I know, I know, focus on the good things; and I do with Charly because watching how she learns and absorbs things and grows and changes every single day is astounding to me. But. There are definite without-a-doubt terrible twos happenings going down here.
It’s MINE! You can’t have it! Give it to me!
Everything. All. The. Time. My beautiful loving child that got endless pleasure from sharing everything from the food out her mouth to every toy she could find being piled onto new guests as an offering of love; will now slap something out of your hand – no matter who you are – while growling “it’s mine, I neeeed it, you can’t touch it”. This goes for toys, books, her cats, food, my cell phone, shows on the tv – she will literally stand in front of the TV trying to block you from looking at it while shouting her favourite refrain. Even her new teacher commented that she is “very possessive over things she perceives as hers” and “really really struggles with sharing” – sigh.
I’ve tried being gentle, explaining that it isn’t nice to shout, that sharing is kind; I’ve tried taking the item away altogether; I’ve tried explaining how bad she would feel if someone said that to her; I’ve tried actually saying it to her; I’ve tried the time out chair. I’ve been embarrassed to my core when friends come over and she is so rude to them. Everyone just nods and smiles and says “terrible twos”…
One thing that works a little is the concept of “taking turns” (thanks Linds), sometimes she will let someone play with something for a few minutes and then she will insist it’s her turn. I guess it is a start. Any and all advice welcome!! How do you get past the “everything is mine” stage??
I eat you up
With her teeth. Not when she is mad or frustrated; she bites when she plays. She literally bit me on my bum through my pants. She has even bitten her own fingers hard enough to make her cry when pretending to eat invisible food that she has cooked. Of course we have played “I’m going to eat you all up I love you so much”, but we kiss we don’t bite and for ages she did too. Now suddenly kisses can easily turn into a solid bite. She finds it hilarious. We don’t.
Again, we’ve tried everything from explaining to talking to timeout to screaming in pain (bum bites are no joke, contrary to what it reads like), to exaggerating the pain and explaining how sore it was. She will apologise and kiss it better, but nothing seems to actually stop her. Help and advice desperately needed please!!
No! I don’t like it! I don’t want it! I won’t do it!
Everything. Including her favourite foods, games, toys. The defiance is incredible. Anything that needs doing, from dinner to nap time to bathtime to bedtime to handing over something; every single thing is a battle of wills – and the scary part is, her will is huge. I am a peace keeper, a negotiator, I avoid conflict at all cost. And now, with the person I want peace and love with more than anybody, I have to go to war every day and resist the urge to give in to keep the peace so that I don’t let her turn into a terror or a bully.
Sometimes letting her make the choices or decisions herself helps. We offer her options of (healthy) food and clothing. I try not to force a set nap/bedtime (within reason), rather watching her for her tired signs and then saying how tired I am, which often ends in her suggesting sleep. Sometimes these things work, other times they just end in more screaming. The inconsistency of the toddler mind is the biggest challenge I am facing at the moment.
The classic sign of the terrible twos – the throwdown, the ear shattering howl of a small human as they throw themselves around dramatically. The lip comes out and you know it’s coming, even if you have no idea why. Maybe you cut that sandwich wrong, maybe the bath water is too wet, maybe you read their favourite story in the wrong tone. It isn’t frustration at not being able to communicate, because she communicates perfectly; though it might be that we don’t respond quickly or effectively enough. It could literally be anything… The end result is the same…
I have tried EVERYTHING on this. I’ve tried distraction; I’ve tried ignoring it; I’ve tried getting down on her level to talk to her; I’ve tried holding her gently in my arms until the worst passes; I’ve tried time out; I’ve tried talking softly to force her to quiet down; I’ve obviously exploded myself out of frustration and shouted; I’ve tried mimicking her to show her how awful it is; I don’t give in; I’ve waited til after it’s passed and talked to her about her feelings. Any other nifty magic tricks?
The terrible twos come with the most amazing balance though. As much as you want to pull out your hair in frustration, watching as your baby suddenly becomes more confident in her choices, learns new and better ways to do things, and even just learns and grasps the concepts of “mine” versus yours is breathtaking. The pride and heartache of watching your baby grow eases some of the sting of the blatant boundary pushing.
Have you found any special tricks to ease this terrible twos transition time in your world?