I’m ok with the term “terrible twos” because it’s meant to be humorous, which I can appreciate. It comes from parents who say it in a “I adore my child but he’s driving me nuts”, kind of way. For the record, my kids are little angels who can do no wrong. So I chose “terrific twos” for the title, instead. And let’s just say I fully understand where “terrible twos” comes from…
My two are now 21 months old and the past few weeks have progressed rather interestingly. My son has increased his temper tantrum rate by oh I don’t know, 1000 percent. He is sweet and cuddly and gives kisses one minute. Then he bites, arches his back, and throws himself on the ground the very next. I don’t talk to a lot of parents with young children and it has occurred to me that parents with older children must have forgotten the way their kids acted when they were one and two years old because to their recollection their kids “never did that”. I may soon be repressing these memories, as well, believe me.
Anyway, I have been watching my son lately with my worried shades on thinking, “aauugh, what if something is wrong with him! He can’t hear me say the word no without flipping out!” The other day his dramatic behavior prompted me to check his blood sugar. He was a perfect 85 on the meter and didn’t even bat an eye at the finger prick. He must have been observing me well because he licked the blood right off his finger like I do after testing. The very qualities in him of fast learning and intense longing for independence seem to fuel his frustrations. He doesn’t just want in the kitchen to play on the floor. Pots and pans are not enough. Playing in the fridge (look, I get desperate) isn’t enough. He wants to help me cook the food. The other day I gave him a spatula and he stirred the lamb stew gently like a pro. I turn to check on his sister and find her dancing, jumping, and spinning in circles in the living room. She almost trips over a toy but catches herself from falling and exclaims, “I did it!”
Today after two hours of tantruming, I joined my son on the floor in a river of our tears. It was overwhelming because I needed to test and I needed to change his diaper and my daughter’s and I needed to pee and I needed to feed them lunch. Usually when her brother does his thing, my daughter goes off and plays on her own and lets me hold him. It’s like she understands he needs mommy and that mommy’s hands are full. I hadn’t finished my lunch when this all began so I gave her my plate of chicken, mushrooms, and brown rice and she used my utensil to feed herself like a lady. I was so proud.
When my husband got home I hopped online and looked up stages of development in toddlers. Apparently the “terrible twos” is a developmental stage that can start as early as 18 months and the description of what children might do is pretty much a description of all the fun we’ve been having with our son lately. Sigh. All normal stuff. I think what amplifies the situation for me is the fact that I have two of the same age and type 1 diabetes. It’s a lot to handle while dad is at work 12 hours a day. And we can’t leave the apartment all day because we’re on the 3rd floor and these tantrums come unexpectedly.
Once, I was attempting to take the kids to the car for a ride and I couldn’t even lock the apartment door. I tried with my teeth but no can do (I had to hold on to two kids). Then I thought, “Oh well, this is a nice neighborhood” and left the door unlocked and then tried getting down the stairs with the kids but one wanted to pick up a salt crystal (the toxic ones from winter) and the other was tumbling down the stairs while holding my hand, dragging me along. Then, because I felt vulnerable I started thinking, “I wonder if my blood sugar is getting low” and since I couldn’t get one to come down the stairs and the other to stop falling down the stairs I settled on that it was too dangerous to attempt. I had juice with me but how was I going to drink it with my hands tied anyway? I got them back up the stairs which took a ridiculous amount of time, resulted in a bloody knee for me, and we haven’t ventured out alone since.
This age is really fun, there are a billion cute moments during the day, and my husband and I love them so very much. But. They are driving me nuts. I’m literally singing the “I Will Survive” song in my head right now.