Two used to be my favourite number. Now it has become my biggest challenge! Not because I have two children, but because my eldest has hit the wonderful, but challenging age of two and a bit. Every parent I had met had warned me about the ‘terrible two’ stage, but I have to admit to thinking ‘it can’t be all that bad’. A colleague reminisced how her wonderful son and completely changed character overnight when they were two. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘I’m sure my child couldn’t change that much’?!….
It is not as though my child has turned into a demon or anything, but he is most definitely testing boundaries. What creates the biggest challenge is that it is not on a consistent basis. Instead it can be for a fun five minutes or an annoying afternoon. Yesterday, I realised I had become ‘that’ parent saying to a visiting friend and her two children that ‘he’s not normally like this’ as my son continued to play up (and not in a good way). If I was her, I would not believe me. I could say though with hand on heart that the day before he had been an absolute angel.
I can put the difference down to lack of sleep, hunger, having his home turf (i.e. own toys) invaded or a mix of them all, but to be honest it was probably just his day to be a bit of a devil. He went to sleep quickly and quietly that night, while I fretted, feeling angry and stressed reliving the entire day to see what I could have done differently. Was I too strict / too lenient / too slow to react / too fast to judge / etc. etc.?
I’m sure many other parents have experienced this and I’m even more sure that every two year old is as confused as their parent as to what makes them tick. The process of growing up, dealing with floods of hormones and body changes, as well as all the new things to learn (speech, manners, boundaries, toilet training, the list goes on) must be overwhelming – I think I would have more than my own fair share of funny fives minutes – in fact I’m sure my mother could confirm it! I guess this is just another aspect of being a parent that I’ll learn by doing. I can only hope though that I learn some lessons for when my second child hits the same stage.
I continue to be in awe of my children – how quickly they develop and watching how they view the new things they encounter in life from the minor to major elements. Sometimes I’m not sure who learns more about themselves – my children or me!
As always, please do share your top tips and experiences – it all helps!