Parents typically agree that toddler-hood is a challenging time. There’s a reason why that second year is called the “terrible twos.” Those sweet, cooing infants are now walking and talking, demanding their independence. Yet they still can’t wipe their own butts.
But we soldier on because the twos are only temporary and, certainly, with another fleeting year, tempers will be calmed and our little angels will be angelic again.
Adorable, future-looking and refreshingly optimistic, but so, so wrong, as this dad opines over at Fatherly.
You can’t call it a knowingness because for some reason they still can’t grasp that the spittle flying so frequently from our lips, dappling their little scrunched-up face, is a bad thing that they don’t want to see again.
It’s more like a vague understanding and perverse enjoyment they take in trying to break us down in almost every mental and physical way.
They don’t really know that this is what happens, but they do have some inkling that we hate almost everything about what they are doing — and they’re fine with it.
A simple request turns into a second, third and fourth one and beyond, increasing in volume and frustration with each ask, until you realize you could be yelling at your refrigerator and get the same results. You feel crazy. Why are you yelling? When was the last time you yelled like that?
Twenty minutes ago. That’s when you last yelled like that–twenty minutes ago. But before the “terrible tees” (the father’s clever mashup of terrible twos and threes) you never raised your voice. You were a calm, earth momma who had it pulled together like Martha Stewart sipping a nicely chilled Chenin Blanc.
Ah, those were good times.
But this child–this three year old narcissist–has made you finally lose your mind.
Does the crying 3-year-old want to be yelled at? They remember so much, but they can’t remember they have to wear underwear to daycare? Or socks to daycare? Or clothes to daycare? Or have to go to daycare?
Daycare is only one example. There is a rotating series of our asks — brushing teeth, getting clothes, getting dressed, going to the bathroom. And there are her questions — about breakfast, her destination, her siblings’ destinations, her hair, her shoes. And each and any of those, and oftentimes combinations, can fuel that day’s pitfall.
She also likes to order off the menu a lot, so we get hand-crafted meltdowns that at least bring some unwanted spontaneity to the unwanted routine.
And, here’s the worst thing. After you’ve turned into the screaming witch you swore you’d never become, their tears disappear and they look toward the heavens, a smile playing on their red, rosebud lips. Cute, little devils.
Like the dad writing on Fatherly suggests, we should not underestimate the phenomenon of terrible twos gaining momentum through the end of the third year. Innocent future parents need this information so they can properly prepare for their toddlers and protect their mental health.
We can’t remain silent. The toddlers don’t.