Here’s the thing: I really DO think twos are better than ones, and better than threes as well. I have written about how we wrangle one year olds. It CAN be done, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of stubbornness. I am personally not averse to either of those. But . . . it’s a lot of work.
So, for me, it’s kind of a relief when they hit two. My two year olds have historically been pretty verbal, so it’s much easier to communicate with them at two than it was at one. And since we’ve been working on the concept of discipline with them since the wretched ones, the twos really aren’t so terrible around here.
Case in point: I was blog friends with Micaela of California to Korea before she moved back to California and joined my homeschool group. After spending a couple of parkdays with Frankie, she remarked that he wasn’t nearly so bad as she had been led by my blog to expect. And I realized . . . she was right. All of a sudden, he’s pretty darn pleasant to be around.
He does not bang on things in church anymore, or get me kicked out of Masses. In fact I can’t think of the last time we had to take him out of Mass for bad behavior. He eats pretty much everything we eat now. There are whole segments of the day wherein he couldn’t rightly be called Cranky Frankie at all.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a toddler. It being Advent around here has meant a lot of new temptations for him. We have a hall table full of Lego advent calendars just begging to be fiddled with, and so far Frankie has been unable to resist the temptation to whack Gus on the head with the Little People Wise Man tents. I have no idea why. He just keeps doing it.
But, when he does, I can calmly send him to sit in the corner, which he does. Then I’ll go talk to him about how the Wise Men’s tents are not for whacking brothers and he’ll go give Gus a hug and we’re done with it. Easy peasy.
We can have Advent wreaths with fire in them, we can have Advent calendars with little pieces, because I am more stubborn than a two year old. And because he believes that I always mean what I say. Dealing with two year olds is all about setting boundaries and being consistent. Both of those things are right in my wheelhouse.
But THEN comes three. Three is dramatic. Three is emotional. Three is the end of the world if there aren’t any more rice krispies, or you can’t find your other sandal so you have to wear your crocs, or you thought it was Tuesday but it’s actually Wednesday.
Perhaps another mother would be moved to pity by these outbursts. Me? They drive me nuts.
If I tell you to put it down and you don’t? Great. Punishment. If I tell you it’s naptime and you burst into tears? No problem. It’s still naptime, but now you don’t get a story. But if you burst into tears because the shirt you wanted to wear is in the dryer, or because you just realized you forgot to brush your teeth, or because that color is called green but you’d rather it be called yellow. What then? I just cannot seem to muster much sympathy, but it doesn’t seem particularly reasonable to punish for it either.
So, what we do is a lot of being sent to one’s room to “compose oneself.” I don’t present it as a punishment. But I don’t allow them to be around the family until they can get their emotions back under control. They can decide how much time they need, and come out once they can be reasonable.
Anita would spend a LOT of time in her room composing herself. She would line up all her dolls and stuffed animals and share her misery with them. But she’s four now, so it doesn’t happen much anymore.
Frankie has only just turned two, so we have quite a few months until the histrionic threes. Maybe his ones were so bad we’ll get off easy? Hmmm . . . probably not.
But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy his terrible twos. We’ve earned it.
And, since it’s Sunday . . . here’s what I wore:
Dress: the one I picked from eShakti, when I was still pregnant so I couldn’t wear it! Would it be wrong for me to start smoking so I could hold a cigarette holder when I wear this dress?
Pearls: from my mom
Shoes: Naughty Monkey from Zappos
And since I’m sure you’d rather see Lulu than me, but she was sleeping (and we follow that rule about never waking a sleeping baby!) so she didn’t make the photo shoot this morning. But here she is, at almost three weeks: