A Toddler’s Guide to the Terrible Two’s

I got a letter from my good friend Emalee and I wanted to share it with all you other toddlers out there. This is some really great stuff, if you need pointers look no further. Emalee is a pro!

Dear Madison,

Hi there! My name is Emalee, my mommy blogs over at Southern Mess Moms and she thought it would be really neat if I wrote you a letter. It took me a while to decide which part of my vast four year old knowledge I should share with you and then it hit me!

You’re almost 2! You totally need the How to: Terrible Twos, I mean you don’t want to get it wrong! It’s really not that complicated, but I know having a how to guide can make it a whole lot easier. So here goes nothing!

First I want to let you know some of the changes in yourself you may be noticing and curious about.

  • You are pretty much FULLY mobile now! YAY! This means that you can now get into anything and everything that you see! How awesome is that?!? Mommy may put up those silly “baby” gates but no worries you can totally climb those!
  • You are still learning how to communicate and let Mommy know what it is that you want or need. This will get easier and easier with time. Your vocabulary is growing every day! Did you ever think you would know this many words? It’s pretty cool huh?.
  • You are going through some major motor, intellectual, social, and emotional changes. These may seem really hard to deal with sometimes, but you will make it through.
  • You are going to start the struggle between being reliant on Mommy and wanting to be independent.
  • Mommy is going through some changes right now too! She is going to do her best to set up things called rules and limits so that you don’t get hurt. You should probably listen to most of these, however testing limits is a HUGE part of the Terrible Twos. Here are a few new rules and limits Mommy may come up with:
  • If you don’t already have one, she is going to set up a schedule for your naps, meals, bedtime, etc. She thinks this is going to help with your new take on life…we shall see! She is probably going to start offering you “limited” choices when it comes to things like food, clothes, toys, etc.; kind of an either or situation instead of an open ended question. SCORE! She is giving you control slowly but surely and she doesn’t even realize it yet!

Now that you have an idea of what changes are coming up (if they haven’t already started, you don’t have to wait until you’re two you know) here comes the fun stuff!

What is expected of you during the Terrible Twos:

  • General mayhem! This gets pretty fun I promise. You will learn the power the word NO has to antagonize Mommy and you should use it often! Be curious about EVERYTHING! It’s infectious and can lead to even more mayhem and chaos!

  • Lots and lots of mishaps! Mommy is going to think these “feel” accidental which makes it a lot easier for her to forgive, be sure to take advantage of this as often as possible. Temper tantrums will become a part of your daily life. You should be sure to have several a day, the more the better really. If Mommy ignores your tantrums you should assume that they aren’t working and try something else. It’s okay if you don’t get this right the first time, you can always keep having the tantrum and see what happens. If Mommy yells or attempts to subdue you with affection you have won! Be sure you make the tantrum last even longer than originally planned.
  • If Mommy walks away to have her very own Time-out (we will get to those dreaded things in a bit) it means that your tantrum has reached its highest possible point. You should be proud and pat yourself on the back for your success. When you can’t do something that you think you should be able to do on your own, go ahead and throw a tantrum, even if you aren’t sure the situation calls for it. When you don’t understand something or how something makes you feel your best option is to pitch an all out fit. Be sure it is the good kind, you know what I mean: lie on the floor, scream loudly, bang fists, and kick your legs. Make sure to milk it for all it is worth! You’ll want to switch your mood randomly and without warning. Watching Mommy’s confusion will be priceless!
  • Express your growing independence whenever the opportunity arises. You are fearless and have an adventurous spirit. You should go into “monkey mode” and get onto tables, high beds, cabinets, the kitchen counter, everything! This is going to set Mommy’s nerves on edge…so maybe you should use some pillows and a blanket when you choose to dive off. Mommy will use words such as limits and rules…but don’t let that stop you…this is necessary for your self-discovery. You have to learn that you have limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and you have the ability to makes things happen all on your own. You should live in the moment. You have a kind of short attention span so you don’t hold grudges or worry about the past much. Just focus on what is in front of you.
  • Say “I can do it myself” as loud and as often as you can. Remember, you should be expressing your independence whenever you can. You should think outside of the “play”box by drawing on the wall and putting dead (or live) bugs in Mommy’s underwear drawer, trust me this is an act of genius on your part. You have your own way of looking at life. You don’t have inhibitions, you have raw creativity…approach everything with passion and fresh eyes. You are a leader in the making. You need to have a strong will and be sure to exhaust Mommy. You need to be opinionated, bossy, and know what you want and how to get it.

  • Be hard-headed and stubborn. This will get you far in life…or possibly into trouble, either way it is worth it. Just as a warning Mommy will develop new consequences for your new behavior. These may include but are not limited to:

Time-out: Mommy will take away all toys, sit you in a quiet area, and make you stay there and do NOTHING for a certain amount of time. A timer should let you know when you are done and can continue your mayhem and chaos. Be sure to spend this time figuring out NOT what you did wrong…but how you got caught.

Loss of privileges: Ugh! Can you believe that Mommy thinks there are things you don’t HAVE to have? Seriously! What is she thinking!

  • There are a lot of positive things that come from the so called Terrible Twos. You are full of creativity and a huge imagination that Mommy is going to want to help grow even more. She may even set up a “free creative play” area for you so that you can let loose and have fun. This could be anything from an art shelf to outdoor play, be sure to let her know what interests you most. My biggest advice for this time and the up-coming years is this:

Kisses are magic; they can do anything from healing inevitable boo-boos to making nightmares go away. Soak up as many as you can and never go without. I promise, all you have to do is ask and Mommy will gladly share them with you!

Well, that is the sum total of my advice on how to properly make your way through the Terrible Twos! If you have any questions please let me know. I would be happy to share my tips and tricks on how to get away with things with you! I have become quite the expert!

PS: The Terrible Twos can be misleading for Mommy, they so don’t end at the end of age two! I’m four and still going strong!

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