So this is what it’s like living with a two-year old, eh? They’re all drunk with the realization that they have brains that can make decisions? Annie has discovered she has free will, and I’m pretty sure the world is going to implode around us.
Everything is a struggle with her lately. If she didn’t think of it first, she doesn’t want to do it. And if she thinks of it and you don’t immediately do it, you immediately have a screaming ball of toddler at your feet. This means I constantly have a tantruming child on the floor, but sorry kid, you are not the boss of me. I am the adult! Or something.
The drama is constant. The scene:
Annie flounces into the room and throws herself down into a chair.
Me: Annie, what’s wrong?
Annie: My foot…HURTS!!
Me: Let me see, I will kiss it and make it better.
Annie: NO! Go OUTSIDE!
Me: Well, we can’t go outside if your foot hurts, because we have to put shoes on. Dang.
Annie, standing up and stomping her foot: NO! GO OUTSIDE!
Me: Oh look, it’s a miracle, your foot is better! Let’s put on shoes.
Annie throws herself back into the chair and starts speaking in tongues
Me: Let me know when you calm down.
a few minutes later
Me: Annie, now that you are calm, do you want to go outside?
I wasn’t expecting her to be so contrary about everything. I know she is testing her limits, but it is making me insane. She says “no” to everything, and when we tell her “no,” or “don’t” or “stop,” she will continue to do whatever the forbidden activity is while also giggling like a tiny sociopath. You can see exactly what she’s thinking all over her face, “I’m gonna keep pushing them because it’s funny!” I’ve learned the best thing to do in these situations is ignore her, except for when she’s doing something like bugging the dog. Rigby is the world’s most tolerant dog, but I’m not willing to see just how tolerant she really is.
Mike was a sweet and obedient kid, so his crazypants dramaqueen daughter’s mood swings have thrown him for a loop. Annie already knows that I won’t put up with her Toddler Drama, so she saves her best performances for her daddy. She can sense his weakness. I keep reminding him that he has to be strong, because it’s a slippery slope: one day he’s giving her another cookie, the next she’s stealing his car to take her boyfriend Spike to get his tongue pierced.
Allegedly. I was, uh, a good kid.
My mother stopped taking me shopping when I was two because I ALLEGEDLY used to run out in front of cars for attention. I find that very hard to believe, I think she just didn’t want to drag a demanding toddler through the supermarket.
Then again, she also says I used to headbutt her when I was a baby…
“allegedly” haha, I love it!
My sister “allegedly” decided to run away, walked to the end of the block and stuck out her thumb to hitch-hike away. A car slowed down and she took off running back INTO the house.
C Ramirez says:
Poor Annie – so misunderstood at such a young age!! I love the speaking tongues – my daughter was compared to the little girl on Monsters Inc., so mischievous… It soon will past in about 18 years or so…Good luck!!!
Annie & Spike,,,,,,,I can just picture the teenage couple now!!LOL
Mike; you’d better take Heather’s advice, and stop giving in to her. I know that it’s hard to be strict to that gorgeous little one, but things will be better for it!
Reading this made me realize my 12 year old never outgrew the terrible 2’s. I feel like he and I are always in a power struggle, I won’t be ruled by a 12 year old and he won’t listen to me. If I say it is blue he says it is green. If the whole family wants to eat at one restaurant he wants a different one. He can also be the sweetest most affectionate kid ever. And just keep in mind I always thought 3 was worse than 2!! That might be with boys though because they are n0t as verbal as early as girls.
Not to scare you or anything but it doesn’t stop at 2. I am not even sure why they are called the ‘terrible twos’ because the 3s…..well they are just so much fun. My daughter will start and I say ” I can’t hear you because you are (whining, crying, yelling) ” She will immediately dry everything up and say ” I am not (whining, crying, yelling) anymore mommy, can you listen now?” It works some of the time. It’s hard but you definitely need to let her know your limits. Even if it is hard because they are just so stinking cute you can hardly stand it. I have a hard time not laughing at my 3year old a lot of the time.
Isn’t it hard to sometimes not giggle about it though. Carter is hilarious..and I tend to let him have his way most time..because he’s “the baby’. Also, her outfit is Supah Cute!
Kim Wencl says:
Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood!
Autumn Canter says:
You are bringing back memories. What worked for us was to give my son two options. “River, would you like to put on pants first or the shirt?” It totally cut out the bulk of the tantrums. Though he was a bit older than Annie at the time. Right now, with my 18 month old, I just ignore and then give her comfort when she’s ready for it.
My almost-5 yr old boy is STILL doing this. Thankfully his sister and brother are reasonable. They have to give in a lot just because it makes our lives easier.
Sarah Z says:
What this sounds like to me is that Annie has a syndrome called “being an Aquarius” and there is no cure :p
Oh boy! If you think 2 is terrible, wait until 3… they call it the horrible 3’s for a GOOD reason. It mad the terrible two’s look like a walk in the park!
Then it was OK for a while and now they are 6 and here we go again. It’s like the horrible 3’s only they are twice the size…
I don’t think Mike remembers what kind of kid he was I am a pre-K teacher so I can tell you, after the dozens of kids that came and went over the years, they ALL go through the phase
And I don’t believe in “good kid/bad kid” characterizations. They are ALL good kids I do tell my boys they are being “naughty” but I have never used the word bad or good.
The good news is it WILL get better Just don’t lose your cool. Be calm, let her work it out, don’t budge (very important) and if you find you need to scream (perfectly normal) leave the room Don’t let her see you crack lol.
BTW, she is gorgeous. Now that she is older, she looks like you and Mike.. in some angles I can only see Mike in her, in some others I can totally see you
Give her a kiss from us!
Oh, thanks for writing this. My son is 2.5 and we face this every day as well. I love him but also feel the need to sit him out on the curb with a sign “free to a good home.” His latest issue is that he “needs” a bandaid for some mysterious booboo. If I try to help him put on the bandaid, he looses his mind. If I let him do it himself, he can’t get it on and looses his mind. We are all LOOSING our minds!
Sorry. Can’t help it. Losing. One “o” Loose = something that is not tight. Lose = opposite of win. OK. I’m done.
Oh wow…. I am so sorry, but I agree with the previous comments….. 3 is MUCH more difficult than 2… BUT – it does get bette eventually. Annie reminds me SOO much of my daughter. And while at 3, I was wishing I’d had my tubes tied, I can tell you now, at 6, I am soooo grateful for her strong personality. We still have power struggles, but they are better now that we can actually have a real conversation. My daughter is my best friend in the world, we do everything together and she’s an absolute blast to be around. And that strong personality serves her WELL!!! On the playground, when other little girls get their hearts broken if someone doesn’t want to play with them, my daughter just shrugs her shoulders and says oh well, I’ll jut play with someone else them. She’s outgoing and funny as can be, and I just love it. Hang in there mama, it DOES get better!!
My 2 year old son, Jordan, is the EXACT same way. The other day he had a complete meltdown in the car because I had the nerve to STOP the car at a red light. He started yelling “NO! Don’t stop! Go go go Mommy! Go!” I told him the light was red so I had to stop and that was not acceptable for him Two is fun huh?!
She’s old enough and smart enough to know some right from wrong so she should be old enough to know consequence. You could try reward chart with everyday goals like ‘brushed my teeth without a fuss’ ‘put my shoes on to go outside’ or whatever is applicable and see if she will do things for the bribe of a shiny sticker. (Then you can be like ‘oh no sticker today then’ and see if she sees it as enough motivation to behave).
I also reccomend the naughty step, but if you prefer call it the ‘calm down spot’. Find a cushion or bean bag and send her to it when she’s having somewhat of a tantrum or purposefully playing up. 1 minute per year of age so 2 minutes at a time. I’m sure you know how it words, you warn, then if they’re carrying on you plonk them on it and go back to your task and come back 2 minutes later and explain why doing what they did was wrong and apologise/hug it out.
I know some people are against this but if it works for you then horray. I barely have to do it anymore because they do learn that going against you has consequences.
This is pretty much what we did/do with our 3 year old. She is so much better now and is much more obedient. I have also heard that 3 is harder than the 2s but to hopefully give you some comfort – our (just turned) 3 year old is better now than when she was 2. Just breathe…Annie will grow out if it and you will both become sane once again By the way, I actually leaned a lot from watching Super Nanny, kinda embarrassing to admit, but her disapline techniques worked for our daughter.
And *this* is why I like being able to give the child back to their parents. I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but they freak me out when they become possessed during the toddler hood. For such tiny humans, they are terrifying.
Jessica Makuh says:
I was a really good kid. It never occurred to me to do something wrong. I got in trouble once for cutting my sister’s hair and once for not weeding my garden. That’s about it. My husband, on the other hand, used to sneak out of his house at night. Our oldest daughter seems to be more like me and our youngest may be more like him. If so, I’m in big trouble. I won’t even know what to do with a teenager stealing cars!
Ah, my two and a half year old is just. like. that. and now his teachers think that he has a behavioral disorder. We had the Infant and Toddler program evaluate him and lo and behold, he is a normal two year old. Imagine that. It *will* get better…but then morph into the pre-tween attitude drama-y angst of older preschoolers. I’m going into hiding now; someone come find me in, say, 15 years.
I. Am. Going. Through. The. Same. Exact. Thing.
My 26 month old girl acts exactly like you describe Annie. I’m baffled and have no idea how to handle it most of the time. Except I am like Mike and my husband is the enforcer. Makes for long days for this stay a home mom who also has a 12 week old!
I hear ya sister!
I have to agree with the others, that 3’s were actually much worse than 2’s, sorry to say. What I found that worked for me was:
1. Give them an option (2 choices only) instead of asking yes or no questions.
2. Pick your battles. I remember my husband having a 1/2 hour argument with my son b/c he refused to wear a matching T-shirt with his pants. Really? Is this really so important in the big scheme of things??
3. Remember that “this too shall pass”…they all get over this phase (some take longer than others) and it really won’t last forever (I promise).
Just wait ’till 4. That’s all I’m going to tell you about that. Good luck.
I wish I could say it gets easier…the tantrums are just over different subjects.
Conversation with 16 year old daughter on the drive home from track orientation:
Daughter: I’m a little worried about track.
Me: You’ll do great, you were one of the fastest on your field hockey team.
Daughter: I don’t have any friends on track. The friends I do have are faster than me (yeah, made no sense to me either).
Me: Just worry about beating your own times, you’ll get faster.
Daughter (voice 3 octaves higher full on fight mode): That’s not how track works, I have to beat my opponents. You don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know why I’m doing this.
Me: (counting to ten first and planning counter move that does not involve throwing her out of the moving car): You’ll do great. What do you want for dinner?
The good news is it does get better, the bad news it might get worse first.
The only little tidbit that I found to help was to try to steer clear of the trigger words like “NO”, “STOP” or DON’T’. These only seemed to intensify the tantrum with my daughter. I would try to offer up a option instead.
Like, “Annie, we have 20 minutes to go play. Do you want to go outback and play with Rigby or You go on a walk around the block with Mommy and we can take Rigby too?” Something where no won’t fit as an answer so she has to pick one. Sometimes it works, sometiems it doesn’t but seemed to help lessen the fits for me.
Also, I agree that you have to just let some stuff go and pick your battles wisely. Sometimes it’s easier to just let them run around in mismatched clothes and not get all wound up over things that aren’t that important.
You guys will make it through this, I promise. It will be alright!!
I agree with other commenters about the following tips:
– give choices. Would you rather go outside or play with dolls? This gives the power to her but you are ultimately still controling the choices.
– Tease her with the reverse…”I bet you can’t put these shoes on.
– BRIBE – “I would love to get some ice cream, Annie. Let’s put on shoes and Mommy will get you some.”
And then there in wine. Lots and lots of wine.
We have a 5 year old and a one year old so I have both been there and am hiding the corner knowing what is to come.
Hang in there, Momma. And it was true for us that 3 was MUCH worse.
Oh, and count her down. I always tell my son when he has 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 2 minutes. They have no idea what that means, but it (for us) helps them and avoid a tantrum if you give a count down.
I’m going through the same thing with my almost-two-year-old. Especially the “my foot hurts i’m seriously injured is that a cracker i’ve been cured!!!” theatrics. It’s crazy how early the ability to be emotionally manipulative starts.
Annie just keeps getting cuter and cuter. That probably only adds to her powers, right? Toddlers.
I am glad I’m not alone in this! My two year +3 day old man thinks he is the ruler of the world…. thows the best tantrum I’ve EVER seen and it one second later can say “love you” and I’m smitten… but that doesn’t last long b/c then he wants to go OUTSIDE (now, crazy lady) and its cold, or windy, or rainy and we can’t and the fit returns…. Geez…. I’m tired… I don’t even wanna hear of those ‘terrific threes’ people are talking about.
Two year olds are known for this. They are becoming more independent but they’re language skills don’t allow them to communicate everything they are thinking. They are very impulsive and want things NOW.
A suggestion: Give Annie choices to make her feel as if she’s more in control. Instead of asking her “do you want to go outside?” say “We’re going outside now. Do you want to play with the ball or the chalk?” That way, she feels like she has the power to make her own decisions, yet you are still in control.
Hope this helps!
Lordy, us too! WTH is up with these two year olds?!?
My drama this morning:
S: “Brush teeth! S needs toothpaste!”
Me: Here is the toothpaste.
S: NOOOOOO! I do it! Give it to me, MOMMY!!!!!!!
Me: (sighing) ok, but not too much.
S; (not even squeezing any toothpaste) I do it, I do it…
Me: Are you sure you don’t want help? Let mommy help. Just a little.
S: NO HELP! NO HELP A LITTLE!
King Daddy enters the room.
S: DADDY do it!!! Daddy do my toothpaste!!!!
As you can see, I never win.
I forgot to add the part where King Daddy asks me why it is so hard to get the tooth paste on the brush.
Fortunately, I know where he sleeps. Muwaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaa!
I know what you mean about the king daddy thing. My husband can do no wrong in the eyes of our 2 year old. It gets me out of the bedtime routine sometimes so that’s ok, I suppose.
Right in the middle of this, too. I have sat in front of the window with my 2 year old and pointed out to her that everyone outside our apartment window was wearing shoes and pants, and that if she wanted to go outside she needed to wear shoes and pants.
I highly recommend 1-2-3 Magic. I only started using the techniques in the book recently, but it’s making a difference. It’s a good way for you and Mike to get on the same page with discipline. My hope is that if I’m consistent now, the “horrible threes” won’t be as bad as they could be.
Lots of praise for cooperation helps, too.
I work for a non-profit parenting education agency, and they teach 1-2-3 Magic. If you use it consistently, it really does work. But I think it’s best if you start young : )
Ugh…I feel your pain, Heather. My son is 2yrs 9mo and has just started this phase. It’s making me craaaazy!!!
I have 4 grown kids, and the ones who were holy terrors at 2 years old were easier as teenagers than the ones who seemed to skip the Terrible Twos. And honestly, I’d rather deal with a rebellious toddler than teenager.
Yep its the terrible two”s and its still that way even when she reaches three. You just got to let her know who is boss. You could always watch Super Nanny!! Just kidding. She’ll out grow them and she will be fine.
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
Two year olds are so much fun. My favorite ages are from newborn to about 4 years old. Seriously. I welcome the tantrums. They make me stronger. They prep me for the teenage years. I have kids of all ages (3,5,7,8,10, 12, 16, 19, and 20) and believe me when I tell you….the younger years are the best! Not to say they can’t be trying. Not to say they don’t wear on your patience. Not to say that they don’t embarrass the heck out of you at Target when they want a toy they are not getting. But the thing is…they are still so darn CUTE in the toddler years. So it makes loving them through the awful fits much easier. But when your 10 year old gets sassy? when your 15 year old talks back? When your 16 year old doesn’t come home on time and then tells you to “chill out” when you get upset about it? Yeah…they aren’t so cute at those ages.
ENJOY THESE TODDLER & PRESCHOOL YEARS!
I can’t stress that enough.
(not that you aren’t – I know you are!)
Annie’s facial expressions are soooo dang adorable, by the way. She’s got so much character!
We always required our kids to throw their fits in their rooms. If they want to cry and be disagreeable, I don’t have to watch. If they want to be social, then they can stay where I am. It’s SO much less fun to throw a fit without an audience.
This, too, will pass. Hang int here.
“but sorry kid, you are not the boss of me. I am the adult!”
Our household motto – You make it hard for us then we’ll make it hard for you, but if you make it easy for us then we can make it easy for you.
Sometimes I throw in the reminder that we can make it A LOT harder for them than they can make it for us.
Since Annie is getting more verbal, you can start trying to counter that “contrary to everything” behavior by asking questions with a choice rather than open-ended or yes/no ones.
For instance, in the example you used, you could ask her “Annie, do you want to put on your shoes and go outside, or do you want me to look at your foot?” This method works well when your child is having difficulty making a decision, or wants to do something you don’t approve of. For instance, if your child isn’t crazy about eating vegetables, instead of “Do you want peas for dinner?” you ask “Do you want Green Beans or Peas?” This way she has a say in the decision process and in turn is more likely to actually eat them.
You’ve mentioned that Annie is doing well picking out her clothes so far, but someday there might come a time when she wants to wear shorts, a tank top and flip-flops on the day you’re taking a trip to the mountains. That’s when you can choose two outfits that are appropriate for the weather and terrain, and let her pick out which one she likes best.
If you are consistent, this also works when she’s older and wants to do something you don’t approve of. She’s 14 and wants to spend Friday night at “Susie’s” house, but “Susie’s” parents are going out for the evening and won’t be home till after midnight. You don’t like this, so you give her two choices you do approve of. “I’m not comfortable with her parents not being home, so you are welcome to invite “Susie” to spend the night here, or you can go over to her house on Saturday when they will be there.” Coincidentally, at 14, if she throws a huge fit over those choices, that also a good way to gauge that she may not have had the purest of intentions for her evening plans, lol!
Welcome to my nightmare!!! My doctor told me she would mellow around the start of Kindergarten, and she did…but O.M.G…what a nightmare! The good news…4.97 GPA in high school, 4.0 and honor society in college…but O.M.G…I will NEVER forget those years!!!
Oh, I remember those days… Believe it or not, you will miss them someday.
Two is awful, and while the years that follow aren’t easy, they did get better for us. At two, they’re so irrational and then we try to rationalize with the irrational and that just doesn’t work. This isn’t any brilliant advice, but I just used to remove mine from the situation. You may throw a fit, but I don’t intend to hang out with you as you do so. My oldest spent a lot of time on a step half way up the stairway. My youngest would NOT stay in any time out setting. I ended up turning the lock on her bedroom around so I could lock her in her room. Brutal, but so was she. Desperate measures for desperate times.
Anne DiNapoli says:
My daughter is the same way, even at 3 1/2. Although this year the tantrums have become less frequent but the whys, whys, whys are driving me nuts! I think it’s her mission in life to go against what I suggest and not believe a word I say!
The bright-side I always tell myself is if she keeps it up, her gumption to get what she wants is bound to translate into something positive…one day.
Speaking in tongues! Thank you! That is is the description of my son’s language that I haven’t been able to place an exact name to all these months.
My two-year old is so testing the limits these days too! And my husband was a sweet, quiet kid too so this craziness supposedly is coming from me. Personally, I blame the red hair…
My Liv and your Annie are identical -born only a few weeks apart too – I got a drama girl on my hands too haha worst part is I’m a behaviorist by trade – she really puts my credentials to work haha
Ignore and follow through best advice there is
…And then, during this lovely phase, you’re supposed to start potty training them. That’s when I start buying wine by the case discount.