The Terribly Terrific Twos


I currently have an infant and a two year old. Needless to say, there is a lot of crying happening at my house these days. Obviously, that is to be expected from my infant daughter, and I had certainly heard of the expression “terrible twos” before, but I never realized just how much crying (read: screaming) there would be. Crying about not getting to open a door? Yep. Crying about the dog looking at him? Done it. Crying about the wrong color plate? You bet. Crying because “I don’t want to get a grip”? . . . I never saw that one coming (and I totally laughed). In these moments it is easy to understand why this stage of life is often referred to as terrible. But, believing the sentiment is doing a great disservice to the absolute beauty and wonder of a two year old. These little humans are not easy to take care of. But they are terribly terrific.


“I do it myself!!!”

So much of the frustration, at least at our house, of living with a two year old comes in when he wants to do things by himself and we are either in too big a hurry or I am just running on empty. If I had a dollar for every meltdown that started with, “I buckle top!” (of the car seat) or “I want to close it!” (the garage), I would be a very rich woman. But, what we tend to overlook, myself included, is the amazing development going on in these moments! Our children have watched us complete these mundane tasks hundreds of times and now have the confidence to complete the tasks themselves. The most amazing thing about this is that I never looked at my son and said, “Buddy, this is how you buckle the car seat.” He learned by watching us. We have to let our children try things for themselves so they will continue to try and learn. If we can teach our toddlers small tasks without trying, just think of what we can teach them with intentional time and effort!

Eating ice cream “by myself”

Obedience and defiance

Leave the dog alone…

Also a struggle during the terrific twos: defiance! I think two year olds use the word “no” more than any other people group on the planet! But, just as they are learning to defy adults, they are also learning to obey. I cannot adequately describe the joy, pride, and relief that comes over me when my son follows a direction I have given him. We easily forget that children are not born with the understanding that they are supposed to obey their parents, they have to be taught. I have to check myself so often because it is tempting to say, “You know better than that!” when my son disobeys. But, does he? Does he know better? Mostly, he does not. Eventually, he will know better but right now he is still learning. If we celebrate moments of obedience and use moments of defiance to teach, we will all be less frustrated.

Pure, unhindered excitement

My most favorite part of this age, so far, is absolutely the excitement that our son shows over various friends, experiences, and accomplishments. He now knows his friends by name and lights up when I tell him we have a play date. He squeals when we are driving and he sees horses, or cows, or ducks, or, well, any animal and says “Hey!” to them. He has also become more aware of his own abilities. When he builds a block tower, he will say, “Mommy! Look!” This gives me the opportunity to affirm him and say, “Great job, buddy!” He also understands that he has done something well (like sleep all night) when I say, “I’m proud of you”. Nothing is sweeter than seeing words of encouragement sink into your baby’s heart as they beam with pride.

Two-year-old excitement!

Two year olds come with so many unique challenges. But they also come with more hugs, more kisses, and more “I love yous”. They come with an amazing number of statements that could qualify for Kids Say the Darndest Things. And, most of all, they come with a sense of awe and wonder that won’t last forever. Let’s foster all of the amazingness that comes with the terribly terrific twos!

*Clarification: My son is not for sale. This photo was sent to my mom on a particularly “terrific” day. 🙂