Ah the mythical terrible twos, mythical at least until they hit you in the face harder than a ten tonne truck leaving you reeling and thinking that maybe you would rather go through childbirth everyday than deal with another tantrum.

I was always cynical of the terrible two myth. How can a gorgeous little baby turn from innocent and sweet one minute to, well, terrible, the next? Needless to say, I now have a two-year-old and it is no myth my friends. It is cold hard fact.

So say you woke up one morning and forgot that it was your precious child’s second birthday that day. Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t forget for long, because there seems to be a kind of time based trigger that the heralds the arrival of the terrible twos bang on a child’s 730th day of existence. There is no easing into the situation or time to enjoy two. Just a punch in the guts and a sandwich thrown at your face.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking that your 18-month-old is terribly advanced and has peaked at the terrible twos early. This is a false alarm. I repeat, a false alarm. You have a reprieve and you should make the most of it knowing that the best (and by best, I mean the worst) is yet to come.

So what are the signs? Other than being two?

  1. Your toddler will ask, nay beg for a biscuit/apple/milk/insert other food here and as soon as you give in it to them they will throw/drop/smoosh it and deny ever having asked for it in the first place. Then they will cry that said food has been smooshed/dropped/thrown. It’s a viscious cycle.
  2. While happily playing with a toy/your phone they will suddenly throw/drop the object and then become inconsolable that it is now on the floor. They are rendered incapable of picking up the object and will rely on you walking to their exact location to retrieve it for them.
  3. You do everything wrong. You serve their breakfast on the wrong plate. You use the wrong technique for closing their water bottle. You select the wrong t-shirt to wear to daycare. You sing the wrong song at bedtime. Even though when you did all those things yesterday they were fine, they are now wrong. How could you?
  4. Related to number 3, you are like a PI trying to discover the “right” way of doing things. You are constantly guessing and trying to piece together the clues as to what this tiny monster child of yours is after.
  5. You are collapsing into bed every night, probably more exhausted than you were in those early newborn days. You feel dazed and confused. Did today really happen? Has my life really come to this?

And just as quickly as they turn on you, they reach their tiny hand out to hold yours and give you a kiss or cuddle or tell you they love you and suddenly they aren’t so terrible after all. The ills of the day are forgotten as you take in their sweet scent and feel their silky soft skin next to yours. And don’t worry, I hear the “threenage” years are an even more joyful experience…

Have you hit the terrible twos? What advice do you have for making it through to the other side?

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