Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Happens at Two?

Can someone please tell me what happens to the child's brain when he/she turns two?

What is it that clicks into place and they decide that all good behavior previously exhibited and that the parents have come to expect is now to be thrown out the window and replaced by complete and utter chaos?

Why can't the couch cushions actually stay on the couch?  Why do all the toys need to be thrown down the stairs?  Why does water have to be spit out of the mouth rather than swallowed?

What happens at two to make your child decide that instead of going to sleep when you lovingly put them down to bed at their regular bed time, you know the one that hasn't been a problem for well over a year now, that one that allows the parents of said child a few hours together to collect thoughts, wind down for the night, and actually reflect on how much they love their child... why does that seem impossible to do?  Why is it a better idea to spend an hour or two jumping in said bed rather than sleeping in said bed?  Alternately crying out in mock duress to get the parents attention while throwing everything out of the crib including the sock monkey that the child can't seem to be able to get to sleep without.

What happens that makes it so that food suddenly becomes a hassle instead of something enjoyable, which actually was the case previous to turning two?  Something to endure a few bites of so said child can get on to other activities like spitting out water, throwing things down the stairs, or begging for one more showing of Toy Story? All the while getting ornery because they actually are hungry but can't seem to associate satisfied belly with a satisfied mood which is what parents are really going for, especially mom who will be spending the rest of the day with said child and having to put up with said orneriness and thus getting more and more frustrated when child will not cooperate and even pretend to try to keep the d@mn scrambled egg (which he loves by the way) in his mouth for more than two seconds.

What happens at two that makes a parent who thought that she was doing a pretty good job overall suddenly feel like a failure.  One who cannot keep her child under control.  One who just does not know what the crap she's doing and finds herself desperately wanting to escape reality for just a little while by getting lost in a book or a good movie but can't because the cushions on the couch are missing?

Am I coming off too strong?  Too frustrated?  Too needy?

Suggestions are welcome. Real ones.  And for the love of all that's holy please oh please do not tell me that it just gets worse cause that will actually not help at all.  I already know that it will get worse.  I know that the time will go quickly because it seems like yesterday that he was just a babe in my arms instead of this little person running around with such a big personality.  I know the weeks and months will fly by, but the days?  The hours that are here right now?  They seem like an eternity to get through, especially when I'm putting the cushions back on the couch for the umpteenth time.


  1. You are always so good to put things I often think or feel into words! Be strong! The few things that have helped me through this two year old thing which is still on going currently: 1- it seems to come and go in phases and last for a few weeks or a month or two, 2- they are working on testing their independence and asserting it whenever they feel they can, 3- trial and error is key, 4- with said trial and error being consistent in the things that are absolutely not okay and then allowing the things that while you may not love you still allow to happen, and 4- pray and cry as needed! Lol! Know that you are not alone and you will both make it through this time of life too. Ben will comply to the rules again, it just make take a million reminders.

    With Hayden we have learned for bedtime we still put him down at the same time and then he is allowed to talk, jump, and do whatever in his room until he falls asleep, keep in mind it is pretty dang dark and he still persists. When we continually checked on him his behavior got worse and he stayed up longer. Yet he knows when he falls asleep he has to be in his bed, and that is where we always find him asleep at the end of the play cycle.

    With meals we started a bad habit that has been hard to break, but I also wanted him to eat more than to be hungry and I don't believe in providing constant snacks for missed meals. So we turn on a cd with preschool songs and that helps Hayden to want to eat. I want to go crazy when I have heard the dc a million times, but if Clay is home then I have another adult to talk to and drown out the music. It is all about the give and take to me.

    Good luck! I know you will survive and some days are way harder than others! I feel your pain!

  2. Oh man, I'm sorry! It is so hard, and he really is just a bundle of energy.i think you're doing great-keep setting clear limits with realistic consequences, and be consistent even when it feels like he's not getting it. It doesn't really get worse, it just gets different and those base rules stay the same (if that makes sense! )

  3. Ok. Here's random stream of consciousness! Keep setting limits. Have a clear 'time out' place in your home (other than his room - the stairs worked for us) and use a timer. 1 minute for each year and keep that consistent. Don't be afraid to take things away, leave places he can't behave (I've left whole carts of groceries before!),etc. REALLY keep the enforcement up. Quiet time implementation. Practicing sitting still for periods of time. Whisper instead of yelling - that always got Sammy's attention better. Two was about the age we also needed to go back to the Healthy Sleep Habits book for a refresher and tweak a few things.

    I HONESTLY believe that now is the time to double up and be extra strict so you don't have the 6 year old that is still throwing tantrums! Yes, it will get worse before it gets better but it WILL get better!

    And, finally: you are a GREAT mom. You are doing it! He does listen, he's just testing boundaries. Be firm. Walk over tantrums. Give him the boundaries. Don't be afraid to abandon everything you're in the middle of to make a point to him. I get that it doesn't feel like it right now, but I promise you'll come out the other side!