Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Terrible Two's

I have time to blog. That is unheard of. I could talk about anything, anything at all. Hmmm....

Hazel turned 2 last month. When people hear how old she is, they immediately inform me that I have reached "the terrible two's"—then they go about their day with a sense of purpose. As if they have told me something that I didn't already know.

The two's aren't terrible, not anymore terrible than the stretch between 18-23 months. The tantrums aren't more pronounced, the meltdowns aren't happening more often, the world hasn't ended yet. That isn't to say that there aren't days where terrible would be used to describe them. Those days do happen. But I don't look at the age of 2 as being terrible. It is just different.

They are different because now you have a fearless 2 year-old trying to do lots of things they couldn't do before. There are going to be more bumps, bruises, scraps, scratches, and kisses on boo-boos. Learning will be happening every step of the way and their willingness to help shouldn't be ignored. These are exhausting days.

The ugly head of the terrible two's usually comes to play when we parents forget that we are raising a toddler.  When we treat them like they are still 6 months old and can be hauled about without much resistance, than that is when things tend to get ugly. If I forget to tell Hazel why we are getting in the car, where we are headed, what we will be doing next, etc—there will be a tantrum. And it will happen at every stop and in every store until I remember that she deserves to know what we are doing and not just expected her to deal with it.

To counter that, I try to talk to Hazel every morning about the fun things we are going to do. Last week we were going to go to Greenbrier State Park to play. When I told Hazel, she didn't want to go. She wanted to paint. Hazel loves playing in the water and adores sand. But on this particular day, she didn't want to go to the lake. She wanted to paint. And so we painted and then spent the early afternoon with Poppy (my dad). They had a blast! It was a great day. It could have been a terrible day if I had forced Hazel to do an activity she didn't want to do. We ended up going to Greenbrier the next day and Hazel loved her time playing in the water.

In my opinion, if random strangers want to tell me what it is like to raise a 2 year old, I would prefer that they stick with the topic of potty training—because that is terrible! And bribery is really the only option.