Two year olds are difficult little people. They are developing personalities and learning how to say no and becoming their own unique person. They throw tantrums and break things and make messes and refuse to go to bed. They really live up to the name “twouchebag”. (I hope that word doesn’t offend anyone, I think it’s hilarious and say it only in good humour and nothing more.)
As a parent, surviving this year from hell (well it’s not always hellish) can feel impossible. Between the potty training and trying to reason with your child and the meltdowns in the grocery store, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry or take up alcohol on a semi-regular (or really regular) basis. It can be trying on your time, patience, energy and sanity. But the good news is, there are ways to survive it! I have been doing some research and apparently these are some of the best ways to survive living with a twouchebag!
Patience. This one is tough because when your child has pulled down the curtains for the fourth time in two hours, you basically want to lose your shit and tell them to knock it off. But your two year old doesn’t quite understand reasoning just yet so being patient is key. I recommend several glasses of wine if your patience is starting to wear thin. If that doesn’t work, try several bottles. Eventually you’ll be more patient or be in such a state of bliss you’ll just stop caring!
Praise. Your two year old needs to know when they are doing something that you consider to be good behavior. Make a big deal out of it by giving them a high 5 or acting excited. Tell them how happy you are that they picked up their toys. Maybe even reward them with a special treat. I’d recommend a few smarties or M & Ms. Don’t give away your cupcakes though, you’ll need those to go with your wine.
Consequences. Your child needs to know when they have done something wrong. Timeouts are the popular choice among the parenting experts. But I kind of hate doing that. I prefer to turn off the TV or take away her tablet (yes my two year old watches TV and has a tablet and idgaf if you think she’s too young for that stuff) but I am slowly starting to learn that when I take those things away, it’s as much of a punishment for me as it is for her because then she just gets into other things. Sometimes you just can’t win!
Ignore. HA! Whoever came up with this one has never tried to ignore the child who is screaming at the top of her lungs when you put away the permanent markers that she found. I have tried ignoring. I have tried offering her other toys. I’d give her one of my kidneys if I thought it would calm her down but when that kid wants the permanent markers, she is going to scream till she gets them. I find in moments like that it’s really helpful if I close my eyes and remind myself that there are only ten more hours till she goes to bed. And only two more hours till its noon and I can pour myself a drink, because you know…you gotta wait till noon before it’s socially acceptable to pour a drink. I wouldn’t want any sanctimommies judging me for day drinking! (as if I care what they think!)
Connect. Apparently joining a mommy group is crucial because going through this phase of your child’s life can be isolating without having people that you can relate to. I have a lot of cool mom friends and they are great to share advice and tips with. But these online mommy groups? Well some of them have the most judgmental sanctimommies you could ever find. Ask someone for advice on how to get your kid to bed before 9pm and they will make you feel like the world’s worst mother for ever letting your child stay up that late. Want to ask a question about formula? Well how dare you because don’t you know that breast is best? Wondering about the pros and cons of the cry it out method? Those bitches might call CPS on you. Choose your mommy groups very carefully, fellow mothers. Because while some of them are great, some of them are bat shit crazy and will make you question your sanity more than your two year old does.
Perspective. Your kid won’t be two years old forever. Eventually they will be three (ever hear of the term threenager??) and then four and before you know it, they will be in school. My friends with older kids tell me that they would LOVE to have a two year old again. I think they sound foolish because at least they don’t have to deal with pee and poop and epic temper tantrums and meltdowns on a daily basis…but apparently that is easier than dealing with the headaches and drama of a teenager? I don’t know. But I’m worried I might be an alcoholic by then!
In all seriousness, I do know that I will survive the twouchebag stage. It’s going to have its ups and down but that’s what parenthood is all about. There is never a perfect or ideal stage when it comes to kids. Every stage has its own unique challenges and every child is different and will do things in a way that suits their individual personality. So what if your child doesn’t behave like a typical 5,7, 11, 13 or 16 year old? That just means that they are special and unique and there definitely isn’t anything wrong with that.
As for surviving the various stages, it’s all about small victories. Savour the good moments and know that the bad ones will pass. And for those really hard moments, that’s when you need to close your eyes and remember that they too will pass and before you know it, your child will be on to another phase. And when all else fails, there’s always wine!