We recently celebrated my son’s second birthday. It literally feels like it was just yesterday that I began to feel contractions and was brought into the hospital, and look at my little guy now. Two years later and testing every last bit of patience I have.
I bet you all thought I’d say something sweet. Don’t get me wrong. That little guy is truly my world. I wake up in the mornings excited to see his smiling face. I can’t wait to cuddle and hold him in my arms. I am such a proud mama listening to him mumble his ABC’s and 123’s. But then moments later, I’m counting down the hours to bedtime. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve repeated myself to him or how many times he became frustrated when he didn’t get his way.
It’s called the Terrible Twos for a reason.
He’s in that exciting toddler stage where he’s establishing his independence, learning new words, and figuring out what he can and can’t do. He’s learning that there are rules in our household and understanding this complicated thing called emotions. It’s truly an important stage that shapes his development, and truthfully just as frustrating for him as it is for me.
I always thought that once I entered this phase I had to find my “mommy voice”, stand firm, and let him know who’s really boss. I thought temper tantrums wouldn’t happen in my home, and that I wouldn’t let his crocodile tears get to me. But boy oh boy how wrong I was.
My son started having his toddler tantrums well before he turned two. The crankiness. The wanting to do things on his own while also wanting to cling onto me. The wanting to be angry because he can’t play with his favorite toy, or becoming angry because I gave him the blue cup instead of the red.
As a parent, I’m frustrated that my little guy doesn’t understand that if he takes a nap he won’t be cranky anymore. Like seriously kid…just go to sleep. You’ll love it! Or that he gets upset when he can’t play with his favorite toy right now because we have to get dressed to run an errand. Or that he gets upset because I gave him the blue cup instead of the red one because the red one is dirty. But for him, he doesn’t comprehend that. He’s thinking why can’t I choose if I should take a nap or not? Why can’t I just stay home and play with my toy? Why can’t you (me) just wash the red cup and all will be well?
Some things I’ve learned
I try reading up on different tips and advice on the best way to get through the Terrible Twos. But nothing quite prepares you for it until you’re going through it. Although each child is different and responds to this phase in their own way, this is what I’ve learned about my son during the Terrible Twos:
- My patience will be tested. Little one may be young, but he is very smart. He understands that when he does one thing it results in another. It can be difficult allowing his cries to fade out until he calms down. It may seem simpler to just give him what he wants, but there’s a lesson he must learn to it all.
- I have to remember that there is a communication barrier between me and my little one. He is limited between gaga balala boo bop cup please, and me trying to explain whatever it is I’m explaining. Learning to break things down into a way that he can comprehend has its challenges, but I have to understand that he may be frustrated because he won’t be able to understand.
- It’s OK to be frustrated. The difficult part is not allowing that frustration to show to my little one. This isn’t the moment to win the trophy for power or who’s in charge, but to teach my little guy that despite his limitations, mommy still loves him. Children can sense when something is off and in turn, it just makes them act out even more.
The Terrible Twos are more than just bad behavior or acting out. It’s understanding your little one, what makes them tick, and the best way to help them work through those triggers. I’m still a rookie to this so by no means am I a master. I just wish I understood it earlier on that the Terrible Twos are far more than terrible. It’s building and developing.