Right about now I wish I was more of a drinker. The Terrible Twos are really kicking our butts lately and a shot or 20 of moonshine would probably help the situation. If I could just see the little ball of fury-inducing badness that is our eldest through beer goggles, I’m sure I’d be further from that stress related heart attack than I am right now. Which is to say not very far.
Eirinn has always been…hmm…how to put this delicately…challenging? A handful? Spirited? Lively? Whatever word you use, she’s a lot of it. A lot challenging, a large handful, extra spirited, super lively. But lately, like the past week or so, she’s been more than that. She’s been the reason the term “Terrible Twos” was invented.
Anonymous Husband and I are at our wits end. The past two days have started with Eirinn in time-out for most of the morning. She’s defiant, she’s rude, she’s bossy, she’s…well, two. But she’s always been “two”, even before she was actually two. She’s just taken the liberty of cranking “two” up a few notches. Like Def Con 5, Mission: Drive The Parents To Sell Me On Ebay (As Is) For REAL CHEAP.
We woke up to this this morning:
That’s pen. On our wall. Pen on the wall belonging to a clean freak and an anal retent. Blood was a-boiling. I don’t know where she got it, but she found one and she drew on the wall and on the tv in her playroom. I can only half blame her for this (well, maybe 75% blame her) because I did let her out of her room (she sleeps with a baby gate across her door to avoid middle of the night visits), turned on Treehouse, and left her alone in there for a little while. But the girl’s got nerve because I was right down the hall.
We’re at the point where we don’t know what to do. We’re a time-out family, but they aren’t working. Sure, she gets upset when we threaten them (“No! I’ll be good!”). And when we follow through, she cries and makes promises. But none of this sticks. She’s doing something bad ten minutes later. Obviously freedom isn’t her, to quote Dr. Phil, currency.
We’ve decided our next course of action is taking away things she values. Her princess dolls, her blankies, her movies are her currency. We won’t take them away forever but for the morning or for the day or for as long as it takes before she’s well behaved again. We’ll see how this goes. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know what we’ll try next.
I have long thought we have been expecting too much from her. Because of her early speech and mobility, we’ve always treated her as though she were the age that she behaves. She speaks and acts like a four year old, so, inadvertently, that’s how we treat her. Mentally and developmentally, I believe this works. She gets bored with toys, games, learning tools, etc. that are geared towards two year olds. She prefers dress up dolls over Little People. She asks us to read fairy tales instead of board books. She usually likes to watch Disney Princess movies rather than younger cartoons. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those younger things; she should be attracted to those things, she just isn’t, so we don’t push them. But emotionally, she’s still a two year old. She’s still young and fragile and requires a level of patience we’re running short on.
So is this the problem? When she refuses to eat her breakfast herself, wanting to be fed, we get upset. Should we? Do other two and a half year olds get fed their breakfast? And when she refuses to let me show her how to undo her coat, instead throwing a tantrum, should I give in and just undo it myself? I don’t know. Because mentally and developmentally she may be four, but she isn’t. She’s two and so are her emotions and sometimes this is very hard to remember.