Monday, March 2, 2009

Toddlerhood Squared

This last week has been a bit - oh say - frustrating. My now 2 year old, and her brother who is following closely behind, have been giving me a full initiation into what people fondly refer to as the "terrible twos." As I first started writing this, I didn't want to use the term "terrible" to describe anything related to my kids, but after this past week I am feeling more and more accurate in describing some of their behavior as such. This week was definitely challenging between the incessant whining, the fighting over things, and choosing not follow directions. It isn't just whining when they don't get what they want. It is whining when they are just asking for something that I am more than happy to get a sippy cup of milk or a snack. I don't understand this premature whine-fest. When we were at the library, the librarians thought it was funny when I asked them to recommend books on whining to me, and then they looked at my exhausted face and realized I was very serious. Unfortunately, their searches didn't return much.

Even more frustrating than the whining is the fighting over "things." These things are not special things by any stretch of the imagination. It just so happens that T desperately needs whatever object his sister has picked up. Yes, he has an identical one, but he NEEDS hers. This sends her into a tailspin around the room running away from him yelling "My T's going to get me!" and crying. When I thwart T's efforts to take the item he starts stomping and crying, and the entire circle of chaos has now taken place over the old baby rattle that they found which should only be of interest to a 6 month old or the juice box of which they both have identical ones. Then, one of them decides that they no longer have interest in said object and it is time to jump on the couch. In this situation they are happy to join forces until Mommy removes one and then the other to "time out" after asking them to each stop (which apparently translates to giggle and do it again in their language). Usually at this point I check the clock to see what time Daddy will be home. Sometimes I luck out and it is 4:55 and other times it's only 9 a.m. ... and I take a deep breath.

I think that the most difficult part about all of this is that I am disappointed that I can't be more patient - more of the mom I want my kids to have. J and I have researched and are really trying to be thoughtful about our discipline, knowing that it will pay off with our relationship with our kids and their relationships with God and others in the future. In the meantime, I think I just need to some extra grace for toddlerhood. My great friend, Tara, sent me the link to this blog on Gentle Shepherding. I loved reading it. It was a good reminder about what I am seeking to do.

They really are good kids, but boy are they exercising their own wills. And, they really like to climb and run, and we live in an apartment leaving them only couches to climb on and over - something which is unacceptable to me and frankly not safe. Anyway, I am trying to remain consistent with time outs and logical consequences looking forward to a few months from now when their older ages and our consistency pay dividends. In the meantime, I am thankful for friends and family who are willing to talk with me. I got to go to coffee with a friend this weekend for a couple of hours and it was so good for my soul!

Now all of this to say, we really do have a blast together, too. This last week we went to the park, a kids museum, had friends over to play, visited a friend and went to the park and beach in Long Beach, did countless loads of laundry, baked cupcakes, grocery shopped, went to the library, painted, colored, stickered, and laughed hysterically, just to name a few activities. But we still managed to get in a bunch of those frustrating moments as well. I guess after reflecting on this venting session - maybe they get whining from their mom, too. And now that I have admitted it, I will whine that my lap top crashed with all of my pictures last week, too. Wah! But at least I don't jump on couches.


  1. Oh yes. Natalie started her version of the "terrible twos" a few weeks ago. It comes a goes. The only tactic that has worked for me, thus far, is to only speak using positive words. For example, "We love to share our toys with each other." "Couches are for sitting on." "How can you say that nicely?" (For when they whine for something and for no reason at all! Natalie is very good at changing her tone and rephrasing her sentences in order to get what she's asked for.) Anyway. Wish you were closer so you could drop them off over here and take a break!

  2. Oh this is so true! And you have a great sense of humor about it. Hang in there. I hear from my sister that it all pays off when they turn 4...sheesh!