I feel sorry for two-year old children. As soon as they put a foot wrong, you can be sure that there will be someone who will roll their eyes and ask, the parent of said toddler, “Terrible Twos?” Even the mention of the phrase puts my hackles up and I become immediately defensive, denying that we ever experience such a thing, even if Mini Mck is splayed on the floor screaming, at the time.
I wonder though, are they really so terrible or have two-year olds just been the victim of bad press. Do they just need a fantastic public relations makeover? I’m not denying that toddler behaviour can be challenging, exhausting and frustrating, but the negative way it is summed up makes me cringe. There are many stages of childhood that can be challenging.
When Mini Mck was a newborn, the tiredness was all encompassing and I had to try so hard to get to know my son and what he wanted and needed. That was hard, that was challenging. As he became older and was desperate to talk and walk and yet wasn’t quite able to, that was hard too. Kids can be hard work at any age and yet it seems, with perhaps the exception of teenagers, the toddlers are the only ones who get such a harsh review.
It is hardly surprising their behaviour can be so extreme sometimes, as, again like teenagers. they are going through some pretty big changes. Learning what emotions are and trying to control them, learning what is right and wrong and where they fit in the world is all pretty hefty stuff for such a little person.
However, so many people seem to forget this, especially (dare I say) those from an older generation. I have witnessed people expect Mini Mck to know right from wrong, or immediately accept that I am talking to someone and so play on his own and yet want to decide how much he wants to eat or drink, or whether he needs a jumper. Surely this is the wrong way round.
Sometimes I am bowled over by a particularly stubborn and extreme tantrum, but equally I am amazed by how fantastic two-year olds can be. Yet we don’t seem to talk about the ‘Terrific Twos”.
Right in front of my eyes I see a person growing every day. Language and imagination are exploding all the time, the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time and grasping concepts of weather, time, hunger and tiredness. Although they can struggle with their new, unfamiliar emotions, the upside is that they start to show a caring side, wanting to comfort someone who is hurt or sad and enjoying making another person happy. I think all of that sounds pretty terrific, don’t you?
Despite all of this, the thing that I find myself talking about with friends who have children of a similar age or family is the “Terrible Two’s” and how to deal with them and actually I think that is really quite sad.