I know everyone says it’s the “Terrible Twos”, but I disagree. One because I hate the idea of calling anything about my child “terrible”. It’s such an intense word to me – one that brings visions of a rabid animal, frothing at the mouth, snarling (wait, maybe…) at me, which while these guys can be pretty frustrating, irritating, moody and ‘Tude toting sometimes they aren’t ever terrible. The other reason I disagree with this age stereotype is because we didn’t really see the influx of serious attitude at the 2 mark. It’s like you’re prepared for this onset of craziness to come on their second birthday, and when it doesn’t you start getting all hot headed and “my kid will NEVER do that”, then it hits you! Square in the nuts!
Bethany didn’t start really showing her attitude and temper issues until almost 3. It was like she all of a sudden started the impending implosion of self at about 2.5 and by the time 3 rolled around was in full swing. (She was also a totally different kid by 3.5.)
And while I’d held out hope that Audrey would avoid that stage all together, it’s starting to look like I was dreaming. Ok, so not starting to look like it, I was dreaming – I’m awake now. Really awake!
Here we are approaching that 3rd birthday and Audrey’s pulling out all sorts of “interesting” behaviour:
– Pulling Bethany’s hair, often. When I ask her why she pulled her hair (post punishment) her answer is always the same “‘Cuz, I wanted to” Excellent, I want to pull the hair of the grumpy lady at Starbucks too, but I don’t DO it!
– Answering “NO” to just about everything I asked her to do that involves cleaning up her disaster. (She has begun leaving a wake of mess behind her everywhere we go)
– She wails and sobs over the tiniest things, the wrong color cup, having to shower second not first, her Teddy being on the floor not the chair…it’s all devastating to her
– Teddy is blamed for a myriad of bad behaviours – screaming, hitting, throwing, saying things with an attitude and whining. Passing blame, especially to things that are fluff and stuff doesn’t fly with me.
It’s all traumatic, and it’s all she can do to express herself without having steam come from her ears.
The thing is, I get it. I mean, first of all she’s stubborn
exactly like I am a trait that we have no idea whom she inherited it from, she’s got a great vocabulary (little miss knows the word “similar” and uses it in appropriate conversation) but can’t always use her words because emotions have over taken her soul, up until now she cried over everything because the vocabulary wasn’t there and now she’s supposed to just suck it up and stop crying (which is hard), she’s a girl (‘nough said) and she’s got all sorts of emotions she’s never dealt with before.
It’s hard to be her and I get that. But to be honest, often times I forget that because it’s hard to be the Mom too. This parenting gig isn’t easy, we all know that (“we” who are parents not “we” who think we know everything about child-rearing because we managed not to kill a cactus), I chose this path and I can roll with it. Most days.
The thing is, some days my inner 3 year old comes out and I respond with as much ‘Tude and she does. And let me tell you this about that, two ‘Tudes don’t make a right. They make a really, REALLY big ‘Tude that usually spreads my osmosis to the other female in the house and Corey secretly dreams of moving to a cabin in the forest where estrogen doesn’t exist (he never said that but, well, I’m in his head) and a ‘Tude is a really cool paintball move.
I’m trying. I’m praying. I’m breathing more. I’ve given myself the odd “time out” so that I can respond to an issue or attitude calmly rather than with more attitude. I’ve put their toys in time out (because it is seriously hard to have to wait for teddy to get out of the corner for hitting your sister, his auntie) in a desperate attempt at getting a consequence across. And I’ve cried, because mommies have tears too.
It’s a work in process, some days are just more productive than others. And at least I’ve been this road once and I know that one day relief will once again come.
At least until they reach puberty.