People talk about the Terrible Twos like the minute your kid turns two, some evil villian child replaces your sweet baby with a tantruming tazmanian devil.
But then other people say, oh, no, you think two is bad? Just wait until three! Like I’m actually excited about Kate turning three and the prospect that she could be even more tantruming than at two.
I gave up reading all that stuff about ages and stages when Kate was a newborn. All that talk about this and that and time outs and discipline and the 1-2-3 magic of it all seemed more like ways to regulate me than my daughter.
So Dan and I employ a simple, tried and true method around these parts called Parenting With A Sense of Humor.
Kate at almost two-and-a-half can be a total screaming, tantruming, not listening or listening to reason, failing 35 pounds of Goldfish cracker infused dynamite. And she can be equally loving and precious and catch me off guard when she wraps her still tiny arms around my neck in a strangle hold and spits Teddy Graham debris in my face and says “I luv you, MAMA!”
But since she can still fill Dan and I with parental rage, the other day I got to thinking about this age, this Terrible Twos (or just you wait until Threes) and realized two-year olds have it good. Here’s why:
+When you’re two, you get to act like a complete bipolar maniac. And no one thinks it’s strange or odd or wants to defriend you. It’s all cool because you’re two. And that’s how two-year-olds act. If I acted that way, I think Dan would have me committed. But at two, you can feel free (and in fact you should) to flail about in the front yard, half naked, chocking on raisins and stomping your feet because your mother asked you to put your shoes on. A complete freak out is just how you roll.
+You can eat whatever and how much ever you want. I don’t fight with Kate about food. I’ve got way more important things to fight with her about (hold my hand in the parking lot SO HELP ME JESUS!), and I like to end the day with at least a modicum of self respect. So I don’t fight about food. You want to eat Goldfish crackers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Works for me! You no longer want broccoli? See if I care! I know you, you’ll come back around. Until then, may you feast on crackers.
+You can…and can’t really understand consquences. Dan and I debate this all the time through our secret eye-contact language. Should we call you out? Would you understand a consquence for not listening? Do we think you get cause and effect? Can you truly understand time out? Two-year-olds are masters at acting mature when they want something and immature when things don’t work out how they expected. And then parents are left thinking, “should he/she know better? He/she is only two… That’s how they get you.
+Life’s unfair and you’re totally mad about it. Sometimes I wish (okay, like all the time I wish), I could throw myself on our kitchen floor and scream and flail until I get what I want. But as a grown adult I have to suck it up and accept that life’s unfair. I’m jaded like that. But not two-year-olds! They get all hot and bothered when life isn’t fair! It should be fair! And by fair, I mean, it should always go my way! I love that about them. Not because they should get what they want. But because they have the audacity to wholeheartedly and unabashedly scream for what they want. Sometimes when I think about doing something but then think well life’s not fair so this won’t work for me, I think, what would Kate do? She punch whatever is in her way in the face (which, most times, is me). While it’s important to learn that life isn’t always fair, I admire the two-year-old sense of purpose when it comes to getting what they want.
In conclusion, it must be good to be two. As we age we learn to reign ourselves in to be useful, kind members of society. But at two, you don’t really get how other people have feelings and the world isn’t yours and yours alone. So, right now, I’m happy to let Kate be Kate, in all her narcissistic glory, in this two-year-old stage. To answer every question with “Kate” or “that’s Kate’s.” I love how she’s cultivating this strong sense of self.
The other day she finally was able to pedal this bike. I got so excited I clapped my hands and jumped up and down. And you know what that kid said to me? She said something her dad and I say to her everyday.
She turned that sweet face to me and said: “I’m so proud of you, mama!”
I think we’ll keep her. At least until four.