When it comes to raising children, 2 seems to be the universal age of terror among parents of boys and girls alike. I mean, they call it the “terrible twos” for a reason, right? As the mother of a 2.5-year old, I can say that the past six months have most certainly been challenging at times. But usually when I share my experiences with a fellow parent whose children are older, I’ll get a response along the lines of, “Oh, 2 is not that bad. Just wait till you get to [insert whatever age the child being spoken of is].” In other words, it seems like every age has the potential to be terrible.
But is 2 really so tough? Of course it is, sometimes. Over the past six months, my husband and I have experienced many of the things toddler parents complain about, including, but not limited to, intense temper tantrums, pickiness at the dinner table, and the downright abuse of the word “no.” But at the end of the day, I don’t think these things make my son’s current age “terrible” per se. If anything, I chalk up the fits of stubbornness to an almost necessary part of his development.
Sure, it’s not easy to watch my child get red-faced and start screaming uncontrollably out of nowhere when he doesn’t get his way, but perhaps he needs to experiment with that sort of behavior until he reaches a point where his coping and communications skills improve and he’s able to find more effective–and less noisy–ways to express himself.
Of course, I’m not a child development specialist, so I have no idea. Really, I’m just a mom trying to enjoy every possible moment with her toddler, and for me, that includes not only accepting that there will be rough moments, but making sure to appreciate the times when things go smoothly.
Besides, there are lots of amazing things about having a child who is 2. For starters, my son’s vocabulary has increased exponentially over the past six months. He understands things like past versus present versus future tense, and we’re able to have full-fledged conversations. And while my son has always been big on helping out around the house, when he was younger, letting him help often meant having the task at hand take longer and become more complicated. Now he’s old enough to actually serve a functional role in things like laundry (he likes to empty the dryer for me) and dinner prep (I’ll hand him food from the fridge, and he’ll arrange it on the counter for me).
It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that 2 is a terrible age, especially when you’re deep in the throes of a tantrum and you’ve just been smacked by a series of heavy wooden blocks that your toddler has hurled at you in unwarranted anger. (Note to self: Buy smaller blocks.) But in reality, I think kids have the potential to be challenging at any age. And I think that’s normal.