As the mother of a 2-year old boy, I often find myself thinking about the “Terrible Two’s.”
Are the “Terrible Two’s” a real developmental milestone or simply a catch-all that parents use to describe their misbehaving toddler’s behavior? How do moms deal with their 2-year olds without losing their cool?
Terrible Two Examples (Courtesy of My Son)
Shoes (or lack thereof)
My son is constantly taking his shoes and socks off. It never fails; the moment I get him strapped into his car seat and start driving, he kicks his shoes off. As if loading and unloading a 1-year old and 2-year old is not difficult enough, now I have to stop everything and put my son’s shoes back on every time we arrive at our destination.
Eating and Drinking Pickiness
My son used to eat just about anything you put in front of him. Not anymore.
He will drag the kitchen chair to the pantry door, open it up, and then grab the food he wants. I let him eat Spaghettios for breakfast once because he threw a huge tantrum and I wasn’t in the mood to fight him. Most of the time, he wants fruit snacks or Cheetos. He has the same problem with drinks. When I give him milk, he throws a fit because he wants juice instead.
Shaking his Head “No”
One of my son’s favorite things to do is shake his head “no” whenever I ask him something. “Will you get in the stroller so we can go on a walk?” No. “Lay down so I can change (your) diaper?” No. “Stop moving the kitchen chairs around and climbing on the kitchen counters?” You guessed it. No.
Running Away from Mama
This one is both annoying and dangerous. It’s not unusual for me to have to chase my son around the house when I need to get him dressed or change his diaper. But when we are outside and he runs away, it becomes dangerous. When I try to load him into the car, he oftentimes runs around the driveway or front yard. A few times he has darted towards the street, which is a big no-no.
Picking on His Little Sister
It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between sibling rivalry and terrible two behavior. Taking toys away from his sister, refusing to share, knocking little sis down, the list goes on. My 1-year old daughter and 2-year old son sit in car seats beside each other in the car. When little sister starts crying, I’ll look back and see that my son is grabbing his sister’s arm. This results in me losing my cool and yelling at my son to “let go of your sister!” When that doesn’t work, I turn into one mad mom trying to knock my son’s hands away from little sis while simultaneously keeping my eyes on the road.
Potty Training Pains
My son has a potty chair that he has started using for potty training purposes. He is not potty-trained by any means, but he will sit on his potty and pee when he feels like it. The problem is, he always demands to use his potty when I am trying to get everyone out the door and don’t have time to let him piddle around on his potty.
A typical potty chair experience goes something like this:
My son demands I let him use his potty right after I’ve changed him into a clean diaper. Ok, fine. We go into the bathroom and I help him get his pants and diaper off. He sits on his potty and tinkles. Then he stands up, opens the main toilet lid, and dumps his potty into the big toilet. I ask if he’s done and he shakes his head “no.” So he sits back on the potty chair again and tinkles once more. Then he repeats the dumping process into the big toilet. I ask again, “is he done?” Of course not. For a third time, he tinkles in his potty and then dumps it in the big toilet. In exasperation, I turn the light off in the bathroom, shut the door, and take my son out of the bathroom so I can put his diaper and pants back on.
I thought having two in diapers was bad, but it’s a breeze compared to having one in diapers and one potty-training.
Tips to Deal with your “Terrible” 2-Year Old
What every toddler mom needs is patience. When your child is driving you up the wall, (which will happen), take a deep breath and gather up as much patience as you can muster. Whether my son is taking his shoes off for the 10th time today or taking forever to potty, I’m always trying to be more patient with him before I end up reaching my breaking point.
It helps to understand that this is your child’s way of asserting his independence, and it is a normal part of the developmental process.
What does your child like to do? My son likes to color, so when he’s doing everything he shouldn’t, I know I can distract him from bad behavior by bringing out his coloring book and crayons.
Give Yourself a Break
When you are the parent of a child going through the “Terrible Two” phase, it can be exhausting. Sometimes, the best thing for mom and dad to do is to take a break.
Taking the kids to Grandma’s for a few hours, dropping the kids off at the gym daycare so you can blow off steam and get a workout in at the same time, letting dad take over when he gets home from work after a particularly trying day at home, whatever you do: don’t feel guilty about taking a break to recharge and refocus when you need one.
The “Terrible Two” phase is only temporary. Navigating the rough waters of your toddler’s moods can be difficult, but eventually the seas will calm. (Although I’ve heard that the “Threenager” phase is just as bad, if not worse than, the Terrible Two’s.)
Do you have any advice for surviving the Terrible Two’s?