The terrible twos.
Are you cringing yet?
You’ve been hearing about them since before you even thought about having kids of your own, but you’ve dreaded them all these years. That second birthday is looming ever closer, and you’re just waiting for your toddler to turn into the crazy, tantrum-throwing monster that everyone says is inevitable.
But, I have news for you. There is nothing magical (or cursed, if you prefer) about age two. Yes, it’s a tough age. Yes, you will deal with tantrums. But, you’ve probably already been dealing with them and you’ll continue to deal with tantrums in one form or another for many years after two.
These poor two-year-olds get a really bad rap for all the challenges they present, but two years old is actually a really fun age. No one ever talks about that though.
Little Brother turns two later this week, and since this is my second time through the two-year-old gauntlet, I wanted to share with you the BEST things about being a mom of a two-year-old…the things no one ever tells you about.
What No One Tells You About Two-year-olds
- He is gaining independence. Sure, that means that I hear “I do do!” at least 500 times a day, but it also means that when I ask him where his shoes are, he can often go find them and bring them to me. He can get his own spoon out of the drawer to eat his yogurt. He can climb into his car seat by himself (even if it takes five minutes because he gets distracted by the child safety lock on the door). As much as this I-can-do-it-myself phase can be infuriating because they really can’t do some of the things they want to, I love watching my two-year-old gain confidence in himself as he masters new skills.
- He is learning to express his needs and wants. You know those tantrums that people always talk about? They often stem from frustration over not feeling understood. But, as kids learn to express themselves verbally, they can more often use words instead of whining, crying, and pointing. I’m loving that my two-year-old is developing the vocabulary to more effectively tell me how I can help him–actually making tantrums less frequent because he’s not so frustrated. Plus, their early attempts at rudimentary sentences are really cute. My favorite? My two-year-old will randomly look up at me when we’re shopping at the store and say “Hug now?” and reach for me. It’s a little awkward when he wants hugs every ten seconds while I’m trying to push a cart through the frozen food section, but we make it work. It’s also pretty amazing to hear your little guy say things like “Mommy stay me” or “Tanks (thanks) Mom!”
- He is becoming a team player…sometimes. Up until age two, most kids just play beside each other in the same room, but they don’t really engage with one another. But around age two, they start to play more cooperatively, which makes playtime much more fun (and challenging). This gets tricky when your little one wants to “play” with his brother by knocking down his tower, but it is also fun as they start to understand the concept of taking turns, kicking a ball back and forth, and playing chase.
- He has a great sense of humor. Is there anything better than the impish grin on the face of a toddler who knows he just did something silly and is waiting for your reaction? Their giggles are contagious, and it doesn’t take much to get them laughing. One of my two-year-old’s favorite books right now is Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton (affiliate link), where the silly turkey can’t seem to put his clothing on the right part of his body. Things that are out of order (like putting a shoe on your head) are hilarious to two-year-olds because they love that they KNOW it’s wrong. They’re showing their increasing knowledge of the world through their reaction (read more). But forget all the cool child development facts…I just love his belly laugh.
- His imagination is soaring. By their second birthdays, toddlers often begin to play their first “pretend” games by acting out everyday actions they’ve seen adults do (read more). It cracks me up to see my little guy put on his super pouty face, and trot around with a little dino toy asking, “Where Mommy?” When he finds the “mommy” (which is usually not the same species of dinosaur), they hug and there are lots of “Awww”s to be had. He pretends to cook me food, acts out stories we’ve read, and impersonates every animal at the zoo. This little boy who was such a concrete thinker has had a whole new world of possibilities opened to him, and it’s pretty amazing to watch.
There’s no doubt that two-year-olds are challenging, but just like anything else in life, you make the choice as to whether you’re going to remember the good or the bad. Nothing lasts forever. Not the tantrums, not the picky eating, and not (thankfully) the potty training. But the sweet things about toddlers won’t last either: not the way they snuggle into your lap for storytime, not their nonsense songs in the backseat of the car, and not their intense curiosity about roly-pollies.
So, enjoy the “terrible” twos. They’ll be gone before you know it, and they have a lot of adventure and laughter to offer if you’re willing to see it.
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