Powering Through the Terrible Twos
My toddler thinks he's the boss and sometimes, I believe it.
When my son, Grey, was born, the nurses told us that he was the loudest in the nursery and to be careful with him because he had somehow figured out how to roll over in his bassinet. We hadn't even left the hospital, and my husband and I already knew that we had quite the personality on our hands. Nothing he says, does, or jumps off of surprises me anymore, but I can't help but be taken aback by his newest phase. The day Grey turned 2, he appointed himself CEO of Tyketown, Inc. and isn't holding back.
The Art of Negotiation
Millenial parents have it rough. We were born in the time of "...because I said so", but our kids are out here in this updated, free-thought society where we have to actually consider this emotional intelligence that they're developing at 3 days old. Grey is very clear about what he wants - problem is...he's 2 and has no idea what can happen to him if we allow him to do everything on his mission plan. A flat out "no" doesn't work for him in certain scenarios, and we actually found that with age 2, he's able to reason when we come to his level. Example: Instead of "No juice.", we'll say "Juice is all done. You can have water." Why? We're giving him something he desires - which in this situation is a thirst quencher - instead of having him feel like something is being taken away. Sometimes in parenting, no is no, but we've learned it does not always have to be that way, especially in this example when he can't really understand a lecture about sugar yet.
No parent is a stranger to tantrums and personally, they make me crazy! My husband is better than me at dealing with this because I have no shame in saying how absolutely mortified I am by the crap. Parents, whatever you feel the need to do to cut it off, go ahead - I'm not judging you and I stand in solidarity with you. For us, we don't give in to whatever it is that he's screaming for. We'll either let him act a fool until he realizes no one is paying attention or simply remove him so that innocent bystanders don't have to deal with it. But he's not getting what he wants. Period. We don't want him to learn that carrying on is rewarded.
In Grey's mind, he's in charge. He calls the shots. He is the President of The United States of Huggies and that's it! This one is tricky, because he doesn't actually understand what being bossy means - he's just doing it. He directs us to sit down when he wants us to stay put in a room with him, put on our shoes when its time to leave, or "stop it" when he's done playing. We get that a lot in this category is him repeating directions that he receives from us without understanding that we're the parents and he's the child. This category is where we try to cut him some slack knowing that as he matures we'll be able to teach him to ask "Can you stay with me?", express "I'm all ready.", and let us know "I don't want to play anymore." without it being an order.
Supporting The Cause
He's only 2 and I don't want him to be anything else but that. The good thing about this phase is that we're learning exactly what he's into and cultivating his interests is really important to us. His energy is always on 100 and we don't want to punish him for it. If it's not going to hurt him or destroy/deface something, we'll let him try it. We'll read the same book 10 times in a row (his current favorite is I Will Surprise My Friend), chase him around until we're exhausted, have him make his clothing and food choices when possible, and just let Grey be Grey.
I think the most terrible part of the "Terrible Twos" is realizing that your baby is letting you know that he/she won't be a baby for much longer. Enjoy the time, because most of it is funny as hell.