The “Terrible” Twos

I hear screaming from the living room: “I can’t DO IT!”

This is accompanied by minor thunking sounds and whispers of voices from the movie she’s supposed to be watching. After a few minutes she calms herself and bits and pieces of toddler singsong waft their way to my ears, floating along on her happiness, encouraged by her movie dialog.

The “Terrible Twos” are only terrible for the toddlers who wake one day to find themselves irretrievably embedded in life’s quandaries, which they are now old enough to feel, yet not ready to understand and conquer. Abigail is ready to do things herself and express her needs and wants…but doesn’t always know the word for the big feeling she’s having or the correct phrase for the idea she has (and she has many).

She can run like the wind, yet sometimes stumbles over her toes for no reason. She can climb onto chairs after pushing them to a better vantage point…yet doesn’t understand the concept of physics and falls if she isn’t balanced properly and doesn’t grasp why she can stand on a stool or a chair, but not on her wagon or stroller or anything else with wheels.

She understands positive reinforcement and doesn’t appreciate negative reinforcement, but seems to somehow be content with either. She knows her feelings get hurt sometimes  and when we express displeasure at something she has said or done she will hang her head, pout, and apologize.

Recognizing that other people have feelings and that it’s no fun when your feelings get hurt, and being able to apologize — those are some very grown up concepts crammed into that little body.

She’s torn between being a fully functional person and a dependent brand new human being. She’s walking a fine line between “grown up” and “baby girl.” She is inundated with new ideas, new words, new thoughts, and new games and is able to take everything in and process it and chalk it up to living another day in this crazy world.

Understandably, she gets overwhelmed sometimes. Sometimes I feel the same way (and I have a vocabulary, motor skills and mental capacity to handle it). Sometimes I get tired and worn down and just need a hug.

So when my toddler is showing signs of the “terrible twos” I sit down beside her and stroke her hair until she calms down. Sometimes she sits on my lap. Other times she leans her forehead against my face (her version of “kiss me?”). We snuggle until the crisis has passed and she will return to the beautiful, smart, awesome little person she was born to be. That is the moment I am so happy to be her mommy.

 

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