When the twos become terrible

  Today I was remembering fondly back to when Lily was two. The hubby and I kept looking at each other and saying, “The twos aren’t so terrible, I don’t know what everyone is talking about.” Now, we got a bit of stuff in the threes, don’t get me wrong, but the twos were actually quite pleasant.

And then there was Hannah. I think God challenges you with the second just in case you happened to get cocky about your superior parenting skills when you have the first. If we put ourselves on any pedestal (which for the record I tried really hard not to do cause I have seen this theory play itself out with more seasoned parents than I), Hannah has knocked us off squarely onto our little tooshies.

Let me start off with the positives. And there are really quite a lot. She has such a great sense of humor and keeps us all laughing. She is finally beginning to show signs of talking. She adores her sister and plays quite nicely with her most of the time. She even will come over and hug and kiss her if she sees her remotely upset. And she is quite loving and snuggly with us too. Ok, so really she is a delight. She is kind of like that little girl in that poem.

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good she was very very good
And when she was bad she was horrid

Except I don’t like the word horrid. That seems a bit harsh. So let’s go with, when she is bad she is quite naughty (that phrase should most definitely be said with a strong British accent a la Super Nanny). Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind the naughty if it was contained to the privacy of my own home. Cause that isn’t anything that a few hours of time out and a couple glasses of wine can’t fix (for me not Hannah…well the time out is for Hannah…ok, maybe me).

But lately whenever we are out in public I get the full on tantrum. She yells something delightful like “No Mama!!” (why oh why did I will this child to talk?) Flails her arms a bit usually connecting with me in the process. If she is anywhere near the ground, throws herself on it. Legs begin kicking, body resumes flailing. Or if it isn’t a full tantrum we get the lower lip out so far it looks like it might fall off. Sometimes stomping.

Now, let me be clear, we have had her hearing checked and it is completely normal. But I think there must be certain ranges that she just doesn’t hear. Like when the hubby or I say, stop, or no, or even just her name, these must be completely out of her range of hearing. Actually, it isn’t so much that they are out of her hearing range, but more that they activate some internal “fight or flight” mechanism. Cause that seems to be what happens. For fight, see above. The flight…well, it is usually accompanied by a devilish look over her shoulder as she is running away.

It seems as though this leaves me with 2 choices. Stay inside until she turns 3 or maybe to be on the safe side 4. Or…actually I am not sure what the second choice is. A well stocked wine rack?


  1. You mean there are other good Mommies that go through this?
    Reading this to myself I instantly thought of Super Nanny when you said “Very Naughty”

    Marys last blog post..Manic Monday?

  2. Once again we have the same life, only my first perfectly-behaved child is a boy. Sophie is SUCH the same way. She makes me crazy! Bobby and I were just complaining on Sunday how annoying it is when we say her name 45 times in a row and she acts like she doesn’t hear us!

  3. Kathryn says:

    As I read this I have a 15 year old blubbering in time out. Yep, that was “years”, not “months”.

    She threw a tantrum about not getting to go to the Gap as planned due to fussing and not following through on a commitment. According to her I am “… heartless, cruel, and the worst mother in the world!”

    In case no one has mentioned it to y’all. You get to live through the toddler years twice. First when they are around 2-4 and then, again, when they become teenagers.

    I know my Sweet Angel is in there … somewhere. Until she emerges from her slumber I need to give the hormonal diva inhabiting her body lots of love and firm boundaries.

  4. Isn’t it nice to know that you seem perfect, and I have to rely on your blog for vignettes to show me that you’re not?

    OK, having been through that age range…3 times now…I have some great reminders for you.

    ~Love and Logic–it really is magic. And they completely understand what you’re saying…those little boogers.

    ~”The hold” for tantrums–which is really a great big hug that contains flailing arms, legs, and head whilst whispering into said child’s ear your love and acceptance of the child, your understanding of their anger, and letting them know you will hold them and keep them and yourself safe until they are ready to be calm. Or what they call in the south, “sweet”. I just did a “hold” in Costco last week. Yes, people stared, but I think it’s better than the ring of onlookers that forms around a tantruming child left to ‘flail it out’.
    ~Paradoxical interventions–aka being silly, distracting, or redirecting child’s focus in a positive and playful manner. Singing your directions in a silly operatic voice. “Llllllliam…pick up (brum, brum) your JeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeeeEEEEEEEp!”
    ~When they “don’t hear”–I’ve had my kids choose a ‘new name’ for themselves during the day when they aren’t responding. i.e.–“hmmm Ellison, you can’t seem to hear me when I call you Elli, so what name can I call you that you will hear me? Oh, Holly Hobbie? OK, so each time I call you ‘Holly Hobbie’ you will hear me and say, “yes, mom” or listen to what I say or come to me directly…” etc. It works, and they get sick of it and want their name back.
    ~Train up your child- when they fail at a task, have them practice. Again, just a week ago I spent an extra few minutes in the church parking lot with L and E WALKING with me to and from the van. AND holding my hands. I pretended to be a drill sergeant and we practiced until they got it down. (Or at least until I was so hot and hungry I was ready to go home)

  5. Nicole says:

    Sorry to hear of the tantrums kicking in. I have been blessed with an angel of a child that listens to every word that escapes my mouth. Hitting and kicking, I would not have any idea what that would be like to handle. I have “heard” that all children go through this…. wait, I think I am waking up from my dream.

    I am sorry that the tantrums are in public, I have been fortunate enough that our tantrums have been exclusive to our home (to date). Mostly when I am pleading with him to come inside to eat. I love the flailing tantrum that takes him really close to the street – as cars are zooming by. Lovely! My advice, which I cannot wait until baby 2 is born, is wine, wine and more wine. I like to offer advice that I too follow…

  6. chanelireli says:

    I wish the tantrums went away. My preteen has started up with the tantrums again, except she has a little bit of reasoning logic. I hear year 22 is great :)

  7. Rachel says:

    You are speaking to my heart today! I had a tantrum of tantrums to deal with this morning. Mine is 2 1/2, and I cannot wait for her to grow out of this. Thankfully mine usually confines her tantrums to the house. If she starts a fit in public (usually at a restaurant) she goes outside with Mommy and we talk until she’s calmed down and ready to go back in on promises of good behavior. So far this has worked but I’m just waiting for the day she realizes she can lie to me in this situation to get what she wants.

    I’m glad you are counting your blessings for the good behavior with your older daughter. Our neighbor has the same deal, only the ages are reversed. Her 6 month old baby is so easygoing, and she thinks he is her reward for having a Tasmanian Devil for a 2 year old.

  8. I feel your pain. My 22 month old beats up on her older brother and sister daily and screetches (she’s not great at talking yet) when she wants to get a word in edgewise. She can be so sweet though and she totally completes our family.

    Candace (Mama Mia)s last blog post..I’m So Proud Of My Boy

  9. nicolerenae says:

    I have wondered many times why I’ve bothered to leave my house. I want my kids to learn how to behave in public and not be totally sheltered, but many times I come home frustrated and embarrassed. But, at least all the other parents can relate. My oldest is the best at making a show in public, and I’m afraid my younger two will learn from him!

  10. I have no advice. I haven’t hit this stage yet with Emma although I see glimpses of the terrible twos every once in a while. Sometimes she will cry loudly in the store or restaurant and I just get really embarrassed. I can’t wait for the tantrums.

    Julies last blog post..This is love

  11. My first two children weren’t naughty like that until they turned four. That’s hard to swallow b/c you know everyone is thinking “Shouldn’t they be past THAT by now?”

    My third child was naughty in utero. I wish I were kidding. We knew we were in big trouble.

    jubilees last blog post..Tribute Tuesday

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