P turns two at the end of this month but the “terrible twos” have been with us for about the last three months. Overall I think she’s been quite good but we’ve had some really rough days. I think its been a combination of teething (it started again a month ago) and just her developmental stage.
P has definitely reached a point where she wants to exert HER control. If she doesn’t get what she wants then she’ll throw a tantrum. These go along the lines of her throwing herself on the floor to throwing things all over the floor, ie crayons, toys, food. Or another behavior is that she starts to cry but doesn’t know what she wants. She’ll ask for milk, for example. I bring her milk, she throws a fit. She’ll try to slap the milk out of my hands and says no, she wants water. I bring her water she doesn’t want it either.
These tantrums aren’t isolated. If the day starts like this, it ends like this. For some time the tantrums were happening on Fridays, like clockwork. Ironic because when P was teething as an infant it would also happen every Friday. She started teething at 3 months and didn’t get her first tooth until 9 months. For six months I pretty much knew Fridays were going to be awful. Fridays got awful again.
The awful days started slowly. Then they got consistent, almost daily, and now they seem to be tapering off. P will also swing from one extreme on one day to the complete opposite on the next. There are moments when I’m sitting with her and she’s very verbal and eloquent. I can reason with her. She is understanding relationships between events, things and people. I could be with a four year old she’s so good. These days are starting to come more often. THANK GOD!
This whole experience is tough because I feel part of it is beyond her control but another part is entirely in her control. I see her awareness of what she is doing and how its pushing my buttons. Its so hard not to get upset. It’s also hard not to fall into the same behaviors of my parents. I’m trying to be better. Drawing the line of understanding and discipline is hard.
We’ve done sign language with P since she was an infant. She hasn’t taken to it. We’ve read “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”. It helps a lot but there are still tough days and none of the advice calms the fire. Music has helped. I started playing music, instruments (terribly) and dancing at home and it soothed the tantrums. We’ve been going to a weekly music class and that has also lessened the bad days. It just is what it is: the terrible twos.
Here’s a classic story of how P tries to exert her will and push boundaries. We were at the Zoo. She started climbing up a bank with plants. There was a sign with an icon reading “No stepping”.
Me: P, it says no stepping, please come down. Let me show you sign. (I show her sign. She looks at it.)
P: Oooh no stepping! (she continues to climb)
Me: P, I said no stepping. Come down.
She comes down and starts to go up another area.
Me: Remember, no listen, no walk. In stroller. You want to walk. Come down. No step.
She comes down and starts to stand on the median.
Me: No stepping!
P: No stepping. I jumping.
And she starts jumping off median. Secretly I am happy she’s finding a loophole. But there are other instances when I’m too exhausted, too late or too flustered to see her genius in the process.
That’s a little glimpse into our day.