The terrible twos. Well let me tell you, they're pretty terrible.
This past weekend, we attempted to take Charlotte down to New York City to visit Auntie Mel and some of my other college friends. On the agenda - visiting the 9/11 memorial, wandering through the American Natural History Museum, shopping at FAO Schwartz, eating at some of New York's finest child friendly restaurants. And what did we actually check off our list? One item - the 9/11 memorial. And I think that only happened because we had timed tickets and Charlotte slept through most of the visit.
Charlotte spent most of the time screaming any one of the following words/ phrases:
"I don't want it."
"Go, go, go."
"House now" (which means home).
"Mommy. Daddy. Mommy. Daddy" (as Justin and I passed her back and forth).
And mind you, those screams were intermingled with tears, snot, hitting, biting, shrilling, shrieking - you name it, we had it.
I mean, I've read the articles. These toddlers are terrible because they can't quite express themselves. They can't communicate what they're feeling. They're inherently bipolar at this age. They're testing boundaries. They're overwhelmed. Etc, etc, etc.
Suggestions on how to deal with the terrible twos? The articles suggest using short time outs, staying calm, explaining why such actions are inappropriate, ignoring the behavior completely...the list goes on and on.
We have tried it all. I'm not quite sure how many time outs it takes to calm a two year old. Maybe the same number of licks it takes to get to the center of tootsie roll pop. But what I do know is that it's exhausting - especially when we are outside of our home.
However...yes, thank goodness there is a however...all it takes to make the frustration and anger disappear (from my end) is, get this, one smile from Charlotte. With one small giggle, she immediately mutates from an evil, loud and scary monster into this perfect little angel. The transformation is eerily instantaneous. And when the tears finally do stop, I feel a huge weight just lifted from my shoulders.
We ended up leaving New York City a day early and the second Charlotte saw the suitcases packed, she immediately calmed down. She started smiling and talking again. It took her three days of crying, but she finally got what she wanted. Maybe we should not have given in and let this tiny little person control our lives. But, on the other hand, she is our life. And each scream and tear breaks my heart a little more.
So to Auntie Mel who endured all of that terrible two-ness, thank you. And as my sister said, I still can't believe you invited us back. :) And to my darling, sweet Charlotte. I love you. But you really need to get it together. And for my sanity, I hope it happens a lot sooner than later.