by Jillian Livingston
I really would like to know who termed the phrase, "Terrible Twos". The
terminology does not apply to boys or girls at the age of two. In my experience, parenting "terrible twos" is a lot of fun.
Two year olds are the cutest, most precious, lovable creatures on earth. They have
huge, innocent smiles revealing a minimal amount of baby teeth. They love to throw their hands into the air and
make gleeful, adorable noises that need to be boxed and sold at a high price to the movie industry. They are kissed
to death by their family and love every minute of it. They put their little heads down with their bottoms in the
air and hug their attached toy or blankie when they are tired. They are scrumptious, delicious, soft and round with
rosy cheeks and most of all, they love their parents.
Than suddenly WAM they turn into three and a half year olds and all bets are
off. This is perhaps where the terminology should apply in my experience, if maybe changed to Terrible Threes,
instead of terrible twos.
When they're two, they're most adorable and love their parents
At three and a half, they are deceiving because they still have their big, round
faces and look like little edible cherubs but they turn into screaming Whirling Dervishes at the drop of a hat. It
is time for them to try to do everything on their own.
Were we warned of this? It's not as if we are given a time line to follow when the
child is born which prepares us for each passing phase.
If there were a timeline I could forewarn Wade that the independent phase is
approaching. We would start practicing our patience and train ourselves to include an extra three hours in the day
to allow them to practice buckling their own car seat, put their shoes on their wrong feet, make their own
breakfast, push the shopping cart etc.
Strangers do not make handling toddlers any easier. Once, on the ferry to
Nantucket I asked Brevitt if he was done with his “wemonade”. He said yes and so I stupidly but happily drank the
last sip. Big mistake, his behavior astounded everybody. I overheard a passenger ask if somebody could throw that
kid off the boat and I couldn't blame him. In fact, that thought had just crossed my mind.
|Encourage your child's independence and
creativity early on, when they start playing with toys. Get them to do simple, yet important
things on their own.
Things have gotten more tolerable with Tucker since he hit the age of four. Our
new challenge is to teach him to stop screaming. We are all very accommodating to our spoiled third child for if we
upset him we will suffer the brain-piercing scream that leaves our ears ringing for hours. We tell him that if he
continues to scream at us we will soon all be deaf and than he will be SOL. That just makes him scream
The good news is that he now puts on his own shoes and has mastered buckling the
car seat. In addition, he has started to cook with me, wash the dishes, set the table and unload the groceries. The
chores are performed slower and with less efficiency but they do get done and I love having an adorable boy
attached at my hip who wants to help me. I have had enough time, after three boys, to practice my patience and I am
able to slow down and appreciate my four year old and all that comes with his age.
My advice to all of this? Don’t be manipulated by your toddler. When he/she
demands TV or candy first thing in the morning, do not give in to them. Ride out the impossibly irritating melt
downs and calmly let them know who is boss. Give them their options for food and be creative for play
As your child grows, it will become more independent, but also demanding. Be firm
and show who's the boss.
As for television, it only turns them into uncreative, bored, mindless, whiny
monsters when they are through with watching. You may get that blessed hour to yourself but you will pay for it
Get the blocks or the trains out for them or put on a CD that plays their favorite
music or story. After all, they are smart but you are older and wiser.
Don’t be lazy. Take the time to listen and communicate. Once you start on this
path you and your child will be a lot happier.
Hopefully with this advice you'll make it through the terrible twos, threes
and fours, enjoying the life, your children growth, and all that life offers with it.
About the Author
Jillian Livingston writes a daily humorous account of raising three young boys - Isdisnormal.com. Her blog is
an optimistic guide for mothers and fathers. It helps them to realize the positive and humorous aspects of raising