Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two and a half is challenging

Who am I kidding?  2.5 years old is kicking my butt.  I know this is one of those life-altering experiences, like training for a sporting event, and the hard parts are the inflection points where I'm learning and getting better.  But ouch.

The spitting.  The running away when I need her to come and do xyz.  The *look* that I get when she knows she is doing something she's not supposed to.  The screeching.  The whining.  The limp flopping on the floor when it's time to do something else.


I've NEVER been a patient person.  Dogs and a baby have helped, but Mother Teresa, I am not. 

And I know 2.5 lacks impulse control, is learning about boundaries and expressing its big feelings.  I *know* all these things, but in the heat of the moment, all I can feel is the yelling bubbling up and threatening to spill out.  My impatient self wants compliance, RIGHT NOW, even though that's NOT the way I want to parent.

It is so hard to back off and really think about whether what I'm asking is really that important.  Are we late because *I* didn't start the morning routine in time?  Am I being extra-picky about behavior because *I'm* hungry or tired or cranky myself?  Are we trying to do too much?

This is hard work, cultivating patience and respect for a tiny person who runs on her own timetable and has her own opinions now.  And more so because I've chosen a path that's NOT about obedience and fear, but my mind automatically snaps to those ideas. 

It would be so much faster if she would just DO IT.  It's so much work to approach it from a calm place, to come up with and present the 2 choices, to wait out whatever bout of toddler insanity is keeping her brain from focusing on what I'm asking.

But I have to do it.  It gets easier, right? 


  1. It is hard, so so so hard. We are right there with you. It is so hard to not yell and to remember that these little kids are just trying to grow.

    I think that on top of it, we are also in the peak of "cabin fever". Once we can get outside and run and play and jump and get some much needed Vitamin D, it will get easier.

  2. Thank you. It means a lot to hear this from someone who has an older one, too :)

  3. It should get easier once she gets closer to 4. I know that seems like a long time :). Ben just turned 3 and I'm still getting a lot of the same stuff you're describing, but he's a hard-headed kid.

  4. At least you only have one! I never get tired of saying that.

    2.5-2.75 is hard:

  5. Here's us on 2-3 year old behavior management:

    It's all about distraction and manipulation (as in adults manipulating the kids) at that age. Try to avoid the problem or to stem it before it becomes a problem.

  6. So I have to admit that 2.5 does, well, pose challenges. Certainly it could be harder (R was 1 when A was 2.5) but I've come to learn that there's a reason they say "It's just a phase." Generally, yes, it's a phase. Trust me - you. will. all. survive. But some days will be horrendous and others will be vying to be the best day of your life.

  7. @Jessica - not sure if you're someone I know :) but thank you. Your comment made me weepy as I'm sitting here in Starbucks taking a mama time out (TJ came home early to rescue us from ourselves).

  8. Very similar experiences here. Moira's 3.75 now, and I'd say over the past 12-18 months, things have been getting easier for Shannon and a bit harder for me. It's hard to say if things getting harder for me are all changes with her or if it's a combination of everything else going on.

    We've grown through a number of really frustrating things: not wanting babies in the house, not wanting boys in the house, not wanting to share anything, not wanting Stewie anywhere near her, and the endless requests for snacks. Now there's a princess obsession, perhaps a sense of entitlement that we're a bit concerned about, and we're still struggling with sleeping through the night, but it's becoming more apparent that we're moving in a good direction (at least until Davis is mobile).

    1. Interesting that the hard times are different for the two of you. We get some frustrating behavior with the dogs so I am pretty vigilant about keeping them separated - the little one will bite if cornered, and I feel like I have to protect the big one because he just stands around and *takes* being bonked on the head or whatnot. Sigh.

  9. Of course it gets better!

    But then, uh... it gets worse again.

    And then it gets better again!

    But then it gets worse again.

    And so on and so on.

    I think of my kids' cooperativeness/general mood as a sine wave. The period is increasing as they get older, too- no, that's wrong, because what is actually happening is that the length of good times get longer. I think the length of the bad times has stayed fairly constant for awhile now. So it is a sine-wave like function. But not really a sine wave.

    One of the great things the second time around is that I really, really believe that it is all just a phase, because I have living proof in the form of the older child. So I'm much more chilled out about it all.

    But I still give myself time outs every now and then. I consider it a win if I do that BEFORE I misbehave.

    1. YES to mama timeout. I was grateful to get one in time yesterday.

  10. Cloud is gets better...then worse...then better...then worse...then worse again...then really better! And so on.

    I too struggle with the 2 - 3 age range. (And as you know in my situation that is, well, tripled right now!) But the other day I read this:

    My mommy gifts aren't in this age range that is for sure. Maybe yours aren't either & that is OK. The time will come & you will excel. I'm sure of it.

    1. While I like the idea that we might be better with a later age, I worry that my time might already have passed. I love babies :) What if I suck at the next 18+ years?! sigh.

      But hugs to you for dealing with this 3x.

  11. Look at it this way. Its GREAT practice for when she's a teenager. = )


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