A few weeks ago an elderly couple stopped to look at my family. We were sitting on a bench waiting for my son to finish eating a snack before going into a local arboretum. We were all calm and happy to have a day together. My husband and I probably looked exhausted, as we usually do.
“Remember,” they said as they passed us. “These are best years.”
If you go by the books, the internet, and other parents of young kids, you’d think that the toddler years are pretty hard. Part of them are actually called, the Terrible Twos. Terrifying.
In my experience, they can be terrible. The moment my sweet baby turned two, he became a stubborn little boy. Life became even more exhausting, frustrating and challenging. On a daily basis I deal with climbing on furniture, jumping off everything, random screaming and seemingly calculated tantrums. I would be lying, however, if I didn’t tell you that this is also the most fun I’ve ever had. The elderly couple with years of experience knew what they were talking about. The twos are happier than books and websites lead on.
If you look at the perks of living with a two year old you’ll find hilarious conversation, non-stop playfulness and lots of hugs and kisses. What is not to love?!
My all time favorite two-year old quirk is this thing he’s come up with on his own. He’ll walk away from me, turn around to face me, open his arms and say “big hug for mom” as he runs towards me to give me a big hug. I melt every time he does it. I also love the random kisses he gives me and his sister.
It is not just about affection, though. A two year old can manage some chores, so he puts trash in the can when we ask him to, wipes off any water he spills and organizes his playroom with me- it is often the cleanest room in the house. This makes my life a bit easier. As he is helping out, he says to himself. “Good job, H”
His growing need for independence means that I often find him happily playing or going through his books without needing me to entertain him. This time allows me to nurse the baby, quickly check my email and even make a phone call. When he was a baby I did’t think this would be possible while he was awake!
When we go to the playground and there are no other children, I find myself jumping, swinging and hanging alongside with him; not to micromanage his play, but to play together. He thinks is fun, and so do I.
Maybe we should rethink the terrible twos. Perhaps if they didn’t have such a bad reputation they wouldn’t be so terrible.
What is or was your favorite part of living with a two year old? How did you deal with your least favorite part?