Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

March 10, 2007

180 degrees

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 8:49 pm

I find that having a 2.5 – 3 year old in the house is almost like riding a roller coaster. One minute you are riding high. The next you are about to smash into the ground. Their mood can change like the wind, and it’s hard to keep up. Literally we can do a 180 every 5 minutes.

Friday I felt like I had been hit with a sledge hammer about 50 times. In between beatings I was provided with flowers and kisses in order to try to help me ignore the massive headache that was forming.

This must be what they call the ‘Terrible Twos’. The children aren’t terrible. But their emotional mood swings are so hard to follow that it causes parents to ‘feel’ like they are being terrible.

I tried to explain the day to my husband when he got home, and he just looked at me like “what was the problem”. I can see his point. When you list one of the stupid things that happened during the day, it seems like nothing. For example. The fact that Andrew was taking his rake and beating our tree senseless in order to try to get a branch down for him to use as a stick… not exactly bad behaviour. He is a boy. He is just trying to find a creative way to get a stick. He is not hurting anyone, and really not destroying anything. However, it’s not exactly the behaviour I want my child to be exhibiting either.

If that was the only problem all day… I would have probably agreed with my husband. However, that was only 10 minutes out of 10 HOURS.
* The next 10 minutes Andrew was ramming his trucks into the gate to express his urgent NEED to get out of the backyard.
* The next 10 minutes, he was picking flowers and handing them to me while giving me hugs. Very sweet.
* The next 10 minutes, he was running over the new flowers I just had carefully planted all afternoon, crushing them, in order to help daddy mow the grass.
* The next10 minutes, he was sad, almost to the point of tears, because the flowers ‘seemed broken’ (go figure after ramming them 100 times).
* The next 10 minutes, he was using the hose to make a huge mud puddle … so that he could subsequently stomp in it & laugh as the mud was getting on the side of the house.

My adult brain cannot keep up. I was still reeling from the tree beating… and hadn’t even had the time to let that go before I dealt with the flower crushing… puddle jumping… muddy body…. muddy house. All of which I could have handled separately and probably could have found funny. However, together, they were creating an insurmountable force of frustration building in my body.

I don’t want to be scolding him every minute… it doesn’t do anyone any good. He is not being bad. He is being 2. And as a 2 year old, he has an agenda. That agenda is to do everything he can possibly think up before he gets to the age of 3… because when he is three, the world might end and he might not have jumped in that puddle for the 100th time.

I want to foster his exuberance for life. But I also want him to be a child that I am proud to take out of the house and into a public setting. These days, it’s hit or miss as to whether I am holding my head high with my adorable 2.5 yr old… or slinking out the back, hoping that no one notices the child I am dragging to the car, frothing from the mouth like he has a case of the rabies.

I think the trick to the ‘Terrible Two’s” is finding some way for you as the parent to not let the frustration get to you. Finding a way to let go, and keep letting it go like a the two year old seems to be able to. Switching moods every minute. Riding the highs and enjoying the lows. It seems easy when you say it. But it’s not in reality. I try. But it’s hard.

Right now, I just have a beer at the end of the day… and wake up the next morning hoping that today will be a bit better than yesterday. And today was. Lots of soccer ball kicking, block building, playing chase, digging in dirt, smiles, laughter and silliness. Yes, there was even some puddle jumping and beating of poles with sticks – but for some reason, it was manageable. That is when I think the ‘Terrible Twos’ aren’t so terrible after all.

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