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Paul Thomas: Things to Remember, Terrible Two's (aka Terrible Nineteen Months)

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme about the girl with a curl in the middle of her head?  The poem went like this:

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.

I've rewritten it to apply to LP.  Here's my version:

There was a little boy who had a big ol' bruise
Right in the middle of his forehead;
When he was good, he was very, very good,
And when he was bad he was horrid (and drove his Mommy nuts).

LP has either hit the "Terrible Twos" early or is giving us a preview of defiant adolescent behavior (or perhaps both).  The last few weeks have found me biting me tongue, stifling my impulse to scream and/or cry, and generally feeling very frustrated.

For the most part, I know I shouldn't really complain.  LP is still a very good little boy.  He's friendly, loves going to day care, and plays nicely with other children.  But man, when he decides to be naughty or gets in a cranky mood Watch the Freak Out (and feel free to replace "Freak" with an altogether different f-word if you feel so inclined- I do when I say it to myself)! 

Little Paul is now big enough to climb on the couch.  Which is great when he just wants to sit there and read his books.  Not so great when he climbs up there to torture the dogs, throw all the pillows on the floor, and tries to knock all the picture frames off the sofa table.

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He's also tall enough to easily reach the counter.  Which so far has resulted in one broken plate when he tried to pull the drying rack towards him so that he could play with the lid to the blender.  Fortunately there were no injuries.

We're now training ourselves to use the back burners on the stove and to keep EVERYTHING away from the edge of the counter (particularly the knives).

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While he used to go down for naps and to bed at night so nicely, talking and reading to himself until he fell asleep, more often than not these days he cries and screams and generally carries on until I'm afraid he'll make himself sick (which has been known to happen).  And that's after he's already dragged out the bedtime routine by throwing a fit when we try to change him into his jammies and oh-so-slowly making his way upstairs, pausing at each step to say "bye-bye," and "night-night" to Daddy and the dogs.

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Now I know that all kids have their food issues and their picky stages (after all, I was once a toddler who would only eat croutons) but for me, meal times are the absolute worst.  I have a very hard time remaining patient and calm while he's throwing his dinner on the floor.  I've mostly given up on making him anything special as I'm certain he's not going to eat it and it frustrates me to no end to spend time cooking and then watching him toss it all off his tray.  He happily eats almost anything at day care and when other children are around but forget about it at home.  If it's not a banana, yogurt, cheese stick, or a cereal bar he pretty much wants nothing to do with it.  Apparently you can live (and even thrive) for quite a while on such a limited menu though. 

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Little Paul has begun peppering his speech with a liberal litany of "no-no-no!!!"  He'll ask for a cup of juice and then throw it across the room yelling "NO!" after you give it to him.  He'll ask you to read a story and then, again, throws it across the room while yelling "NO!" if you try to open the book. 

He's also developed the ability to whine.  This morning when I dropped him off at day care instead of running to say "Hi!" to everyone he sat down on my feet and whined.  He refused to let me take his jacket off and wouldn't talk to anyone.  He eventually gave into promises of juice and waffles and I'm hoping that was just a one-time deal but he's been whiny at home too so I'm not holding my breath. 

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Like the little girl with the curl though, it's not all bad.  When he's good he's oh so very good.  His new favorite word (after "No!") is "doin'?"  As in "whatcha doin'?" and he asks each of us many times a day what we're "doin'." 

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And Little Paul continues to love "helping" with things.  This week he's into throwing things away (which has been great except for when I caught him trying to throw my cell phone away) and watering the plants in the back yard (This involves Daddy filling a bucket with water.  Then LP gets a tupperware container, dunks it in the bucket, carries it to the watering can, pours the water into the watering can, and then carries the watering can over to the plants.  Perhaps not the most efficient method but it sure keeps him occupied for a while!)

Yesterday I was even able to get some sewing done while he played in the family room.  Now granted, I had to put an Elmo movie on the t.v. to get him to stay in the other room but still!  I was able to keep an eye on him while he played nicely by himself AND hem a shirt I've been working on- yay! 

Here's hoping that we see a lot more of Dr. Jekyll than we do of Mr. Hyde


  1. OMG... I can so relate to everything you wrote here. I can honestly say the 18 month stage was WAY worse than the 2's. Then, at 3, it gets even more fun! :o) But, really, a year and a half is rough, and then you're in the clear until 3. It is so worth it, though!!


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