Why underestimating the 'terrible twos' has come at a cost: 'He's definitely in charge'

Picture: Getty Images
Picture: Getty Images 

This morning I was awoken at 4.45am with some not so gentle pats to the face.

"Wake up mummy, I want breakfast. Come on, I want a banana."

At some point in the night he'd woken up and, not wanting to deal with the tantrum that would come with taking him into bed or trying to pat him off to sleep, I'd agreed to his requests (demands) to sleep on the lounge.

It's become a habit I'm not proud of. Even less so when it came with the realisation today that he is, most definitely, in charge.

Like many parents - or else I feel there would be less children around - I grossly underestimated the terrible twos stage. Surely it's exaggerated, I thought. If only a different parenting approach was taken, everyone would be happier.

I am currently paying a premium for my smugness. How can someone so small, summon such fury at will?

It's become apparent over the last few weeks that any attempts at gentle reasoning are failing. This is especially evident when his voice drops and he mimics back to me – in perfect context 'stop mummy, listen to me', when I've told him no and he wants to 'negotiate'.

Firmer parenting also has little affect. No is a game which is even funnier when we're short on time.

Car seats? A challenge. Getting back in the pram after the playground? An opportunity to show off his vocals. Offering him a plate of the food he just asked for? I'm sure his screams have the neighbours' asking some questions.

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Boundary pushing is the rite of passing for two-year-olds and while I know it's an important developmental stage, it's one I'm eager emerge at the other side from.

I'm clinging to the wisdom of veteran parents who tell me he'll eventually become a child I can confidently take out in public.

That letting him express his feelings however he needs – flailing legs and all, will eventually see him grow into a child who is in tune with his emotions.

Until then, my angel faced fiend and I will be swinging between his two speeds of random cuddles and 'I love you to the moon and back' and toddler angst.

Bring on the three-nager stage – if we can make it through the twos, we'll be ready for anything.