It was only a matter of time before it happened, and I hate to say it, but the terrible twos have well and truly arrived at the IPP household! To be honest, pre-parenthood I never really thought the terrible twos were actually a ‘thing.’ However, when N turned two only a couple of months ago he definitely ramped things up a notch or two!!
Now before I start I need to get one thing straight, N is not the devil child, although some days when he is hurling himself repeatedly into the TV screen and chucking his food across the table at me, it can most definitely seem that way! Instead, he is actually just a very (I repeat VERY) cheeky little boy, with boundless energy and a love of the lime light. If he can see the glimpse of a smile, a tiny reaction on your face, its GAME OVER!! He has an infectious grin, a strong personality that you are instantly drawn to and the likability factor that has ‘class clown’ written all over it. That paired with stubbornness that can bring you to your knees makes for a little boy who can make you laugh and cry all at the same time!
They say (whoever they may be) that you only remember the good bits. The uncomfortableness of pregnancy, the pain of labour and the tantrums of the terrible twos now seem like a blur with my first child. Maybe we easily forget these difficult periods of parenthood to trick ourselves into doing it all over again. Maybe we just block it out, too traumatised to re-live it. However, once you are back there, the memories all come rushing back and smack you square in the face. Like the smell of the maternity ward that suddenly floods your mind with memories of childbirth. Well, let me tell you, I have just had this realisation with the terrible twos.
The difference between siblings…
My oldest child will be five in September, and when I think back about life with her as a toddler I think about how so well behaved she was. I often think of her sat playing nicely with her dolls house or quietly sorting out her toys, something that N will rarely do. However, I must remember that although very different to N – in so many ways – this was NOT always my reality. When you remove those rose tinted glasses you start to remember the terrible twos did exist. The relentless screaming that left ringing in your ears, the ferocious tantrums that stopped you (and everyone else) in their tracks and the manipulation of a very clever little girl, who could speak and tell you exactly what she wanted and how she wanted it from a very young age. That said, she was, and is, a very well-behaved little girl. Friends often comment on how ‘good’ she is, how lovely she plays with others and the difference between my children.
However, children, just like all of us, are different in so many ways. Both my little ones have personalities that couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, and so the way they express themselves reflects this. That doesn’t necessarily mean that N is more naughty than R. However, it does mean that the extrovert in N makes his difficult behaviour at this stage in his life more visible. He wants it there for all to see!
Our current dilemma with the terrible twos…
So, to bring you back to the current situation I need to give you snippet of the last few weeks. N has always been a fairly good sleeper. However, as he has transitioned from baby to toddler his sleep pattern has turned slightly chaotic!! He will still nap in the day, which is a MUST. A MUST for me, as I need a break, and a must for him, as tiredness sends him hyper and hyperactivity turns to destruction!! So, one nap in the day – now down to one hour – which seems to be working. But, his night time routine is a shambles.
He will go to bed for 7pm, usually after a bath, and always following his Peppa Pig bedtime story. Sadly for us, it has to be Peppa Pig. Nothing else will do and if that’s what the boy wants, that’s what he gets (I can deal with that!) However, come 10pm he will still be up there banging around, singing and shouting at the top of his lungs and seemingly having one hell of a party! Cue 4am, he wakes up soaking wet due to the excessive amount of liquid he has consumed throughout the day, and then the party starts again. 7am, he decides it’s time to sleep, just in time for the house to wake up and start the morning routine.
Now, I know I am the parent and there are ways around this. Firstly, cut back on his fluid in-take to stop that early morning part-AY……I know. But you try telling a 2 year old he can’t have any more to drink when he is screaming ‘JUICE’ at you for the 100th time!! Then there is the variation to the bedtime routine that I thought was going to be a game changer. So, after tea I started to insist that we go on a family walk with the dogs. Not only does it help us spend some quality time together, but it gets fresh air in our lungs and lets the little ones burn off some energy, all ready for bed. However, that’s not how it goes. Instead, it doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference. N still goes home and enjoys some partying, much to our dismay. To add to all of this, last weekend N discovered he could climb out of his cot. NOOOOOOO!!!! I know my days of sleep are numbered, and a whole other drama is about to begin, but that’s not for now.
So, along with this erratic new sleep pattern, his love of smashing everything up, climbing on furniture, throwing his food repeatedly on the floor at meal times and generally not giving two shits about any consequences, you can see how I feel like a parenting fail right now. The terrible twos have yet to take the form of tantrum throwing, screaming and shouting on the floor. That just doesn’t seem to be his style. However, he has a whole other way to try and get control over situations and it’s just as draining and difficult.
So you see, we all go through it. It manifests in different ways and is played out according to their personality, but I really do believe the terrible twos is actually a ‘thing’. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and N is just pushing boundaries and seeing how far he can go. In some ways I admire him. His determination and strength of character are traits that will get him far in life. I do not want to change that, but we need to learn how to channel his energy constructively and compromise is a word I am hoping he can learn…and sharpish!! I know I will look back at this time in years to come with my rose-tinted glasses firmly in place. I will remember our cheeky little boy, full of energy and love, longing for this time again.
I would love to hear about your own experiences with the terrible twos. Have you had different experiences with your own children? Do you have any tried and tested advice of survival from one tired Mum to another? I would love to know!