Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who decided it's Terrible Twos?

I think a reworking of the age / characteristic thing is in order. It's totally wrong. My experience hasn't gone very far yet, but from what I know, it's not what they say.

I don't know what they call ones, but let's just say it's very busy. It's a wear-out-the-mama non-stop kind of busy. The kind where your house will never be clean, the floor never picked up, and don't leave anything out anywhere if you don't want it chewed, dunked in the sink/toilet, or chucked from across the room. Ones are when the most glasses are broken, the most chairs climbed, the most things-that-shouldn't-be-put-in-the-mouth get put in the mouth. You also find yourself running the most, because they usually learn to walk and a few days later they stop. Because they are running. And bolting. Out the door, across parking lots, through the mall, in crowded church hallways. They also discover their innate skill of tantrumming. It does not matter if they have a model for this behavior or not. I'm telling you, it's innate. Like breathing. They just know how to do it. They understand what "no" means, but they are powerless to stop themselves. Which means, you have to do it for them. Over and over and over again. As a mother of a one year old, you usually find yourself at the end of the day flopping down in a chair completely exhausted. One's are definitely On The Go.

This one year old busy behavior extends into the Two's, though I find the two's much more enjoyable. They are beginnning to understand no and how to control themselves. They can express themselves more, can feed themselves and ask for things they want (though they are yet clueless to all the things out there that they could want, unlike the 4 and up set). The tantrums, in my experience, seem to wane a little, so they are much less intense, and not as frequent. They tend to be happy with whatever you give them; they're just happy they're getting something. They still tend to color on the wall, and certainly can't be trusted with things like markers, scissors, glue or paint. A very watchful eye is still important, but whereas at one they couldn't "do," now they can, a little. Their preferences aren't yet developed, except for food, so mother's of picky eaters beware, they do start power struggles now. They are very entertaining with their language abilities (or lack thereof) and how they mispronounce things. Physically, they try new things, and are so excited and proud of all their own accomplishments - jumping, scribbling, putting on their shoes (though this can sometimes be a challenge - when they won't put them on or won't keep them on). Everything is a wonder to them, and it's exciting to be in this awe-filled magical stage with them. I found the Two's Terrific.

(We are now not currently in this stage of Two's, so I apologize if I forgot certain defining characteristics. Maybe I'll update this next year when I've had a refresher course. But having completed 2 three's and just now entering a third, I still say two's are better.)

Something happens on birthdays. (And this can happen for all ages.) By that, I don't mean  cake, presents and parties. I mean, an attitude change. Seriously, it's like overnight. ON their birthday. It's like Dr. Jeckyl Mr. Hyde. The sassy pants comes out. The scowling, the whining. Seriously? I want my sweet little dumpling back. The fun part is the development of their imagination. Seeing more of their real personality emerge. Watching them physically change from the belly-bulging baby to a lean mean wiggling preschooler machine. They can now dress themselves, which lends to some interesting outfits. The three's can be fun, exploratory, with new freedoms. But the attitude?  The pouting? Generally, I find the Three's Trying. As in, Trying My Patience.

Four is better. They can do, they can be left alone for 5 minutes. You don't have to worry as much about them eating the crayons/markers/glue. They don't try to cut their own hair as much. They are more independent, and love love love playing pretend. (Plus, they can wipe their own butt. Does it get better than that? haha) Reasoning skills come out, so they start to understand more. Which also brings on the questions (though I've yet to have a kid who really did the whole "why? why?" thing. knock on wood). They love learning new words, and making up their own. Especially girls. Oh, and let's not forget the jokes. You know? How did the chicken cross the lasagna restaurant? Cockapoodle poodle. Yep. That one. I love seeing their mind devolop, their interest in the world around them, their becoming part of the world around them. And they still need their mom. Plus, my four year old (soon to be 5) frequently calls me Genius. So Four's? I'll say Fantastic.

Five is just like four, but better. Well, so far. I have only fully experienced them with a very easy-going boy. But Koko is now entering them. So far, what I see I like. Let's hope it keeps up. This is the age when they leave home (Kindergarten), and the outside world comes into your cocoon. All the protecting you've done, and now, they're out there without you. While they may meet it with some excitement and some trepidation, it's awesome to see how they adapt, how quickly they learn, and how it's all seperate from you. Now you're in the teaching and guiding phase (because they know some stuff you taught them, learned some stuff you didn't teach them, and how to use that to navigate life). There are certain times of frustration, like in the grocery store when they ask you a million times for a thousand different things they "need." Or making them do school work when it's hard and they get frustrated. But all in all, I'd say Five's are Phenomenal.

I hear it really gets good when they're about 8.

While it's a blessing to be a parent to awesome kids, parenting is NEVER easy. There are always challenges. Right now, my challenges are clearly of the one and three year old kind. If I could get my kids to stop getting into stuff, making messes, needing to be fed/bathed/dressed, eliminate whining/fighting/tattling/tantrums, life would be a breeze. Right?


  1. I have a "two" and a "four" and I agree with your wonderful assessment completely!! You nailed it!

  2. Hey! What about the teenage years?! Ha, that should be a very humorous paragraph(:

  3. I'll keep you posted on those, sweets! Right now, I have enough anxiety attacks just thinking about... ;) certain beautiful 14 yr olds, and the thought that in 12 yrs, I'll have FOUR teens under one roof.