How to Survive the Terrible Twos, Part 2
Our sweet little Man Cub has been really growing into his will lately, and putting some new finesse into his temper tantrums. He could probably teach Houdini a thing or two about dislocating his shoulders to escape an unwanted confinement.
He’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.”
Violeta (@cricenia) is a cute little mama with a daughter who is almost three, and a son who is 15-months old. She’s doing something right ’cause her IG feed is full of two happy littles who seem like they’re BFFs, and I love that. She’s Violeta Vasquez (/cricenia) on Facebook, if Instagram isn’t your thing.
Leigh (@aparentleigh) has three littles – a seven and a five-year-old boy, and an 18-month-old princess. I followed her for I don’t know how long before I actually read her username and got it. I love her normal, everyday scenes of happy family life (and, recently, a really cool picnic table project). For all the ways you can find her, check out her About.me page.
Give it to me straight – How terrible are the “twos”?
For both kids, it seems as if the terrible twos aren’t during the twos at all. They both seemed to have had it right at their first birthdays. With my daughter, she was the throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-have-a-fit type. Now that we are approaching three, I’m learning that I now have a teenager! She’s learned to articulate, developed a sense of self-identity, and has no problem telling you what is what. I’m told it may get worse before it gets any better.
As for my son, well he’s taken to crying when he can’t have his way. Followed by throwing himself and crawling in reverse. Worst case scenario (if floor space is unavailable) he hits (something we don’t do) and bites (something he learned while breastfeeding). He’s learning to express himself a bit more, so his behavior problems are decreasing, but they are not fun to go through!
Honestly, not too bad for our family. My oldest had terrible fives. He was the best behaved child through four, then he started screaming over little things and throwing such fits. He was almost unbearable to be around.
My middle one was a hard two-year-old, but three was even harder. He could throw some major fits and kept going until he was five. Right around then, it’s like a switch flipped and the tantrums stopped. My husband and I were talking and we realized he hadn’t thrown a major, meltdown tantrum in a week.
My youngest is already proving she will be a terrible two. Her strong will is showing in how she hits and yells when she doesn’t get what she wants. I laugh when she’ll throw herself on the floor during a fit. When I walk away, she will follow me and throw herself on the floor again.
Do you have a terrifying story about your little as a two-year-old?
I tried to potty train my daughter while I was pregnant with my son, prior to her second birthday. I followed the three-day-naked theory, and let her run around naked. Well, I spent a lot of time cleaning up messes. So I gave up.
After my son’s birth she started to show signs of self training. I wasn’t working and spent a lot of time at home with the kids. She would wait until we stepped out of the room (to make dinner, use the potty ourselves, sorting clothes, etc.) take off her cloths and poop. Then she would come and get us and tell us she pooped, but wouldn’t tell us where. We would have to search the house and try to find the poop. It would be everywhere: in her bed, on the floor, behind a cabinet, etc. She refused to use the potty in the bathroom. I finally gave up and put a potty in her room. From that moment on we were potty trained. This story doesn’t seem so bad (except for the searching for poop), but keep in mind I had a crawling baby as well who would sometimes find the poop before us and would help himself to it. Yep, cute baby covered in his sisters poop!
When my oldest was about that age, we thought he was napping upstairs. When we checked on him, he was in our bathroom with handfuls of my husband’s hair product in his hair. He wanted do it just like Papa, “My all by self.”
As a veteran, what would be your best piece of advice to someone with their first two-year-old? What do you wish someone had told you?
I wish someone would have told me that by age two they are grown. Not really, but I was thinking that she was still my baby. I didn’t realize how much she was actually absorbing and learning. They literally mirror everything.
Also, on the days that I’ve had enough – I’m exhausted, dinner’s not made, clothes not laundered, and all the problems of two toddlers – I just like to remind myself of the opposite of what everyone says. They say it gets better from here, but I think that’s not true. I say enjoy now – when all you’re worried about is diapers, poop, and tantrums. From here there’s school, body image, sex, peer pressure, drugs, boyfriends, girlfriends, break ups, and a whole world worth of things totally out of our control. Enjoy now, for this is the BEST TIME of our lives together. Hey, right now my kids love me, and I am their favorite person in the world!
Sometimes the most disobedient kids need the most attention. More one-on-one time from my husband went a long way to reducing our number of tantrums. Reading, puzzles, blocks and toys will go along way.
Ignoring the tantrum works better than we thought. Most of the time, the tantrum was a cry for attention. Tantrums in public will happen. Don’t panic. Don’t worry about what others think of you. If they have kids, they get it. If they don’t have kids, who cares what they think? They haven’t had to deal with a screaming two-year old. It’s okay to just leave (abandon the cart, take the child outside while your husband pays for dinner, etc.).
Be consistent with your discipline. We did time-out in the same place for the same amount of time. We used our phone timer (age=minutes), and didn’t start the timer until the tantrum was done. Don’t be disciplinarian one day, and lax the next. That said, I’m not above bribery and distraction. I bargained with honey straws at check-out and handed off the iPhone for just a couple of minutes of peace to finish what I needed to do.
Let’s hear your best terrible twos horror story in the comments. Anyone?