Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Is Tough

Two, or twenty-five months anyway, is proving a little tough.

We are doing lots of limit testing.

First thing when I walk in the door with my bike, Calliope and Eleanor come running to meet me. Eleanor chirps excitedly, "Hi Abby!" while Calliope takes one look at me and starts emitting high pitched screeches. Which she knows I hate.

I try to ignore this and distract them by peppering them with questions.

A few days ago they were playing with the toy kitchen. I showed them how to rotate the plate inside the toy microwave to make it rotate. They were doing rather well taking turns, without instruction from me, when Calliope started tugging on Eleanor's dress and making moves to push her.

I cautioned her, "Calliope, we don't push. Please let go of Eleanor's dress."

She looked at me with callous disregard, and continued tugging on Eleanor.

"C'mon Calliope. Let's take a break." I took her hand and she willingly followed me to the living room to the Take A Break Chair. I put her in the chair, and sat down right in front of the chair with my back to her. She slid out of the chair once, but otherwise didn't fight me.

After a minute, I said, "okay, are you ready to play now?"

She shook her head and pressed her face into the chair cushions. And there she stayed for the next five minutes, ignoring my invitations to come play with Eleanor and me. Finally Eleanor and I went to Calliope's room and the sound of stories being read to eventually lulled her out of the chair to join us.

She even asks for time outs! My weird child.

Today, getting her ready for a nap, I asked if she wanted to wear socks. She refused to answer. After asking several times, I said, "I'm going to count to three, and then Mommy is going to decide for you."

I counted to three, she ignored me, and then I started to put on one of two pairs of socks lying out. They were mostly on when she started crying, "no! red ones!".

Okay, fine. You wouldn't even answer me before, but I don't feel like having a battle, so I will take off the white socks and put on the red ones. Anything to avoid (another) meltdown.

You guessed it. Cue meltdown. "No! White ones!"

I put my sobbing child, complete with red socks, into her crib.


She does things like climb onto the end tables, then give me a devilish look. As if to make sure Mommy is paying attention to the fact that she is breaking the rules.

Sometimes she stands on her chair in the kitchen and asks brightly, "Sit down please?"

To which I wearily reply, "Yes, Calliope. Sit down please."

I love my child, but my god, these daily exchanges are wearing me out. I know I've been endlessly lucky with her, so I suppose I have no right to complain.

But I'm really hoping my nicely compliant child will return someday. Surely it's not like this forever?


  1. Right there with you!

    Last night, at an outdoor restaurant and play area, I firmly but gently removed M's hands from the rim of a big trash can. She ran back over to it, looked over at me gleefully to ensure I saw, and put her mouth on the rim!

    Tonight she was furious about having the shampoo rinsed out of her hair in the tub and lashed out at me with a little plastic bath net, enough to bruise my hand. She said sorry when prompted, but jeez!

    When not testing boundaries or reacting with rage to her will being circumvented, she's actually quite fun to be around! :)

    Sounds like you are handling it beautifully, though...hang in there, Abby!

    1. Wow, putting her mouth on the public trash can! So clever! Brilliantly designed to REALLY piss Mommy off.

      Calliope would be totally impressed.

      It's good to know we are together in the trenches.

      Where does this devilish impulse come from???

  2. I'm terrified of two... Jordyn already runs away from me when she knows she has something that she shouldn't be playing with, or when I ask her to hand me what she's holding, etc. Oh yeah, and laughs at the same time! She'll hold a piece of food out to "share" with me, and while she sometimes lets me take it from her hand, sometimes just as I lean in to take it (with my mouth), she pulls it back and puts it in her own mouth... while laughing. Very obviously teasing me on purpose!

    So, yeah. While I'm not dealing with the "terrible twos" quite yet, I can see we're well on our way. If you figure out something that works, please let me know! Hang in there. This too shall pass!

    1. Well, if it makes you feel any better, in some ways I found 18 months harder. At least I can [sometimes] reason with her. It's just that the issues that set her off are more surprising now.

  3. I keep trying to imagine what 2 will be like in our house. Felix already looks at me and shakes his head "no" while he does something he's no supposed to. When he pulls my hair and I very seriously tell him "No, that hurts mommy!" He laughs and laughs. I've even tried turning my back on him like you do when training a puppy that got too rough, but it doesn't work.

  4. It is rough--but no (and know) it doesn't last forever. Choose your battles wisely--you'll be exhausted if you try to win them all.

  5. Not forever! There's a great theory about kids going nuts around their birthdays and half-birthdays. Whenever my kids start acting up I realize we are in that three month space around a birthday or half-birthday. There are good phases and bad phases. I don't know when it gets better forever. Sounds like you are doing great, keeping you cool!

    1. that's good to know! i noticed that 18 months and 24 months were definitely the hardest, and then it's gotten a bit easier again. phew!

  6. It does get better, I promise...but then it gets worse...but it then always gets better. That's the nature of toddlers, I guess. Lara offers excellent advice about picking your battles. I know with Elena that she becomes more compliant when she feels she's "won" a bunch of times.

  7. It gets better. Then they turn three and it gets far, far worse than two ever was. Like pull your hair out worse. Then it gets better again.

  8. Like others have said, it comes and it won't be like this the entire year! But it won't be easy for the entire year once it does get easier. I just spent the morning ignoring a boring lecture and rereading parts of the Happiest Toddler on the Block. A lot of his techniques worked for us in the past, but I'd gotten away from them - and he's grown into a few new ones. Will be back on track with using them this week and see how it goes! (In case you didn't guess, we're in a rough phase right now, too. lol)

    1. I need to re-read that. I also requested Playful Parenting from the library again. I read it when C was about one and I think it's more relevant now. He recommends being silly a lot, to deal with issues, and I have to say it does work wonders. But I don't remember the techniques beyond that.