Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Welcome to the Threenage Years

01/30/2015 at 12:00 PM ET

Celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff is going to be a mama again!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives — as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It TakesDude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 34, most recently played Dani on ABC Family’s The FostersShe will next star in a two-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy, airing Feb. 26 and March 3 on ABC.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.

Sokoloff is expecting their second child in April, a sibling for 2½-year-old daughter Elliotte Anne.

You can find Sokoloff on Twitter and Instagram.

Marla Sokoloff blog pregnant expecting daughter
Justine Ungaro

Hello readers!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying the first month of 2015. My pregnancy is moving along nicely and the countdown to meeting our new family member is getting shorter and shorter! Seems pretty unbelievable that we will be having another person living here in just a few months.

In case you were wondering, I’ve done nothing to prepare for round two of motherhood as of yet. No nursery, no car seat, no diapers, no name … not a single thing that one would do before welcoming a new child into this world.

Of course this ill preparation has nothing to do with my lack of excitement — I truly cannot wait for the baby to get here! My main focus has been prepping Elliotte and making sure she is handling the upcoming life change in the easiest way possible.

I also blame it on lack of coffee and sushi. And really … having a name is overrated. Right?

You guys completely forgot to mention that your stomach doubles in size by the millisecond with your second baby. I mean, I feel like by the end of this, maternity clothes are going to be too small. When people ask me what month I’m in, their eyes look like they are going to fall out of their sockets! I wish I were kidding. My sensitive soul is trying not to let it get to me and I’m doing my best to keep my eye on the prize. (Baby, coffee, sushi. In that order.)

Elliotte’s excitement for the new baby has not waned at all and I cannot wait for her to meet her new baby SISTER! Yep, that’s right, we are having another girl! We are truly so excited to be welcoming another little lady into the mix — we are knee deep in princesses and tea parties over here so I consider myself an expert on the color pink and all that it entails.

Marla Sokoloff blog pregnant expecting daughter
Justine Ungaro

This leads me to my next thought: Apparently the terrible twos aren’t so terrible after all and three is what we should all be scared of. Yes, that’s right, my sweet angel toddler has officially morphed into a threenager.

Unofficial definition: A 3-year-old child who acts as if they are 13.

I wish I had coined this clever phrase (and I wish I could be best friends with the person who did!) because it’s truly fitting. They say the ages of 2-5 mirrors how your child will be as a teenager so consider me afraid.

With a little over a week to go until her third birthday, Elliotte has gotten a running start in the sass department. Some days, she wakes up and she is completely happy with the shape of her pancakes … other mornings, the size of them will send her into a tailspin without warning. Sometimes this will end with her going on a hunger strike, other mornings she will suddenly flip back into her sweet self and start complimenting my fabulous cooking skills.

Don’t ask. I have no clue.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to handle this newfound attitude, but as the days go on, I’m slowly learning some tips on how to keep everyone sane.

For instance, if said 3-year-old wants to change 14 times before leaving for school and ultimately ends up wearing a ripped princess dress, sparkly boots and knotted hair? You simply smile and say, “You look beautiful!” and quickly usher her into the car before she changes her mind.

If there is a parent in the land who thinks I purposefully dressed my child as a homeless princess, they haven’t reached this stage of irrational child yet.

If your threenager puts on a pair of sunglasses and says to you, “I need some privacy, please leave me alone,” you kindly thank them for saying please, slowly back out of their bedroom and let that child be. Asking them to play with you or perhaps enjoy a healthy snack could result in permanent parental termination. Translation: I want a new mommy!

Marla Sokoloff blog pregnant expecting daughter
Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t let my child run the show by any means. I’ve just learned that picking my battles is key. If my daughter is safe in her room and needs to channel her inner threenage angst, so be it.

If your child often tells you to “stop singing” or “no more talking” whilst in the car, congratulations — you are the proud parent of a threenager!

My favorite is when my daughter decides she wants nothing to do with me and wants to be alone with her dad. “Mommy, you stay home. I only want Daddy to take me to the zoo.” Now let’s be honest here, not going to the zoo on a crowded Saturday afternoon — that is hardly a punishment!

In all seriousness, I love the relationship that she has with Alec, and we are so lucky to have a dad and husband like him in our lives. He is adventurous and fun and lets her eat lollipops the size of her head — it’s no wonder why she disinvites me places.

All joking aside, I wouldn’t trade this diva side of Elliotte for anything. She has little personality bits of her mom and dad in her and some of the things that come out of her mouth keep us laughing for days on end. There is no lack of entertainment in this house!

At the end of a long day, I still get bedtime books, kisses and snuggles and that is truly everything. Keeping a sense of humor is key and once the new baby comes I will remind myself of the finite nature of childhood and how quickly it goes by and try to always keep my girls laughing. Even if it’s through their tears.

Are you the parent of a threenager? Or do you know one and have a great story to tell? Leave a comment below or send me a Tweet @marlasok!

Marla Sokoloff blog pregnant expecting daughter
Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

— Marla Sokoloff

P.S. I will be guest-starring on two upcoming episodes of Grey’s Anatomy! Please tune in Feb. 26 and March 3 on ABC to catch them.

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Showing 27 comments

amyinaoaktown on

So cute….love the melt down with the shape of pancakes….

Kathryn on

I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. Love your blog and your daughter is gorgeous! My tiny diva is 6 now and yes, she was a threenager (nice term!). You do learn to pick your battles and I wish I could say she grew out of it but they just get more sassy. They also get sweeter and more fun and precious too! Congratulations on your soon to be baby girl!

Heather on

She is so precious and you look beautiful!! So tell me, what is the term for when you have a teenager that literally acts like a 3 years old?? Then YOU are the horrible parent that refuses to treat her like an adult. Aye. Just wait, lol.

teenaday1 on

Marla, if your child often says things like “stop singing”, “no more talking”, and says that you can”t go to the zoo, it’s a BRAT that you have. Children should not speak to adults that way. It’s very disrespectful. You may think it’s cute and “diva-like” now, but just wait. It won’t be.

Lena on

Sounds like her toddler does run the show. America is great but the French do it right with parenting. Marla needs to read Bringing Up Bebe…

Yes there are terrible twos and threes and you gotta pick your battles and have NO idea what will set them off but I do think discipline is lost on a lot of parents who are like “aww that’s my kid, that’s just the diva she is.” Uh no.

Lena on

And I can assure you no kid of mine tells me to stop talking, no matter what the age.

Jes on

I love the shoes little Elliott has on those are too cute!!

Raini on

Threenager…awesome and true term! I have a 3yr old and a 2yr old and I feel like I’m a perpetual “stage”. As soon as one gets out of one stage the other starts that same stage, it’s a vicious cycle. So far 3 is by far my least favorite stage with the tudes and I’ll have another 3 yr old again soon…yay me! This morning I didn’t cut the waffle the right way, it was in half instead of strips and the melt down was epic. Luckily it wasn’t the morning where I am to magically put the waffle back together b/c I had the audacity to cut it in the 1st place.

Thanks for sharing, it’s always nice to know you’re not alone. 🙂

Stephanie T. on

This article made me feel so much better and yet scared the beejeezes out of me. Ya I have a threenager and he is beyond your sweet diva Marla, if I may call you so, she sounds like quite the angel compared to my Brady. Some days he is so happy and others I swear the world is all wrong the minute he wakes up literally covers over his head won’t get out of bed.

We have constant power struggles, fits of the “I want its” “pleaseee” “want to go back bounce house” etc. I do not let him run the show either, I discipline and if all else fails take away something then ignore.

Most recently he didn’t want to get out of the bath so I turned off the water and took him out. He ran around the house naked and screaming for a good 15 min then finally laying in the drained bathtub making noises and contorting himself like a scene from the exorcist for another 20, then decided to cave and whimper like a puppy and say I’m cold just like that fit over let’s watch Ninja Turtles. But if this is a preview for the teen years I’m in serious trouble! It’s payback for my tumultuous youth ….I’m so sorry I take it all back. 🙂

I loved your article and our kids are so close in age it’s nice to see other parents fighting the good fight. Thank you!

Nycgirl on

I wonder if your little girl will feel differently once she has to split her time with mommy. She might be begging for you to come to the zoo!! I really wasn’t allowed to talk to my parents like that. Or any adult really. But maybe she’ll soften with a little sister to love 🙂

Shawna on

She’s not going to enjoy that little diva attitude when the child is 13 and not listening to a word she says. I will never understand why people encourage their children to be disrespectful. She says she doesn’t let her run the show but then gives an example of the child telling her where she can and can’t go. Good luck in the future…

jlduke55 on

What an adorable family! Can’t wait to hear the name they choose for the new baby girl, I think Elliotte is an adorable name, unique but not too crazy:)

My daughter was very similar at that age, strong willed and opinionated, it can be difficult and frustrating at times but what she said about choosing your battles is spot on. I can see where some of the comments are headed and that makes me sad, there’s a huge difference in letting your child walk all over you vs. allowing them be who they are while also teaching manners. All 3 year olds test their boundaries and get attitude sometimes, it’s part of how they learn!

Jen on

I think my girl, now 8, skipped the threenager stage. I’d get her from the sitters house and we’d just hang out in her play room and play dress up, school, whatever popped into her little head. The only time she’d fuss at me is if I tried to be sneaky and take a video of her fussing at her babies and putting them in time out. She would get so embarrassed and start playing more quietly so that I couldn’t hear her. I can’t even begin to describe how much I miss the sweet child that would want to wear her princess costume and walk to the park. I miss swinging on the swings and singing “I Know You” from Sleeping Beauty at the top of our lungs. Now that she’s 8, she’s pretty much over the princess costumes and she can be heard singing Taylor Swift.

I’m 4 months pregnant and she is so excited to be a big sister. She has been asking for a baby since she was able to talk. I am bringing her to my ultrasound in 2 weeks to find out the sex and we’re letting her call the family to tell them. I’ve been asked several times to bring the baby to lunch at school so she can show her friends her new baby. I also have nothing at all prepared for the new one. I have picked out a bedding set for a girl but that’s all. I blame pure laziness and awful 1st trimester morning sickness.

Rachie on

Thanks for the heads-up about the “threenager” stage. My 16mo girl is already, shall we say, spirited so I’m sure 3 will be a crazy age for her! Ayayayayay;)

sasha on

wow, i never comment on these things but that is a BEAUTIFUL little girl

Nycgirl on

I think you can grow, and learn, and experiment, and create and be full of joy…without being disrespectful to others. I read a fantastic article on this subject and it described disrespect as an inappropriate way children try to solve their problems. To quote it, it said “Kids can feel powerless in the face of rules and expectations, and talking back and showing disrespect is one way they try to take some power back”. My favorite quote from the article was “You can’t demand respect, but you can require that your child acts respectfully, no matter how they feel about the situation.” In the long run you are giving them the gift of kindness. Being the kind of teenager and adult that other people can respect. And teaching them not to tolerate others disrespecting them.

Katherine on

To all the Mom’s dissing Marla’s parenting skills and acting like the perfect parent themselves, let me remind you there is no such thing as a perfect Mommy! Quit judging other Mom’s and get a life!

MP on

Love to read Marla’s blog, she is a hands on and very involved parent. Good job.

3 Year Olds Are ROUGH! on

Marla, I feel you! When my oldest(now 7 1/2)was born I was warned by my husband’s aunt(a mother of 3 boys)”the saying terrible 2’s is a lie. 3, 3 is when the real terror starts!” My oldest was the sweetest most well behaved little fella….until the month before he turned 3. It was like a switch went off. He became defiant, belligerent, threw tantrums ALL the time. What had happened to my boy?!?! I had to give him the benefit of the doubt, I was pregnant. My youngest(4 years old)was different than his brother. He was always more…difficult. And 3? Full fledged beast! We’re hoping 4 brings the changes that came for his brother. I’ll wish us both luck!

Erin on

first off i am soooooo excited you’ll be on greys!!!! i haved loved you since full house and now ur on my second fav show!!! ( full house being my first fav!!) I have had a threenager for a yr almost and I thought it was just me!!! He is sassy and comes up with sass that is on the brink of smart mouthing if it werent for the fact that mommy n daddy have a sense of humour!!! I love u your daughter and i’m looking forward to your next!!! I NEVER write on here but the threenager thing spoke to me BIG TIME!!!!

Monica on

Oh Honey, If you think 3 is bad, just wait until 4. 3’s may be threenagers, but 4’s are the F-ing fours. My little one just turned 5 and I can’t wait to leave the 4’s behind!! Good luck!! Prayer and a lot of wine will get you through it.

Frankie on

I truly laugh at the comments saying “no child will ever tell me to stop talking” and the other one that calls the little girl a brat! I’ve also read “Bringing up Bebe”. You don’t need to look to France to find good parenting (although their childcare system is nice). The best parents are honest ones. If any parent claims to have a child that never talks back or explores the disrespect territory, they are flat out not telling the truth!

Gina on

As a mom of a threenager, thank you Marla for this blog. I found so many similarities in our little girls’ behaviours and I know my child is neither spoiled nor a brat and I’m sure neither is yours! Best wishes for baby #2! @jlduke55 & frankie :
The most sensible and helpful comments so far.Thank you also!

Juli on

Congrats on having another baby girl! I laughed so much at your stories with little miss Elliotte (she looks just like you, by the way). I honestly can’t wait for my boys to hit the threenage years (we’re making our way there, they’re 2 now).

Anne on

I smiled when I read this. My spirited 3 year old tells me to stop signing all the time! One day she loves M&Ms in her pancakes and the next day she cries because she has them in her pancakes. Mercurial is the word I would use to describe her! I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love Marla’s blog and I love how she is open and honest!

Moodge on

I have a 3 year old little girl as well and yes, threenager is the perfect word to describe her! There is sass and attitude there at times and then the sweetest cuddles and kisses at others. I have learned to choose my battles as well! That said, I know my daughter is disciplined and doesn’t run the show. I adore these times with my children and watching their personalities come out! You sound like a wonderful mother, Marla, and you have a beautiful family! Keep doing what you are doing and best of luck with number two. Thanks for opening up, I know I relate every time!

Krystal on

I’m pretty sure Marla reads these comments for opinions and suggestions. Snapping at her about her parenting skills isn’t really useful. How about sharing your actual experiences and advice in a less snappy way, since you’re all perfect parents and all of your children are angels. Just a thought 🙂