Terrible Twos (Part 1)
Who ever said the newborn stage is the hardest, lied. Toddlerism is Terrorism.
I think I need to definitely make this a part-series because this developmental stage is not for the faint hearted, neither is it as straight forward as these baby guru’s make it out to be either. I don’t think there is any right way to deal with this stage, I really think it is dependent on yourself, your patience capacity and your child. I think just like any other stage you just have to deal with it in the best way you can, some methods and techniques may not work for my child but will work for another and vice versa.
My intentions are not to come to you and have a massive BF about my son. (Please refer to the movie ‘White Chicks’ to understand the term “BF”) However, I feel as though it may come across like it. If you have been following my journey so far, you would have learned that my oldest is now two years old. I first started noticing defiant behavior and a bit of attitude around 18 months or so and at the time I thought it was cute. Since turning two, all of that has literally peaked sky high, I mean from 50-1000 I kid you not. I would add on another 0 to that number but you’d probably say I’m over exaggerating. To be fair, alongside this, Xion is currently dealing with an uninvited guest who moved in on April 6th and feels as though he is in a competition with them…. so maybe I have it a little worse than the usual, I do not know. So let me tell you how it’s been… First off…
What is Terrible Two’s?
In my own words, from my understanding through reading articles, it is a very important developmental stage for a toddler. Independence, this is where they learn to express themselves, communicate, learn right from wrong and become confident small beings (when dealt with correctly, of course). As toddlers are unable to communicate as efficiently as ourselves, they can only express their emotions through crying, screaming, shouting, throwing things and all of that rolled into one.. tantrums. Additionally, with no social awareness, unfortunately these forms of expressions can happen absolutely anywhere, at any time, hence the embarrassing public displays you see a lot of mum’s go through and may have also experienced yourselves.
This stage is also an exploring stage so you may find your kitchen cupboards are ransacked regularly, your creams and soaps may be all over your walls and floors, papers torn into shreds and many other ungodly things. In lamer terms, they will tear down anything they can get their hands on, any chance they get.
I have come to learn that as this is a developmental stage, indeed an extremely frustrating one for both child and mother, it should be dealt with as sensitively as possible. Before I digress, this is definitely easier said than done. But as stated above, this is where they learn to communicate their feelings and emotions efficiently, understand right and wrong, understanding boundaries, developing confidence and many others which contribute to their individuality. However, in the same breath, dealing with this sensitively does not mean you can let your child run rings around you. One thing I have learned about my son, through general observation, is that he is a smart one, although clumsy and disorderly, 70% of the time he knows exactly what he’s doing. He is a baby Einstein on red bull.
What have I experienced?
As I have a five month old as well, I do feel like a tug of war rope a lot of the time. I feel as though I am mainly telling Xion off, whereas Jahzara is just currently as dependent as dependent can get, at the moment, so she is always dealt with a lot differently compared to him. The guilt forms because I don’t want him to think that I have favourites or I am always upset with him, because that is not the case. Lately, I have been able to keep my cool better but there is still a difference. I try and remind myself of the different stages both children are in at the moment and I have to approach them both according to their stage and it’s entirely normal.
One thing I am learning is there is no telling once, twice or a 1000 times. I will tell Xion to get down from somewhere and he will run off and do something else and five minutes later he will come back and get back onto the same thing I told him to get off of. This, for me, is torture as I really dislike repeating myself as it is. It used to really get me down, it still does, but I am starting to learn that this is how it’s going to have to be. Remember, I said Baby Einstein on Red bull, I can admit that sometimes Xion is just hyped up on air. But other times, I realise that he knows exactly what he is doing and is merely seeing how far he can push me. This is where I have to be consistent and not give into his unruly behaviour.
Turning Up The Volume
“Xion, baby put that down..” *continues* Xion put that down please..” *continues* “Xion, you heard what I said, put that down now” *continues* “Xion …Put… It… Down.” *continues* “XION DID YOU NOT HEAR ME TELL YOU TO PUT IT DOWN” …and just like that miraculously, it will be put down, in the place it was found, which brings me back to pushing limits. Now, you’re probably thinking why don’t you just go and take it from him and I do so when I can but remember there are times when I am in a position unable to do so. So yes, I do find myself raising my voice a lot, which I do not like, but sometimes seem like the only way he will listen.
I Can No Longer Locate My Patience or Sanity… Anywhere
Guys, I feel that many times I have been pushed to my limits. To be fair, a few weeks ago I was in a bad place so Xion’s outbursts were worse to deal with. I still lose my patience a lot and still cannot find my sanity anywhere.. it’s gone. This is mainly because a lot of this stuff is repetitive and it drives me mad. Many times I have also looked for Xion’s receipt and I am unable to find that as well. You really have to be consistent and it is rather draining, seriously it’s like why.. for… the … 75th… time… am.. I.. telling.. you.. something… then tomorrow I will ask the exact same thing, sometimes in relation to the exact same action.
How Am I Coping With This?
Lol.. I’m not.
- I have become acceptant that this is phase that all children go through and it will not last forever
- I am understanding the language barrier between us and I focus more on setlling the tantrum rather than the reason for the tantrum. Example, rather than communicating with Xion that he cannot have the sweets until he gets home. Until his language has developed more, I try to acknowledge his emotions and help him to calm down instead.
- I avoid going out to certain places with Xion, if I really really have to I will ensure its as close to nap time or just after he has eaten.
- Snacks, drinks and a device filled with kiddy films and entertainment come everywhere with me when travelling. A busy baby is a quiet tantrumless journey.
- I have started to pick my battles. If I tell him off for everything he does it will just exhaust me. So although I may not like what he is doing, that is his version of fun at the time so I leave him to live his best life.
- I am a neat freak so I do find myself tidying up six times a day. I know it’s a no brainer but I have had to accept that mess is mess and it shouldn’t get tidied until the boy is asleep.
- Time out was introduced a few weeks ago due to Xion’s habit of hitting and kicking. This was also mirrored at the childminders, but for a while we have not needed to put him on it, so I guess some changed behaviour has been enforced. He does understand that it is a consequence of negative actions and it will be introduced again if other problems arise.
- Praise. I congratulate and reward Xion for good behaviour and the more this is enforced the more he wants to do good and helpful things.
Mummy guilt is back, look at my gorgeous heartbeat, like butter wouldn’t melt. Although, I really dislike Terrible Two’s and a lot of the time look for his reciept, I understand that this is not Xion, this is not who he is, it is just a stage he has to go through.
Apart from torturing me, Xion loves music and to dance, he loves putting things together and I mean he will sit with something for as long as it takes until he’s put it together and he loves to be outdoors and he loves cars.
Anyway.. so that is my experience with Terrible Two’s so far. I will be back with an update on how things have been because it’s still all very new and Xion is still learning and developing.
If you have any suggestions, questions or would generally like to discuss anything I have covered in this post today, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.
Thank you for reading… until next time.