I don’t know about you, but I did not find the terrible twos to be quite so terrible.
He’s had his moments obviously, but mostly I have enjoyed this 2-3 age.
Two year olds are sweet. They like cuddles and Peppa Pig, say really cute things like “Lub You” and they sleep during the day.
Being a mother to a 2-year old is fab!
I would do it all over again if I could.
However this week, a few weeks before my son’s third birthday, we have had an insight into what it might be like to parent a 3-year old.
3-year olds answer back.
When you tell them off for smearing chocolate all over the sofa, they laugh and do it again. When you ask them to clean it up, they respond with ‘you clean it…’ and when you tell them to be nice they retort ‘you be nice…’
When you do not give the correct response to ‘Can I have an ice lolly?’ at 7.30 in the morning, they will demand ‘I.WANT.AN.ICE.LOLLY’ over and over and over and over again.
The books tell you not to give in under any circumstances. They say this only encourages the same tantrum behaviour every time the 3-yr old does not get his own way.
There is no point in even trying to reason that ice lollies are a treat for a warm summer’s day and not an alternative to Weetabix, because this will just infuriate a 3-year old even more.
It is not just the desire for an ice lolly that can bring on a total meltdown though.
If you are at home, it is much easier to ignore but most likely, you’ll be out in public and need to find somewhere to take a Time Out.
This has happened to us twice in the last few days.
The first time was on my watch.
We were in a park cafe with a friend and her two children. I had permitted a chocolate treat by way of keeping my almost 3-year old in his chair so that I could drink tea peacefully in mine and chat.
Worked for about 2-minutes.
Then he wanted to get out of his chair and run around the cafe. I asked him to sit down, to finish his chocolate brownie, to sit on my lap, to read a book, to look at my phone, to let me tickle him.
He wanted to run around the cafe.
I scooped him up, returned with him to our table and sat back down.
He let out a scream so loud that everyone turned around to see what I was doing to this poor child.
He threw himself down on the floor and kicked and screamed and cried and hit my leg over and over.
Now, at home I could walk away and let him get the strop out of his system.
But with all eyes in the cafe upon me, I had to put on my best parenting hat and attempt to deal with the situation in such a way that every other parent in there was so impressed that they gasped in awe and congratulated me on being such a wonderful mother.
I picked him up, talked in soothing tones and tried to calm him down. It was too late though, he had completely lost it.
I was certainly not impressing anyone.
My face reddened. I had to take him outside.
We’ll have to go home then.
Well, let’s go back inside then but you have to be good.
I had to take him home.
He sobbed the entire way.
At home, we had a cuddle on the sofa and eventually he relaxed. 10-minutes later, it was all forgotten and he was back to being my sweet little boy again.
The next time it happened was on the Greek God(zilla)’s watch.
He had arrived to collect him from nursery and was greeted with a big happy face. They strolled out of the nursery hand in hand, ready to walk to the bus stop together. As they were leaving, one of the staff asked Zachy if he would like a snack.
The Greek God(zilla) then made the terrible mistake of answering for him.
‘No, we’ll get an ice lolly on the way home’
This was not the answer our almost 3-year old wanted. He wanted the snack AND the ice lolly.
He did not like to feel he was being denied any food, especially a cracker.
In the middle of the car park.
With all eyes upon him, the Greek God(zilla) put on his best parenting hat and decided to…
…call me. At work.
When I answered all I could hear was my son screaming in the background.
‘What do I do? What do I do?!’ asked the Greek God(zilla).
Between sobs and screams and just before I was very rudely cut off, I could just about make out that this particular outburst started after being denied a cracker.
When I was unable to offer any advice other than pick him up out of the road (NOW PLEASE!!), calm him down BUT DO NOT GIVE IN, the Greek God(zilla) hung up the phone and carefully considered everything I said for about a millisecond.
Then took him straight back to the nursery to get a cracker.
How do you deal with toddler tantrums?