being who doesn't pee his pants or throw a temper tantrum every time he enters the local Target. Enjoy age five while it lasts. Six is coming.

The Sassy Sixes

Just when you got used to your fantastic 5-year-old, she had a birthday and opened up a gift box filled with sass.

Six-year-olds are the Google of young children, or so they think. That's because 6-year-olds are experts in everything. And just when you got used to your fantastic 5-year-old, she had a birthday and opened up a gift box filled with sass. So get ready for car rides filled with, "Mommy, you're wrong!" and "Mommy, you don't know anything about fairies." One thing you will know a lot about is sass, because your 6-year-old will deliver it each and every day.

RELATED: 10 People Who Will Always Wake Your Kid Up From a Nap

The 7 Going on 30s

Three words: Drop-off playdate! Boo-ya! You made it. Your 7-year-old will have sleepovers and drop-off birthday parties, and will start to see his friends as his primary entertainment rather than you. This will seem amazingly liberating for the first 27 seconds until you realize your 7-year-old is growing up. And in a few short years—just 23 to be exact—he'll be 30. That'll feel like it's almost tomorrow. Suddenly, those days of having a "Is This All You Do?" 3-month-old will seem like paradise.

Sigh. Time to get a dog!

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