I have heard of the “terrible twos” and always pitied those poor mothers who had children throwing themselves on the floor in the middle of the grocery aisle. All the while, I was smugly thinking to myself, “I am so lucky my daughter is well-behaved—not like THOSE people’s kid.” It must be due to my good parenting, right? I must be more patient then THOSE mothers. It must be because I look my child in the eye and speak reasonably to her, right? She recognizes that I give her the respect she deserves and therefore, we have a well-paved, two-way communication street. Wrong!
Biz e-Baby1 will be three-years-old in eight days and, until a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had just breezed past the terrible-two phase and come out unscathed. Recently, I realized “three is the new two.” It’s sort of like morning-sickness which doesn’t always have to be in the morning. You can get sick anytime. They just called it that because most people feel most sensitive in the morning. My morning sickness was at night, actually. Typically, it was after I’d get home from work and lay on the couch watching TV. But, I digress.
My child was a late-bloomer into the stage of terrible twos. But, I can tell you it is alive and well in her now. The emotion, the passion, the drama is all at a heightened state. One wrong move and she’ll crumble like a house of cards. Whatever she asks for must be provided in the exact fashion she requested it or the world will come to an end. Sounds like a brat. I know. She really, isn’t. Biz e-Baby1 is usually very affectionate. She likes to sit on my lap and cuddle or read. She bursts out with “Mommy, I love you,” when I least expect it. She even has a maternal quality about her when it comes to looking out for her not-much-younger brother. It’s just that these tantrums stem from such a deep desire to exercise her independence that it hurts. (I remember how badly I wanted to be able to drive and escape my family when I was 15. I wanted it so bad I could taste it but there was nothing I could do to change the fact that I had to wait a year. I imagine it hurts like that.)
The other day she told me she wanted frozen Tyson chicken fingers for dinner. I tried to explain that I would have to warm them up so she could bite into them, and her face changed. Just like that. Then, the tears came. Through the tears and kicking in her booster seat, she demanded that she wanted a frozen—not warm—chicken finger. So, I gave one to her. Elise ate it. I don’t know if it was good, but she was satisfied that her wish had been granted.
My daughter can communicate very well, but she just can’t speak as fast as her little mind is thinking. She longs to do things that big people do, but the reality is she is still too little to do most of what she wants. Last night, Biz e-Baby1 asked me to cover her feet in bed with a blanket. When I did it (wrong apparently), she said, “No, like THIS!”
God forbid, I flush the toilet after she uses the potty. That joy is reserved solely for the creator of bowl’s contents. I have forgotten a few times, out of habit, and we had to have a “do-over flush” because of my mistake. The most common phrase I hear each day is, “I’LL DO IT!” — from feeding, to brushing teeth, to putting on shoes, to even working our DVD player; it must be controlled by her.
I try not to feed into the emotional outbursts when they occur, but sometimes ignoring her or exercising tough love only makes the fury grow inside her even more. It’s clear she inherited my hot-head. That girl can go zero to sixty in 2.5 seconds. I don’t want to create a behavior pattern that leads her to believe every time she acts out mommy will cater to her whims, but sometimes it is just easier to make the crying stop.
Does anyone know how long the terrible twos (now redubbed “terrible threes” in our home) last? I may need to stock up on wine.
P.S. I am sure some know-it-all parent with teenagers will comment that I should suck it up and tell me the terrible twos are nothing compared to the teen years. For that, I will stock up on Whiskey.