I was under the impression that the Terrible Twos started when the kid actually turns two. Hence the name.
But I think I was wrong.
Because my son is 19 months old, a good half-year away from being two, and things are already getting pretty darn terrible.
As soon as I began researching the so-called Terrible Twos, I found out that the timing is a bit more flexible than the phrase makes it seem.
From BabyCenter.com: “If you find yourself bracing for those fabled “terrible twos,” relax. It’s the second year of life (the one you’ve just passed through) that’s among the more challenging developmentally. The actual “twos” tend to be a bit calmer and even more fun.”
God I hope so, because I can’t take much more of this.
A few months back I laid out a list of all the things my son could do and say. His abilities have grown exponentially since that post – it’s amazing how quickly he learns and develops. Unfortunately, most of the new things he can do are variations on a single theme:
being an asshole saying no.
He loves saying no, as many ways as possible. Aside from the traditional, snotty shout of “no!,” he also currently enjoys repeatedly yelling “stop it!”, occasionally dials up the classic wriggle-and-kick tantrum shake-out, and will not hesitate to swat away any objects whose existence or implication displease him. He is a maestro at refusal.
If we were playing charades and the only answer was “no,” he would be world fucking champion. He would never lose.
Everything he does is NO. It’s like living with Locke from Lost.
His favorite way to express his favorite sentiment is by screaming nonstop for seven straight minutes. Yesterday I offered him some crackers. He took two and started shoving them both in his mouth. So I took one away, gently, just to hold, so he could more easily navigate his way around the first cracker. But that wouldn’t do: he needed both crackers. He needed both crackers more than anything he’s ever needed in his life. So he screamed. Nonstop. For seven straight minutes.
Then he stopped and forgot about the second cracker. He walked away, happy as a clam in his amnesia, totally unaware or unconcerned about the sea of migraines and sublimated anger he was leaving in his wake, and picked up my glasses. I took them from him, lest he break them, and then we had a reprise of the Seven Minutes of Nonstop Screaming.
This scenario is repeated several times an hour, all day long. He wants what he wants and when he doesn’t get it (either because he’s just plain not allowed, or because we just plain can’t understand what he’s trying to convey via the frantic combination of gibberish and pantomimes), he explodes. So, despite his age, we’ve clearly entered the Terrible Twos. Just another part of his development that we have to weather.
It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not fun. And yet, against all odds, despite all the screaming and the defiance and the tantrums, I still like my son. So I’ll tolerate his growing pains, at least for a little while longer. The fact that the TTs have started early could actually be a positive thing, so long as they END early too.
But if it turns out we are actually in the midst of some other period – the Woeful One-and-a-Halfs? – that are just a prelude to the Terrible Twos?
I’m gonna start acting like Locke myself – by going on walkabout until my kid turns three.