Renaming the Twos

Can I tell you a secret?  This girl is kicking my trash, emotionally.  I don’t mean that lightly.  Her age, 2, has caught me blindsided, even though I knew what to expect.  She is an irascible, spirited toddler–as evidenced by her reaction to the little things: Her defiance of anything involving the words “help mommy clean up the mess, please” ; her stubborn, “No!” when I attempt to take any picture (see photo above); her physical aggression when she doesn’t get the candy, cookie, or practically anything else she asks for.

It’s wearisome.

Yet, I refuse to label her stage, “terrible.”*  I guess it comes down to my refusal to give in.  Her two’s have brought unforeseen complications–bigger and faster (and more expensive) messes, stubborn refusals to sleep, and constant battles over what activities we should do during the day.  In the middle of this, I keep reminding myself that there is so much more to this age than tantrums and obstinacy.  After a few weeks, I finally saw the priceless treasures: Spontaneous hugs and kisses,  (positive) independence, language, knowledge, intuition, compassion, empathy, and laughter.

Yeah, the twos are rough; however, in my mind, they are like any other stage–with positives and negatives.  When I’m looking close enough, I notice the positives significantly outnumber the negatives.  Maybe I’ll rename this stage the terrific twos, just to throw my pessimistic side off.  Then again, maybe not.

*If you or anyone else you know uses this phrase, please know I would never correct you.  Heck, I totally understand why the twos are called terrible.  For me, I try to avoid using that phrase because it would only remind me of the negatives.  Believe me, I need all the optimism I can fabricate; hence my suggestion to rename the label.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Renaming the Twos

  1. Wow, we did it again and wrote about something similar. Our kids must be cut from the same fabric! And how about the Tenacious Twos to honor your daughter for sticking with her quest for independence and you for continuing to nurture her through it all? 🙂

    • admin

      Stacia, apparently our thoughts are aligned on topics this month. Ha!

      I do hope I nurture her through this time. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air! Still, what she is learning right now is pertinent to her later years. So I guess I should cut her some slack.

  2. So far 8 is my most terrible and terrific at the same time! I think every kid has their own "terrible" age. Hang in there!! 🙂

  3. The new independence is doubly hard – on her trying to express herself and do all those things – and on you. I was so accostomed to making all the decisions, to having what I say just be. As they become little people, the shifts in them and us are seismic. I felt like I had to relearn how to parent.

    • admin

      Kate–learning to let Emily make decisions, rather than make them all myself, has been a learning experience. Perhaps relearning parenthood is necessary for all stages.

  4. Maybe you could think of it as "the tumultuous twos" or the "tigress twos" – part of those explosive behaviors is the exponential learning and development taking place – at least in my experience going through it with my boys. (And one stayed in that stage from 18 months to the age of 3 and a half; the other literally never went through it – um, until adolescence, that is.)

    Have fun! 😉

    • admin

      I believe it's her problem-solving skills that often exhaust me–as she learns how to open and close things, climb on top of counter tops to get what she wants, and other skills that leave me both frustrated and proud as she learns. I really do find this age to be overall delightful, just…tiring.

  5. Oh yes. We hit that defiance here all of the time. I've resorted to touch your toe timeouts and rewards for good behavior, but my child is spirited and strong-willed. Funny thing – her parents are too. Hang in there friend!

    • admin

      "Touch your toes timeouts" sound awesome! I think I'm going to implement that immediately! I do know she is just like her dad in her curiosity. I just have to learn how to contain it.

  6. My nephew hit this stage at 3. He's adorable, but sort of a little kid bully.

  7. I like the term Tenacious that was suggests. Very, very appropriate!

  8. I am old enough to look back on the terrible twos and think they were hard, but not impossible. Especially compared to the hormonal 13s and 14s. Yipes! And all of the qualities that about kill you in your toddlers are the ones that will make them fascinating adults later. Trust me. I am seeing it in action in my own family.

    • admin

      I think the key is these characteristics "about" kill me. (As you said.) The truth is, Emily and I are growing together. And with that comes growing pains. I really do love her curiosity even if I find it terribly frustrating.

  9. Two and three are my very favorite ages. I especially love when they learn to talk and express themselves. It can be frustrating, but it was always my favorite stage!

    • admin

      You know, Marvett, I think two is becoming my favorite as well! It just takes…patience. Something I am lacking lately. Well, it'll come with time! (Ha!)

  10. I have to admit Amber, for me 2 is terrible. Moreso the second time around. In fact, my youngest won't even be 2 until February and the fire and spirit is kicking me too. I fear where it's all going, I'm hopeful that it's just frustration that he can't fully communicate yet. My oldest didn't have these struggles until he was 3. And 3 was HARD. But 4 came and all got magically better. So at least there is HOPE. 🙂

    • admin

      Who doesn't need hope? I really am enjoying her time. I think the hardest part, for me, is dealing with her stuff almost completely alone. I realize that before I know it, the twos will be gone, and she'll be grown up. I am reminding myself to enjoy them while they last.

  11. My daughter is also two and boy does she wear it well. However, you're right – the tantrums, strong opinions and fierce independence are only a part of who she is because on the flip side, she's also becoming this little human with a breadth and depth of emotions and intelligence that make me stop at my tracks, amazed at how much she has transformed over this past few months. Aggravated as I am by her antics, I can't help but feel extremely proud of the person she is. Tantrums and all.

    Good for you for looking at the bright side of two. I will as well!

    • admin

      Like you, I am fiercely proud of Emily and the little person she is becoming. I am sure that as frustrating as her age is for me, it is equally as frustrating for her. I'll have to remind myself of that when she climbs on the stove and empties out all the cereal boxes.

  12. We're headed out of the twos, and they've had their moments but haven't been Terrible. Now, anytime I admit this to friends or strangers, they respond that it's REALLY the terrible THREES. So.

    • admin

      Perhaps ALL stages can be terrible if we let them. I guess that's the real lesson I need to learn. : )

  13. I miss the twos! The threes are kicking my tush. 🙂

  14. Melanie Jacobson

    This is the age where my mother-in-law says that God made them cute so you don't kill them. They drive you nuts, but at that age, the highs are really high.

    • admin

      I really do treasure this age, most of my frustrations with her really come from frustrations with other things. I really need to learn to not take life's struggles out on her, or even her stage.