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The hot & cold of a two year old

This weekend was the kind where Kelly and I question our sanity, plan for strawberry margaritas in the blender Sunday evening, and start planning a vacation without the children. It's winter in Chicago and everybody has a bit of cabin fever methinks.

Which, of course, we tried to alleviate on Saturday with a playdate to the zoo with my friend who is a former coworker and has a son the same age as Cole. The plan was to meet to exchange the diaper covers we had in storage and enjoy a little time together since we rarely get to see each other. It did not go well. Forget the fact that they have taken dramatically different development paths and are into very different things. Cole can't even get to the point where he would like to find out if friends could be fun.

You never know with him. Cole, at two, is a bit of a wild card. He can be cute, fantastically playful, kind, considerate, enthusiastic about exploring. Or he can be stubborn, demanding, easily frustrated, and he'll just lay on the ground hitting his head on whatever he can find, angrily throwing things in a rage of epic proportions. Saturday was a "my way, when I want it, where I want to go, no to everything" kind of day.

Unfortunately for all of us, we got more Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll.

At home, usually it is easy to move him onto other things. Or offer him comfort that ends the tantrum. But in public it can be a different story. And, perhaps, some of our failing as parents that we're too eager to sort through the usual cast of characters when it comes to snake-charming him. Rather than trying to disenthrall him of the behavior to begin. The common expert advice is to let the mood pass, ignore it, remove your child from the situation, and they'll grow out of this phase eventually. Easier said than done though.

Kelly and I are frustrated ourselves and trying not to show it because we've committed ourselves to patience and not blowing our tops--which solves nothing for anybody. But both of us expressed the need to bottle up how upset we were at various points this weekend. It's hard to channel the Dalai Lama as a beacon of understanding and love as a parent sometimes. We're only human.

Having a two year old has given both of us some of the most awesome many ways more special than having a newborn. Yes, two is fun and cute and wonderful. But it's also the valley of despair when you realize the little ball of tyrannical emotion you're up against. He has no words or outlet. He's old enough yet still too young. He can be reasoned with...up to a point and then there is no logic or rationale behind what he feels and is thinking.

Letting him pick his own clothes at home is one thing when he selects pajama bottoms to wear all day. It's another when the outside temperature is 40 degrees and you now must put your foot down that shoes and socks MUST be worn. No choice on this one.

Welcome to the world of two. They're not so terrible. Until they are. Then "terrible" is not a harsh enough word to describe the mind of a moody toddler who feels the need to express his rage with a hand to your face and a series of "no, no, no, no, no."

No to the world!

For what it's worth, I've gotten very good at wrestling a tiny person into pants against their will. There's got to be money in that, right? I smell a career.


  1. I must say that you two are a well oiled parenting machine. You both handled the situation well, even if you bottled up your frustration and emotions.
    It also amazes me how different our boys are. Evan thrives in high stimulus situations and leaves his tantrums to home or the grocery store when he is bored and cranky.

    1. Aww, thanks. We still felt bad. Yours was so well-behaved. Cole has his moments of good little boy. It really does feel like the more he is engaging lately--learning, talking--the frequency of outbursts has gone up. I think he's become less passive about the world and we're getting the blowback. Exploring breeds frustration. No wonder the New World got conquered. lol


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