Some of you have already experienced it. You have an angel. A baby that is sweet and cuddly and smiley and all those other adorable things. ‘I can do this, I’ve got this parenting under control’, – you tell yourself. Sleepless nights, kid crawling all over the house and eating dust off the floor days are finally over. It will all be rosy from now on. And than it hits you. Growth leap/ crisis/ developmental stage/ total madness – choose any name to call it. Some call it ‘terrible 2’s’ stage, but it’s even more difficult to deal with as it’s unpredictable – you never know, if it comes just after the second birthday, in 3 months or in half a year after that. It’s sneaky and sudden, just to give that extra bit of thrill to your boring parenting life.
I’ve been through this ones before. My ex-terrible-two-year-old is now an almost-grown-up-and-often-helpful-six-year-old. Somehow, between managing her milestones, giving birth to the second child and surviving two years of sleep deprivation, I completely forgot about it and this ‘terrible 2’s’ stage came completely out of the blue. My baby girl developed several adorable behaviour traits and here’re some of my favourites:
1. “Scream and shout and let it all out”
A small child throwing a tantrum, screaming, shouting, stomping feet and, in some cases, laying on the floor like a star and refusing to go. No amount of convincing and gentle talking will help you at that moment. A mother has two choices really.
A) Stand there and patiently wait for the child to cool down to the point, when he/she can actually hear what you are saying, meanwhile, surviving death stares from passersby, who are just certain that you’re an evil mother and are currently torturing this poor child. You can’t decide whether to write a poster ‘She just wants that pigeon to stand still and let her stroke it!’ or just ignore the stares and go into your happy place (in a land far far away).
B) Pick up that screaming and kicking child and stride gracefully in the required direction (all the while continuing to ignore the same death stares from passersby).
2. “By myself!”
Everything has to be done by herself now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for independent kids, but at this age some things just cannot be done by herself! Example?
Somehow, crossing a road while holding mommy’s hand just became not cool enough for my two year old. “What’s the big deal – here’s the road, there’s the shop we need to go to, I know the way, let me go!”, – she’s trying to say. Still comes out more in a way described in Point 1 above. Therefore, crossing roads became a special occasion for me – I’ve got to come up with something interesting and fascinating I need to tell my child just then and there, so she can listen to me with an open mouth and forget about being a grown up and independent woman.
3. “THIS IS MY TRAMPOLINE!!!’ or “Baby doesn’t share toys”
I’m a big fan of Friends TV series. Anyone else out there? Well, if you ever watched it, you might remember how Joey doesn’t share food. Basically, get that food sharing intolerance and apply it to all sharing in general – you’ll get an idea of what’s the deal with 2 year olds and their aggressive possessiveness.
Just recently, my little angel was jumping on a trampoline in a crowded indoor play centre. She saw other kids approaching, stood her ground and shouted ‘This is my trampoline!!!’. Ok, she shouted that in Russian, so I doubt that kids understood the words, but her look, tone and general demeanour made things pretty clear. ‘Don’t mess with me’ it said.
When toys (or trampolines) just have to be shared – all hell breaks loose and you get (you guess it) Point 1.
4. “Extreme cheekiness”
She knows, she’s not supposed to do this. She knows, she’s being naughty. But she just pretends she’s a silly blond (no offend, blond ladies – I’m blond as well and use that terminology with all the love and respect possible ;), who has no idea! Batting her eyelids, smiling and looking out of a corner of her eye – all signs are there. And then come wide-open-eyes-‘oh, no!’ look and acting-all-surprised-‘how did that happen?’ look. I suppose, this level of cheekiness might come in handy for her at a later day, but I’m not amused when she’s trying to play that card with her mother!
5. “Pretend cry”
This looks and sounds ridiculous. Imagine a baby trying to cry like an even smaller baby. Her cheekiness levels are high, but acting skills – not so much. When my older daughter saw that for the first time, she was shocked. “What’s wrong with her?”, – she was really concerned. No, all good, a baby’s asking for attention and affection. Or (what’s more often the case) for something that she’s not allowed to do or to have.
I must admit that it’s a better alternative to Point 1, though.
6. “Bossy baby”
At times, my 2 year old gets all bossy and patronising. Of course, she’s all grown up now (see Point 2). She stand in the middle of a room, hands on hips, and starts giving me a patronising speech (emphasising some key points with a pointing index finger).
Thing is, although she’s speaking already, not all the words can be properly deciphered yet, so I don’t always catch the whole deep meaning of her lectures. Nonetheless, judging by her serious look and tone, they are obviously life altering.