“Do NOT throw another piece of chicken into my water”, I told my son as I returned to my dinner after rinsing out the chicken that he had thrown into my glass moments earlier. I had spent an hour and a half preparing a lovely feast for my family and after a long day of errands and toddler chasing, all I wanted was to enjoy a warm meal. And yet what do you know… In the split second between setting my water down and picking my fork up… *plop* another piece of grilled chicken sat in my water cup. Normally I might have found this slightly amusing. Maybe even funny. But not at the end of the week I’d just had. You see…my son has hit early onset terrible twos. Dun dun dunnnn.
Funny to think that just a couple of weeks ago, I was writing away about what great behavior my son had been displaying. It was fun while it lasted.
I completely understand why the terrible twos exist. My little man just reached the age in which he is no longer a baby, but still cannot fully express himself the way that he wants to. I’m sure it’s frustrating and for that, I give him as much patience as I can. However that being said… The terrible twos are taking EVERY ounce of patience that I have.
My son’s most recent fits have included riveting displays of drama following me telling him:
-that he could not consume a bottle of hot sauce.
-that I would not put his socks back on after he had pulled them off three times
-not to roll over my toes with his golf club catty
-not to eat lotion
-to stop chewing on DVD cases
-And of course… me telling him it’s nap time.
His fits last for anywhere from one minute to twenty minutes or so, and his favorite place to throw them of course is in the middle of large public settings. The fits include him dramatically throwing himself to the floor, some sort of fake crying/screaming combo, attempts at hitting the adult responsible for ruining his fun, and my personal favorite… Running off towards the laundry room, slamming the door, and pouting in the corner between the washing machine and the wall.
So what is a parent to do? My only answer… The best we can. Just like the ‘waking up every two hours’ phase and the ‘spit up on 6 outfits a day’ phase and the ‘I’m going to suddenly start waking up three times a night despite the fact that I’ve been sleeping through the night for a year now’ phase, this too is just that… a PHASE. He might test my patience and I might still have a bruise on my forehead from the fit fueled head butting that took place last week, but at the end of the day, he is a toddler. He is growing both mentally and physically. He is frustrated. He is testing boundaries and learning what he can and cannot do in this world. It is my job to guide him into understanding right from wrong. It is my job to teach him manners and to teach him to communicate what he wants in the best way that he can. But most of all it is my job to love him. Through every fit, through every tantrum, through every melt down, the best I can do is show him love. Show him understanding. Show him patience. Even if that means collapsing into my bed at 8pm due to the pure exhaustion that all that patience has brought on.
I have to look back at the pre baby me and laugh at the fact that I once told myself that ‘one day when I had children’, the terrible twos would not phase me because I was a two year old pre-school teacher with enough experience to tame any unruly child. HA! The truth is, no amount of experience will prepare you for the day your child throws an Oscar award winning level of fit in the middle of a small restaurant at ten in the morning. No amount of experience will prepare you for the first time your child violently throws a cup at you because you told him he had to finish his lunch before he could play in the backyard. And no amount of experience will prepare you for the feeling in your heart when at the end of a horrendous tantrum, your toddler walks up to you, wraps both little hands around your neck, and gives you a big fat slobbery kiss. Nothing can prepare you for parenting…No amount of experience or reading or advice. Parenting is simply about taking it one day at a time..one tantrum at a time.. One hug at a time..doing whatever feels right, and hoping and praying that you’re doing a good job of it.
Earning my title of Whine Connoisseur one early onset terrible twos tantrum at a time!
PS: Now accepting all offers to babysit my son 🙂