There are a couple of things people don’t tell you about parenthood, my favorites being: morning sickness doesn’t only happen in the morning, and the “terrible twos” don’t always wait until 2.
Reid and I were never naive about this phase of Sloan’s development, but it is different. We made it through the four-month sleep regression, teething, starting solid foods, and a very brief “no, Mama” stage. But this… this is a whole other ballgame, my friends.
It seems like overnight Sloan’s brain underwent a complete rewire and created, well, what’s a nice word for monster?
Okay, so she isn’t that bad, but holy Hannah it is rough.
The tantrums are amplified, the defiance is constant, and the calming tactics we used to rely so heavily on work as well as hand-feeding a shark.
SOLITUDE ISN’T SCARY
There are times Sloan will shut herself in her room and stay there until she feels like being around us again. This isn’t a bad thing. Let them decide what calms them down, whether it be a hug from you or a few minutes in their room by themselves.
Not only are things like throwing food, and winding up to hit Reid and me when she’s mad added to our daily routine, but things have disappeared in the chaos that is toddlerhood. Things like nice morning cuddle sessions and her fondness for reading an entire book without ripping the pages out have dissipated.
Things that melted my heart and left me reeling at the thought of her growing up have seemingly evaporated into thin air.
Now I find myself anxiously awaiting the next, less aggressive, chapter. Or, at least, I had been until this past weekend.
We spent the weekend in Huron, for my grandfather’s funeral. We had family come from all over, and Sloan definitely got her fill of being the center of attention, most of which was well-deserved, I may add.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
+ It’s never too early to start teaching children. Don’t let the latest baby book dictate how and when your child can start learning.
+ Throwing themselves on the floor in a fit of rage is something most kids will do once or twice. Try to remember it is unavoidable and may not have a solution. My advice? Make sure your little one is on a soft surface and practice deep breathing.
+ Don’t hold on to what used to work. New feelings require new actions, so keep trying and you are sure to find something that works for you and your nugget.
She was riding around in tractors and dancing to old country music and eating way too many chips when someone came up to me and commented on how great she was.
It was more than the usual, “Wow, she’s so cute and looks just like you.” They specifically mentioned how smart she was and how well-behaved she was, especially in a new environment surrounded by new people.
It was then, staring out at the farm I spent many summer days exploring, that I realized how ungrateful I had been in the previous weeks.
I had been conditioned by other parents, society, and birthing books to dread the terrible twos—to look at this stage of parenthood as one of the worst ones.
When really, it’s the opposite.
I’m not going to sit here and say it’s easy, because it’s not. Honestly, it’s super difficult to not get discouraged and angry, and there are days that seem like the outbursts are never-ending.
But slowing down to look at them differently has completely changed my perspective on what are “not-so-terrible twos.”I made three note cards that each had an image of an activity on it and let Sloan choose what order we did them in.
Sloan’s need to turn the pages of her books by herself isn’t an act of defiance, but is an act of independence. She wants to “read” by herself, which is incredible.
Random bouts of hitting and screaming still suck, but now I look for the solution instead of the cause. What is she trying to accomplish and can I help?
Not wanting to cuddle on the couch? While I used to be convinced she hated me and wanted nothing to do with me, I now understand that she is learning how to relax by herself, something that is much more important than my ego.
There are a lot of things people tell you about parenthood, like how bad 2-year-olds are and that you will never sleep again.
Take what you hear with a grain of salt and remember that children aren’t intentionally making life difficult, they are simply trying to understand it. Slow down, listen, and remember that even the worst milestones can be extraordinary.