I honestly didn’t get what all the fuss was about “the terrible twos” when Maya turned two.
I’d laugh when friends and family would warn me with the knowing smile, “You just wait …”
Not because I thought our kid was so great (I mean, don’t we all think that?!), but because two came and we were left looking at each other wondering, “What’s the big deal!? She’s not a terror!”
Quiet, soft-spoken, easy-going and inquisitive, she was sweet (most of the time) and snuggly and generally “easy” … she slept great, ate everything we offered, and was a calm toddler. She wasn’t perfecct — but she was everything the parenting books say to be grateful for … and everything they say indicates kid #1 was your trick baby. (Trick baby definition, for those in the dark about this phenomenon).
They were so, so right. About all of it.
For most of two, she was a joy. Then about a month from my due date with Ben– when she was three months shy of three — something snapped and our sweet little girl became a full-on, sassy lil “threenager.” And there’s been no looking back, except in photos.
But two … two was not so tough for us.
Fast-forward to Ben. I don’t know if it’s because because he’s our second kiddo or because he has a very outspoken big sister to compete with for attention … or maybe a combo of those. All I know is, the moment he turned two (on October 3) he changed. And now we’re experiencing what everyone warned us about: the terrible twos.
Let’s be honest. Toddlers are irrational (and adorable) little beings. They need to push buttons and test limits to learn — and, to their parents’ chagrin, they are experts at both. And we’re fully immersed in the terrible twos.
It started with the typical toddler response to everything we’d ask (“NO! I don’t WANT to!”) … and then he graduated to the “I do it MYSELF” phase for every.single.thing. All day, every day. Then it escalated to playfulness-bordering-naughtiness: the snatching of his sister’s things and teasing her, or making a mess in her room (as depicted in this Instagram pic I posted that Real Simple’s Women in Real Life picked up).
It’s the refusing to eat/put shoes on/LISTEN. The whining and the “UPPY!” demands. And now it’s the tantrums: the full-on, red-faced, fists pounding the ground, back-arching kind of tantrums for no legitimate reason that it’s so hard to not burst into laughter watching him.
I try to remember he won’t be this small (and adorable) forever. I first try to hug it out, to soothe him … but toddlers are irrational and it doesn’t always work. He’ll scream because he wanted to take his own socks off, then get mad/frustrated that he can’t do it himself, then get mad at me because I offer to help, only to have him scream because I did help.
OY. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
It can be so frustrating. He’ll go from a wild little Tasmanian devil tossing foam blocks in the air to melting my heart when he pulls me by the hand to show me something he colored or throws his arms around me and says, “I love you Mommy. I listenin’ to you. Am I bein-hayve Mommy?” (“behaving” in Benny-speak). All he has to do is flash his double dimpled smile at me and I’m putty in his chubby little hands.
Two can be a real challenge … but it’s also really fun/funny.
- Last night I was rocking him and thought he was sound asleep, but all of a sudden he pokes his head up from my shoulder and whispers, “Mommy, we had pickles and cheese at snack today.” I cracked up and promptly put him in his bed.
- Tonight at dinner he was on a birthday kick and in storytelling mode. “Remember my happy birthday last year?” (everything is “last year” to him). “Brayden come to my house.” (Brayden is his best friend at school). “And a big firetruck came. And Andre and Kevin.” (the firemen). “We had a pinata. There was candy and lollipops and stickers. When’s it gonna be my birthday again?”
- He’s getting to be quite the little stinker. Maya was mad this morning because I had bought Ben a new tube of toothpaste … but hadn’t bought her a new tube, as well. (He still uses toddler toothpaste, so they can’t share yet–and hers was still full!). So while she moaned about not getting a new toothpaste, he spent the morning talking about his new toothpaste with Elmo on it and how he was planning to bring it to school. (NO). The more he talked, the more upset she got. He was totally rubbing it in her face, and it took every ounce of restraint in me not to laugh at his antics.
Yup. For the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with two … it’s one of the sweetest stages of childhood: that precious stage in between baby and little kid. It’s a trying time for us parents but it’s a fact of life. And though we didn’t really get the full experience with Maya til she was closer to three, we’re in the throes now with Ben and I wouldn’t change it for anything.