I recently read an article that talked about a book called “The Danish Way” in which it describes how the Danes approach the toddler years differently. Apparently, the Danes don’t use the phrase “the terrible twos”. Instead, they call it The Boundary Stage. While I applaud the Danes for being so politically correct in their use of descriptive words, and I do admit that “The Boundary Stage” is a much nicer sounding and more productive way to describe the HELL that is the terrible twos….I can’t help but ask the question: If we decided to change the word we used to describe “poop”, and began calling it “roses”, would that change the fact that it smells like shit??? I don’t think so.
No matter what you call it, the terrible twos suck. I’d have to say that this is the most difficult stage of parenthood that I have encountered so far. (Granted, I have not experienced the teenage years yet) Isn’t it funny how quickly we forget? Our children go through stages so quickly, with one stage melting into the next with no real start or finish line to identify where one ended and the next began, that we tend to forget certain things along the way. Well, I forgot how difficult the terrible twos can be at times.
I forgot how they change; they go from being your sweet baby who is happy and easy going and who loves you so much and hangs on your every word, to being a difficult, stubborn little person whose favourite word is no and who seems to enjoy making everything about life a challenge. With my older daughters being now 9 and 6, it has been so long since I’ve had a terrible-two-monster in my home wreaking havoc on our daily lives that I forgot all about this stage.
Well, I have been reminded. I’d like to take a minute to thank my 2.5 year old for reminding me exactly why I hated this stage when I went through it the first two times. I now remember why I had (momentarily) decided that I didn’t want to have any more children. I remember why I felt a sense of relief when my second daughter turned three. I remember feeling as though I could “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Until oops I did it again….and again….and now I have a 2.5 year old who is right in the thick of this terrible twos stage, as well as a 15 month old that I still have to look forward to getting through this stage. I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it through. It is so challenging, and trying, and frustrating, and exhausting.
How is it possible that this tiny little human can have such a huge effect on the outcome of your day? The other night, as I was bathing my two youngest children, my 2.5 year old very pointedly exclaimed that she did not love me. She proceeded to name off every other person that she knows and explain to me that she loved them, but she did not love me. Insert broken heart here. In my rational brain, I know that this is simply her being 2.5, and that she really does love me, but it hurts just the same. You can never underestimate these tiny little terrorists, they are way smarter than you think. Do not be fooled, you may think that you are handling the situation like a boss, and you may think that you’ve got things under control, but they know exactly how and exactly when to deliver the punch to your gut.
So ya, regardless of what we call it, whether it be terrible twos, or the boundary stage, or roses and sunshine and rainbows….it doesn’t matter, it’s all just one big, smelly pile of shit.