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How to Survive the Terrible Twos

27 May 2014

Our sweet little Man Cub has been really growing into his will lately, and really putting some new finesse into his temper tantrums. My favorite is when he throws his arms in the air and drops to his knees before wailing afresh and collapsing onto his face. I like to stand right in front of him and insist he not worship me when he does it.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 2.43.46 PMHe’s nearing 18-months, but he gets this gleam in his eye sometimes that makes me realize the “terrible twos” are right around the corner. So I appealed to mamas on Instagram recently, and have been getting a flood of wisdom about the “twos.”

First up are Bessie and Amanda. Bessie is the mother of a 2, 4, 6, and 9-year-old – all of whom are featured on her gorgeous IG feed at @bess8355. If you like chunky babies, cute toddlers and lovely home interiors, you will want to follow her.

Amanda’s littles are 5 months, 2-1/2 years (times two – they’re twins!), and 7. She’s on IG as @mandybarnes3 if you like looking at round baby heads and adorable children, sprinkled with inspiring quotes that always seem to show up in my feed just when I need them. She’s also @mandy3663 on Twitter.

Give it to me straight – How terrible are the “twos”?

Yes, the twos are terrible. It’s frustrating for you and them. They are like drunk little foreigners, one minute stumbling about singing to themselves – the next minute crying so hard they puke because you hand them the blue cup. That they asked for.

They come in varying degrees of difficulty though- we’ve had a melancholy two year old, thinking we were in the clear, only to realize that they picked age three to monopolize all our outings and interactions. And on the other side of the pendulum, we’ve had a two year old that acts like a chimp with dementia addicted to steroids, and then magically they transformed into a blissful preschooler.

I personally think three is generally harder. When two-year-olds are upset it’s usually out of frustration or misunderstanding because they don’t speak the language. But when an articulate three or four-year-old is having a meltdown because you can’t make the grass purple, it’s just a little more disheartening. 

So giving it to you strait, I think every child is different! LOL

My oldest: he was perfect all the way up till literally the day of his third birthday! He changed overnight, I swear! My sweet, cuddly baby boy turned into a back-talking, brat with an attitude of a teenager! I was shocked because this was my first rodeo! I did everything by the book, but this boy had a mind of his own, and boy did he give me a run for my money!

Now the twins are in the midst of their twos and its funny to see two kids raised the same, but with COMPLETELY different attitudes! My boy, Jack, is sweet as can be, but if you tell him its bed time or nap times he goes into “I’m Heman” mode – pound my fist on my chest. My girl, Kash – oh Lord bless her heart. She is a mess. If she doesn’t get her way, she is stealthy and quiet, but will push her brother and walk away. She’s determined, and will get her way even if it means crawling out of her crib to get a glass of water in the middle of the night!

Over all they are really good kids. We have our moments, but I try to just laugh at them and make it a fun memory!

Do you have a terrifying story about your little as a two-year-old?

My oldest loved to put everything in his mouth, and he was the only child so he would get bored. And a bored two-year-old is never good. He put a liquid air freshener in his mouth and tried to suck the liquid out. That was the scariest and smelliest uuhhhhooo I ever had! Of course, I ran him to the emergency room and thought that everything that could go wrong would, but thankfully we got sent home with an overwhelming sent of Hawaiian breeze! Ha! Still to this day I can’t stand that smell!

As a veteran, what’s your best piece of advice to someone with their first two-year-old? What do you wish someone had told you?

It’s easy to succumb to the idea that the older they get, the easier it will be to reason with them. But really, it just gets complicated and hard in a different way.

And it’s also easy to judge your parenting skills based on the behavior of your children. (Lord knows that’s how the curmudgeonly elderly woman standing behind you at the grocery store judges your “skills.”) Sure, at some point your kids’ behavior will reflect how you have handled them, but for toddlers you get a free pass. They are like a different species – tyrannical and all emotions one minute, and chubby belly-giggling the next.

Even though I’ve just about had it with the tantrums and crying (we are just beginning the throes of toddlerhood once again) I also just can’t imagine life without chubby toddler butts, and the big unconditional love of a kid who is only 26-inches tall.

Photo MandyAmanda:
My advice is to just take a deep breath and enjoy it! Honestly, if you try to pigeon-hole your child, it’s going to backfire on you, and that little “devil” will make your life H-E-double-hockey sticks. Haha! Sure, use a tone when they are doing something that can hurt them. I’m a firm believer, though, that if my kids hurts themselves, they will learn from their mistakes quicker them me telling them, “No” a million times!

Two is a fun year: they start communicating, they get their own personality, and you can almost go out of the house with out a HUGE diaper bag. Let them be little! Make memories for that memory bank when they get too big and don’t want anything to do with you. 😉 Enjoy them momma! XO

Your Turn

Anyone else? Tips for those of us entering the “twos” for the first time? Leave them here! More of these fun interviews are on their way – stay tuned!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. cyndap permalink
    27 May 2014 8:16 AM

    I learned very early not to ask my daughter a question that could be answered with “yes” or “no” because the answer was always “no” followed by a melt down because she really wanted to say “yes” EX. “Do you want ice cream?” “NO!!!” And then, when everyone had ice cream but her, she would explode. I began to ask either/or questions: “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?” Sometimes she wouldn’t answer me immediately, but most of the time she did. I think she liked having some input into the decision. It took a long time before she realized that she could answer “The green shirt.” (which wasn’t a choice because it had ice cream down the front of it)

    Good luck, but do try to enjoy the phase because it will pass.

  2. mingham permalink
    27 May 2014 7:56 PM

    I don’t believe in reasoning with a child under the age of reason; I think it is confusing to them. Be consistent, don’t negotiate, you and Dad are the ones who know better. Zero tolerance for defiance and throwing fits. Clearly define (in two year old terms) what you and Dad can’t allow and be swift and PREDICTABLE with the consequence if the line is crossed; even when it’s exhausting. Love and affirm after the chosen discipline. It will be over before you know it. He is a beautiful child. He will be even better when this phase ends.

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