Two – it’s a gorgeous age isn’t it? Full of toddler giggles and huge, snuggly cuddles and hours digging happily in mud. Two-year olds love their parents unreservedly and without judgement – we are the best things that ever walked the planet to them. They laugh a lot, the smallest things make them happy and the things they say are hilarious and cute. Who wouldn’t want to live with a two year old? Who wouldn’t want to live with twenty two year olds?!
Well… except that two year olds, for all their adorableness, can behave like little monsters. Like shouting, screaming, unreasonable tyrants. And while it’s a totally normal part of their development, it can be completely exhausting to deal with. The lack of logic and control they possess can be fairly staggering, I think.
I’ve been through my share of toddler ups and downs with my three boys although, up until last week, I’ve felt very lucky with my youngest. He’s two-and-a-half now and he’s always been a laid-back type who’s happy to just fit in and get on with things. But last week we went on holiday and all that changed – he found his inner toddler and throughly got his ‘two’ on. I don’t mean he wasn’t lovely some of the time too… but you never knew when he was going to flip. He was basically marmite – you either couldn’t fail to be charmed or you really wanted to run in the opposite direction.
A case in point were these conversations with him that occurred close together:
Scene One – the swimming pool. While his brothers
swim splash noisily in the water, the toddler sits on my lap on a step at the shallow end.
Toddler: *snuggling up to me* “Awww my baby” (a phrase he uses to mean ‘give me a cuddle’. I didn’t realise that I often say this when I cuddle him till he started using it as a request!) then, looking deep into my eyes as only a toddler can, “Mummy loves Liddy” (his current name for himself)
Me: “I do, I love you very much.”
Toddler: “And you loves your (his brother’s name).”
Me: ” I do, yes.”
Toddler: “And you loves your (his other brother’s name).”
Me: “I do, I love ALL my boys very much!”
Toddler: * fixes me with the most sincere expression I have ever seen in my life* “And I LOVES my mummy.” *gives me a huge hug*
So obviously my heart was melting a bit after that.
But then there was:
Scene Two – in the car on the way home from the pool. All three boys are in the back.
Me: *cheerfully* “Home we go!”
Toddler: *suddenly inexplicably angry* ” NO! We NOT going home!”
Me: *breezily – trying to head off the tantrum at the pass* “No, I suppose not, since we’re on holiday… we’re going back to our holiday home!”
Toddler: *Fury building* “NO! WE NOT GOING BACK TO OUR HOLIDAY HOME.”
Brothers: *erupt in gales of laughter*
Me: “… well… I…”
Toddler: *Incandescent with rage and pointing wildly at his brothers* “NO! YOU. NOT. LAUGHING! WE NOT GOING HOME!!”
Me: *Thinking quickly… must distract him…* “Oh look! It’s started raining.”
Toddler: *Starring at heavy rain with murder in his eyes* “NO! IT! NOT! RAINING!”
Me: *not quite sure what to say* “Well, I think it is, poppet, just a little bit.”
*Brothers manic laughter adds to frenzied feel in the car*
Toddler: “NO! IT NOT RAINING! IT! NOT! RAINING!“
*builds up to crescendo of rage* “IT SUNNY!!!!!“
Thankfully we arrived home. He calmed down. *Whispers so as not to tempt fate* luckily his tantrums don’t last long.
Ah, my gorgeous Jekyll and Hyde.
You know what? I love Marmite.