Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Terrible Twos

There are many common myths about parenting and parenthood. Today, I wish to talk about the widespread myth known as “The Terrible Twos.” This myth is quite unusual in that it is mostly true. But the NAME of it is the myth part. The Terrible Twos have very little to do with the Twos. They actually start around 18 months (or in some highly developed youngsters… 14 months). This is the time when toddlers begin to gain more independence, and the result is a series of temper tantrums and battles of will that we refer to as Terrible.

And they are.

We have been seeing more and more independence from our little pumpkin. She has been running around the house opening and closing things (including her diaper pail), sorting and rearranging things (including the contents of her diaper pail), and screaming uncontrollably when she doesn’t get what she wants (like getting to play in her diaper pail).

Today, however, we knew we had officially entered the Terrible Twos. Starting in the early afternoon, we began to see a rash of tantrums, complete with ear piercing screams and head thrashing. It has been exhausting and, when the tantrums occur in public, embarrassing. However, I never cease to be amazed at the patience of my husband and the kindness of strangers. My better half held her and soothed her and made her giggle. And the strangers in the grocery store didn’t seem bothered at all as the baby tossed a peach at the floor with the arm of Roger Clemons.

In fact, I should take this moment to comment on exactly how unfazed the strangers in the grocery store were. I went to the new Harris Teeter that was built just across the street from my old favorite – Lowe’s Foods. I decided today that I would try the new store, as they provide special parking for mothers with young children and I wanted to feel special. (Heaven help you if you are a father with young children. Guess you just have to hoof it.)

However, I felt anything but special once inside. Athena was in the middle of a rollicking temper tantrum when I hit the register. So I had to hold her, to prevent her from gnawing off her own arm in frustration. As the clerk started ringing up my $200 worth of groceries, no one came to bag the stuff, so I headed to the bottom of the counter and started cramming stuff into bags as best I could with one hand. I was thinking that surely once the clerk finished, or hopefully, as soon as someone like a manager noticed that I was struggling, a pimply-faced high school kid would show up with a kind smile and rescue me from my awkward situation. But it didn’t happen. FINALLY, as I paid for my haul, someone DID show up and offer to help me to the car. At which point, Athena was calm, collected, and angel-faced. I accepted the help anyway. Better late than never.

So if you call or come by in the next… oh… year or so… just prepared for a mommy who only knows how to say “NO! Sweetie! NO! Do NOT open the diaper pail!”

1 comment:

Judy said...

I think I can remember back about 21 years or so that people tend to move in the other direction, FAST, while trying to appear nonchalant, when the little one is having a tantrum.

I do admit to doing so myself nowadays....