I remember a long time ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, being warned by all of my parent friends about what was to come. “Enjoy them while they are young,” they would say, “Once they hit the terrible twos, you will know about it!” I nodded and smiled, and made sympathetic noises, but I never really believed any of those horror stories. My baby was going to be a little angel, the darling model child that would charm everybody. And she was. She did everything she was supposed to, at exactly the right times, and with only a few small niggles along the way. Even as a toddler, she was adorable. Most of the time.
Now, I am well and truly eating humble pie, and boy am I sorry for being such a smug so-and-so around my friends whose children were, shall we say, rather difficult to handle as toddlers! My daughter is four now, and she is a little diva. I don’t know what happened. Her birthday was in January, so her behaviour has taken a while to change. But now she shouts, she stamps her feet, she slams doors, and she even smacks me in sheer frustration and anger when she gets really worked up. I have seen her push her baby sister over, drag her away from toys, snatch things away from her, and as for our dog, well, he can do nothing right when she is in one of her moods.
I think it must be related to her growing up. We are talking about going to ‘big’ school in September, and only last week did we discover who her new teachers will be, when her dad and I visited the school for our very first parents’ evening (that’s a topic for another post). She is aware that her routine is about to change quite dramatically, and naturally she is a little anxious about it. She is also exerting her independence, and quite frankly, a lot of the time she just does it for attention. The shouting and stamping helps her to release whatever is bothering her emotionally, and afterwards we have kisses and cuddles, and I have my darling child back for a while. Until the process begins again, usually at mealtimes.
Oh, and the terrible twos? That does happen. It is happening right now, with my younger daughter. Just last week I had to deal with a double meltdown (tantrums, tears and screaming), when we walked through the front door after a day at preschool and dance class. The four year-old was clowning around, fell over and banged her knees hard on the metal door strip as I opened the door. The dog ran away when I unclipped his lead, and he took himself for a walk up the road. Our toddler tried to follow him out of the door, and she screamed when I picked her up and said no. Cue twenty minutes of chaos while I tried to decide which child to comfort first, and whether I should go and retrieve the dog. He came back soon enough. We all calmed down. Life goes on…
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