Twos Blues

Whenever I hear or read the phrase ‘terrible twos’, I find myself incapable of controlling my rolling eyes. I know it’s a generalisation, but it’s such a broad and inaccurate one, like ‘morning’ sickness. I wish they’d both fall out of the lexicon.

If ‘terrible twos’ are characterised by temper tantrums, screaming for no reason, banging head on things and not listening, than Devin’s been in his terrible twos since he was 12 months old. I’m actually hoping that 24 months brings some respite, because things can’t get much more terrible. Unless he starts a tantrum tomorrow morning and continues until his second birthday. Which, at this point, does not seem like an entirely hyperbolic idea.

After an almost-two hour nap recently, he woke up and started whining softly in his room, as usual. But when I opened the door to get him… well, obviously it was the END OF THE WORLD and someone forgot to tell me. Instead of jumping up, ready to be whisked away, he threw himself back and cried. Then he kicked his legs around and screamed. I moved to comfort him, and he kicked harder and screamed louder. I sat back and waited. I started to leave the room. It just wasn’t stopping. I finally picked him up in a football hold (the only way that works when he throws the arms-above-head Plank move) and took him outside. That usually works.

Nope. More screaming and crying.

Back inside, I went right to the end of the house to my parents’ bedroom, closed the door, sat on the bed, turned on the TV and found an orchestra performing the Star Wars soundtrack, then turned the volume up. Devin finally stopped his MegaTanty and went limp with his head on my shoulder.

Deep sigh.

I have no idea what his problem was. He’d been exceptionally good that morning, too.

That, in a nutshell, is why the idea of the terrible ‘twos’ seems ridiculous to me. We all know toddlers throw tantrums and misbehave. Let’s just say that.

Don’t even get me started on people who say ‘just wait until three – that’s way worse than two.’ You know, thanks for the support and for projecting your personal experience onto everyone else’s. Basically even if that is true, I don’t think it helps to know about it. One, what am I supposed to do? Spend the next 18 months dreading Devin’s third birthday? Two, you could read all you want about how to deal with tantrums and such, and still be blindsided when it actually happens. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that you will never, ever be prepared for everything.

Another thing I’ve learned about parenting, though, is not to say words that your toddler knows unless you’re actually going to give them a bath or some milk.

Also, don’t open cans of soft drink within earshot of your toddler unless you like playing ‘keep away’ while trying to have a drink.

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