Months ago – like seriously, months, because I haven’t seen lots of my mommy friends IN months – my friend Sarah, who has two beautiful daughters, told me a little mommy secret: the terrible twos come early. They start way before they actually turn two.
Now, like most pieces of advice like this, I kind of took it in stride. After all, my darling little baby wasn’t even one yet! I had plenty of time to prepare for the terrible twos. Right? Well, I thought so. And now – looking back – I probably should have started gathering answers to my terrible twos questions back then – because she sure was right!
Suddenly, about the time the he became really confident in his ability to walk, he started to test his limits. Small things – like trying to get into cupboards he knew he wasn’t supposed to, taking out mommy’s hairdryer in the bathroom (after being told no), turning on and off the satellite dish. Each time, he’d turn around with this mischievous little smile on his face. Each time, we’d tell him no. And each time, he’d turn around, do what he wasn’t supposed to and laugh It was HILARIOUS. So Rick and I hid our laughter by covering our faces with our hands and let it continue. Everything’s just a phase, right? Well, yes. But there’s a little bit of qualifying to do for that: how LONG does a phase actually last?
That’s a question I don’t have the answer to. All I know is that in our house, it went from cute little disobediences to full fledged temper tantrums in a matter of weeks. Anything that he knows he’s not supposed to be into, he wants. And if we tell him no, he throws a temper tantrum – it’s like I told him that his favorite toy got thrown in the garbage and he’s never going to see it again. Don’t get me wrong – most of the time he’s the most adorable little toddler in the world. He’s sweet, loving, funny, and super fun to hang out with. But when he gets mad, man – watch out. It is an experience in and of itself.
Being the parents that refuse to allow our children to cry to get their way, we’re trying some age appropriate methods of adjusting his behavior. Obviously, time outs aren’t going to work that great with a 15 month old. So we try to explain why he can’t play with something in toddler terms, like that’s not safe or not for babies – and I’m pretty sure he understands. We re-direct, which works for the most part. And when all else fails, we try to give a hug and tell him that he’s ok, without making the behavior ok.
Is it working? Meh, I really don’t have concrete answers yet. But we’re trying. And it does seem to be getting at least the teeniest bit better. Or maybe we’re just getting used to it. I don’t know. But with that being said, I’d LOVE to hear your terrible twos advice in the comments – when they started, how long they lasted, what your remedies were…so share, please!