The Terribly Wonderful Twos

5

September 1, 2013 by Julia

Of course, the Terrible Twos don’t begin the minute a child turns two years old. They gradually sneak up on you, until suddenly your child is having a mother of a tantrum on the ground floor of Ikea, and I can’t find my way out! I’ve been here sixty times but they just rearranged everything and I’m stuck in a labyrinth of quirky pillows and tempting storage options while everyone tries not to stare at the writhing, SCREAMING child in my arms! HA HA, everyone, it’s just the Twos! Don’t mind us!!

When that happened, Jack was around twenty-three months. He recently turned into an actual two-year-old, though. The week leading up to his birthday, he was a mess – clingy, whiny, scream-y, a tornado of demands and frustration – and as he flung food across the family dinner table I announced, “We’re canceling Jack’s birthday this year!” (Fiona is exposed to enough sarcasm in her daily life that she barely reacted.)

At the last minute we went ahead with his birthday, though – what the heck! The presents were already wrapped.

And of course it was awesome. I’ve mentioned in the past that celebrating your kid’s birthday is one of the highlights of this whole parenting thing. And it’s true. There may be a lot of preparation or stress in the days beforehand (depending on how Type-A-ish you are as a parent), but it’s kind of like a wedding in that most of the extraneous stuff falls away when the day arrives, and you feel perfectly justified in just focusing on your beloved child, in soaking up the moments with them…rather than tackling the laundry, or whatever.

We started the day with our usual family tradition of walking into his room while singing Happy Birthday and carrying a balloon. As you can see in this video, he was THRILLED:

 

(We’ve watched it about twenty thousand times, by the way. I was half-asleep at the time, so I love to re-live the extreme cuteness while awake.)

Then we opened his presents while eating breakfast.

IMG_6104 IMG_6106 IMG_6113 - Copy IMG_6119 IMG_6133 IMG_6135 IMG_6140 - Copy IMG_6138 IMG_6139 - Copy

And, because it was a Sunday and everyone was off work, we then went to Dennis’ parents’ house for an early afternoon celebration:

IMG_6151 - Copy IMG_6152 IMG_6158 - Copy IMG_6159 IMG_6165 - Copy IMG_6172 - Copy

And THEN we went to MY folks’ house for an early evening celebration:

IMG_6177 - Copy IMG_6180 - Copy IMG_6182 IMG_6186

Does these kids have it good, or what? Three rounds of presents, and we were done for the day.

I went into this birthday wanting to keep things pretty laid-back, party-wise. I mean, he’s only two; he barely understands the concept of birthdays, had no expectations for this one, and probably won’t remember much of it. So we kept it simple on Sunday, and had a great time with our families. Jack was in heaven all day.

I couldn’t resist organizing a “birthday play date,” too, though – mostly because he is developing friends of his own, and they are just SO CUTE together. Most of Fiona’s friends have also grown attached to Jack – what can I say? He’s a wild, goofy charmer.

So on the Tuesday following his birthday, we all met up at a local playground for lunch and playtime. It ended up looking like a real live birthday party because I can’t help decorating a little.

IMG_6192

IMG_6202 - Copy IMG_6238 IMG_6253 IMG_6213 - Copy

I also made an egg-free cake, using a quick solution found by my resourceful mother-in-law, Jackie. Both my kids are allergic to egg, which is in most sweet baked goods. So with this one I substituted a can of coke for the eggs and other wet ingredients that you’re supposed to mix with store-bought cake mix. It turned out pretty decently! The fact that I haphazardly threw in a cup or two of chocolate chips may have helped, too.

IMG_6219 - Copy (2) IMG_6227 - Copy

Bringing sidewalk chalk and a bin of toy cars for the kids to play with in the pavilion worked out well, too.

IMG_6209 IMG_6206

Next year I might just have to do a “real” party the same exact way as this “play date.” Jack (and I) had so much fun.

Baby love

Baby love

IMG_6237

Help with opening presents

Help with opening presents

IMG_6240

Showing Jack his handmade card

Showing Jack his handmade card

Modeling his sister's hat

Modeling his sister’s hat

The twos so far have been intensely stressful in moments, but overall intensely good. I love that Jack still wants me to hold him, and that he will snuggle with me like his life depends on it (sometimes I feel like my life does, too). There is also the cuteness factor, which in my opinion peaks during the toddler years. And his language skills are suddenly exploding. He actually cares about trying to say things – so exciting!

Yes, I often lose my mind when Jack is melting down. But big picture, I’m not freaked out by any of the more difficult behavior. I know most of it is a phase.

I remember how Fiona was at two years old, and although she still carries the same personality traits now, they rarely manifest themselves in full-out tantrums anymore. She even went through a period of hitting her toddler friends (and me) at two and half years, but after struggling to deal with it, she has matured into an empathic, thoughtful friend who can say “no” to some things, but is almost never a source of conflict. I feel like I can take some credit for this, but not all of it. She merely outgrew a phase – she is old enough now to understand how unacceptable hitting really is.

The two-year-olds of the world are a rowdy bunch, for sure. But what is the wonderful without a little terrible thrown in for contrast, anyway?

IMG_6246

My new favorite picture

IMG_6249

5 thoughts on “The Terribly Wonderful Twos

  1. Emmie S. says:

    I swear that picture with him at the beginning of the road just is the most amazing thing. It just screams the start of adventure for this little guy.

    I remember when Shep turned two and realized how scary a child could be now that they could say no back and not just accept the fate that I had dealt. It’s interesting to be able to see their wheels in their head turning for the first time and their creative solutions to small problems or great retaliations when something is not going the way that they want.

    My favorite part of this past year has been trying to understand Shep. I feel like their is a huge release on both sides when he gets through what he is trying to say. Now that he has developed a larger vocabulary, it’s not as cumbersome of a task, but there are still times when he let’s out a mighty ah huh! when I figure out the jumble of words he has put together. It’s such a proud moment even though it’s such a little triumph. It’s awesome to watch and I feel so blessed to be able to stay at home and be apart of it even on the bad days.

  2. Samantha says:

    I love reading your post! Although sometimes it scares me when I think of Desmond’s future tantrums! I can’t wait to prepare Desmond’s first birthday party… even though he won’t remember! Hope to see you guys soon!

    • Julia says:

      He must be so big now – can’t wait to see him in a few weeks! Don’t worry too much about the tantrums…the cuteness of toddlers usually overshadows the harder stuff. A lot of people say the toddler stage is harder than the baby stage, but I disagree. And first birthdays are THE BEST. Such a well-earned celebration for parents and the kid!

  3. […] The Terribly Wonderful Twos (thejoyunderneath.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Julia

Mama-isms...and so much more!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 476 other followers

Archives

Read Diverse Books

Let's Read The World

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Things We Like

a project by jessica gross

LaMonte M. Fowler

an indie author writing to stay sane

Kelsey L. Munger

writer. storyteller.

thecolorlilac.wordpress.com/

Social Justice | Pop Culture | Black Girl Magic

One Awkward Year

wow, this is awkward . . .

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Joy, Lovely Joy

Writing through mothering

Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know

Kicking that pimp called Shame in the shins.

Fit and Feminist

Because it takes strong women to smash the patriarchy.

An Honest Mom

From the hip on mindfulness, parenting, feminism and homesteading.

PRONOIA BLOG

small shares from Pronoia Coaching

James Gillingham - Long Arm Films

Thinking thoughts and making films

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writer, Teacher, Pop Culture Nerd.

Salad At Midnight

Real Life, Real Conversations

Ginger's Grocery

Come on in and browse. The biscuits were made fresh this morning, the Slush Puppie machine was just refilled with a new bottle of red syrup, and we have the biggest selection of bait this close to town.

tressiemc

some of us are brave

Music for Deckchairs

"In shadowy, silent distance grew the iceberg too": universities, technology, work and life

my name is elizabeth

stories about race, culture, and identity

Priss & Vinegar

Lawyer by trade. Writer at heart. Housewife by accident.

Angela Tucker

Blogger / Speaker / Educator

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Song of the Lark

Music, melodies, mutterings

Adventures of a Teacher Nerdfighter

Building a fifth grade classroom community around enthusiasm, creativity, and awesome.

afourytale

Motherhood and other musings

%d bloggers like this: