My youngest child turns three at the end of this week. Goodbye terrible twos. In the last four years, I have gone through the terrible two year with three children. With my first child I anxiously turned to parenting books and forums, with my second child I panicked wondering was this going to be what life was like forever, with my third child, I finally found my sense of humour and didn’t panic so much at all, some of it has even been funny. I can say that now as the end of the two’s are upon us. Here is what I have learned about the terrible twos:
Highs: They can tell you what is wrong with them. They can answer questions. They can be hilariously funny. They can tell you how much they love you.
Lows: They will repeat things you really don’t want them to repeat. Usually in front of your inlaws, friendly strangers who nearly keel over in shock when the words “Sweet Jesus” or ” Shite” come popping out of their lovely little two year old mouths. All of my children, during the year of being two, said something along the lines of “I don’t like you” or “Daddy is my favourite”. Cruel hard blows to my heart hearing your baby saying this for the first time. They don’t mean it and it doesn’t help if you sit them down and explain to them how you grew them and do everything for them. They don’t really care at two.
Highs: They can follow simple instructions, such as pick that up, stay beside me, bring that in there. Making life a little bit easier.
Lows: They can give instructions. Do The Hokey Pokey. Pick me up. Put me down. Lie beside me. Read it again. I said, Do the Hokey Pokey again, NOW.
Highs: You can start to go on trips without a buggy. You can leave them alone for three minutes in a room and know they will be ok.
Lows: They can run, fast. One minute they are beside you. The next,gone, disappeared. Heart stopping. Never wear heels if out with a two-year old and never take your eyes off them.
Highs: They now have the concentration span to sit and watch tv allowing you time to do whatever you have to do. Dora and Iggle Piggle are your friends, embrace them, they are excellent short-term, free babysitters.
Lows: The theme tunes of most Nick Jn shows will be stuck in your head forever more. The two-year old will also often want to watch tv at 4am or at bedtime or at lots of other inopportune moments.
Highs: A two-year old will generally be able to sit and colour or glue or a pot of water and a spoon will entertain them for twenty minutes.
Lows: It is advisable to supervise the above. We have a marker (permanent) drawing of what strongly resembles a penis on our sofa. No amount of washing it will remove it. It ‘s there three years now and hasn’t even faded in time. It makes an excellent and not at all embarrassing, conversation piece, when we have visitors.Fingers crossed we can afford to buy a new sofa sometime in the next ten years.
Highs: Being a two-year is exhausting. Some nights 12 hour sleeps are the norm. This is excellent for everybody involved.
Lows: There is a very thin barrier separating tired and over-tired. Once crossed it is impossible to get the two-year to sleep. Then you have crossed the line into the battlefield of hysteria. Both of you. This is both loud and exhausting for everybody involved.
No Two Days Are The Same
If there was a movie about two-year olds it would come with the tag line- Expect the unexpected.
Highs: If everyday was the same wouldn’t life be boring? ( I’m struggling with the highs)
Lows: Never assume you know your two-year old. What they like one day, they wont like the next. Its character building. Variety is the spice of life and all that. Some nights my two-year old, likes to fall asleep by giving me a kiss, smiling and holding my hand as I sing to her. Other nights, she likes to put her hands over my mouth to stop me singing and scream herself to sleep. It keeps me on my toes.
Highs: No more nappies.
Lows: Once they have mastered the toilet they will want to visit every toilet in every building you enter for at least six months. They know you will bring them as you worry they will have an accident. They hold all the power in this situation.
You Start To See What Type Of Person Your Toddler is Going To Be
Highs: You can see their kindness and sense of humour developing. You enjoy their company. Your heart hurts you love them so much. They hug you so tight and look at you with so much love, you know you are doing a good job raising them.
Lows: When your two-year old insists you sleep facing them and slaps you repeatedly when you turn around from them in a sleep befuddled haze at 4am, you worry you are raising a future psycho. I wont lie, it alarmed me when I read about a recent court case of a well know English comedienne , in court for charges of harassment of his ex girlfriend and some of his reported behaviour was reminiscent of my two-year olds.
Then There Are Just Some Lows:
Tantrums- generally these are saved for public consumption. It’s a rite of passage, anyone who gives you a filthy look in a supermarket as your two-year old is purple from crying and kicking the ground, has never had a two-year old.
Fear-Night terrors tend to strike when they are two. There is nothing worse than your two-year old sobbing in the middle of the night because of some dream they can only half explain to you. It’s both heart breaking and exhausting, in equal measures.
No Fear- While monsters can be scary, generally strange dogs, traffic, rivers, running off holds no fear for your two-year old at all.
Things To Remember When Your Two Year Old Drives You To The Point Of Pulling Your Hair Out:
- It is temporary and it will pass.
- No six-year-old, I know, still drinks bottles or has soothers.
- No teenager still comes into their parents bed in the middle of the night.
- Count what they eat over a week, not a day, one day of only milk and half a carrot will not kill them.
- Sometimes it ok to lock yourself into the bathroom for three minutes and scream into a towel. Sometimes, its recommended.
- It’s not all bad- think of the new skills you are acquiring: The ability to recite The Gruffalo in full without glancing at the book,conversational Spanish from episodes of Diego and Dora,Increased cooking skills as you have tried cooking most foods now in an attempt to feed your child, You’re most likely fitter from all the chasing of the two-year old.You have developed ninja like skills from extracting yourself from your two-year olds bed without waking them. You now know the meaning of patience. The personal development benefits are huge.
- The terrible twos end as quickly as they start.
- Three is so much easier.
I have to say I found the two-year old year a lot harder than the first year with all my children and while a little part of me is sad that my youngest is turning three, heralding the end of the baby/toddler years in this house, a much bigger part of me is relieved. promise I will never look horrified when I see somebody else dealing with their screaming and kicking two-year old in the future. I will ignore. Who know’s maybe I will even feel nostalgic. Doubt it though!
Bring on the third birthday!