Is there any truth to “the terrible twos?”
Imagine: you’re cruising through the supermarket when suddenly Baby spots a package of cookies on the shelf. The trip then takes a harsh turn, as he starts screaming and reaching, while you tell him to wait until you get home. Cue the red face and tears (from you both).
Later, as you call a friend to tell her about the mishap, she utters that dreaded phrase: “just wait until he turns two!” Click.
Does it really get worse?
What’s tough about two
Unlike your one-year-old, who can be easily distracted, in general, two-year-olds are more inclined to push for what they want. Two is the year of the power struggle: Baby realizes he needs you to do certain things for him, but wants to exert his independence, too. This is why many two-year-olds share a favorite word: “no.”
Speaking of language, two-year-olds are still developing their vocabularies. This means their minds may be moving in overdrive, but their ability to express their desires is stalled. As a result, two-year-olds become very frustrated over not being understood, which can lead to some epic tantrums.
Two-year-olds are also often fully mobile, and curious as can be. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility at this age, despite the restrictions you try to put in place. Cabinet locks can be undone, chairs can be climbed, so you’ll need to keep a more watchful eye on Baby than ever before. The overwhelming desire so many two-year-olds have to learn about the world, coupled with their inability to recognize danger, is a scary combination.
What’s great about two
While many parents approach this age with worry, this age is also incredibly fun. Two-year-olds’ troublemaking ways are quickly forgotten after they give you the sweetest smiles, finished off with big kisses. Two-year-olds are all about having a good time, and you’ll love seeing the look on Baby’s face when he masters a new skill, or uses a new phrase.
Another benefit of year two? Toddlers’ receptive language skills are developing, which means Baby will understand a lot more of what you’re saying. Sure, you’ll have to watch what you say a bit more, but there’s now an opportunity for reasoning. If you tell him that he can have a treat if he helps put his toys away, for example, you might actually see Baby follow your request.
The bottom line
Baby will be two for a full year, but that doesn’t mean it’s a year of nothing but meltdowns and tantrums. Think about how much he has changed over the course of just a few months, and how some stages are more difficult than others. Twelve months is a long time, and though there will be some challenging periods, there will be plenty of great phases in there as well. Buckle up: you two are in for a fun ride!