"The worst feature of a new baby is its mother's singing." — Kin Hubbard
Jacob turned two years old in July. What a happy little dude he is, until I say that horrible, despicable, awful word: “No.” It all happens in slow motion for me:
I’ve heard different things. Ignore him, let him know who’s boss, cuddle him while he fights your embrace, walk away and give us both space, etc. I try to think about how I feel when I’m told “No”. If I really want something, I consider asking “why?” and enter into a non-heated debate of opinions until I am satisfied with the explanation or get what I want.
But, a two-year old doesn’t have enough vocabulary to calmly sit down and have a good old debate. So all his feelings bubble up and he literally hits a boiling point. It makes complete sense to me. I can relate to him too. I feel the same way a few times a day as a homemaker. However, at my age, I’ve learned how to save the rage till after he goes to bed, then write in my journal or have a fist fight with a pillow while sobbing out all the bad feelings.
So how do I respond to the little demon who comes out when I say “No”? I try my best to be understanding. I don’t give in to what he wants (usually ice cream for breakfast or pretzels for lunch or to bring his entire wooden Thomas train set into the bath). I say “I’m sorry you feel sad, but we can’t do that right now.” Which usually brings on a whole new level of sobs. But I figure, it’s good for him. I do it, in private so I don’t freak him out, and feel like a new person afterwards.
His anger, and tantrums are totally normal. At two, I don’t think I need to teach him to “suck it up” I think he needs his feelings validated, felt and then to move on to playtime. Ignoring him? That’s not my style. I would feel absolutely rejected, defeated and unimportant if someone I love dearly paid no attention to me if I was sobbing.
He needs to know I love him, so much, that I won’t let him eat ice cream for breakfast, and that when he’s upset about it, mommy sympathizes with him.
This will all pass. I tell myself it’s just a season, like winter. Actually that’s the perfect season for “the terrible twos” – dreary and long, but often filled with absolute joy, excitement and carefree play.
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