We are on the same team and share the same goal: connection
No, I am not delusional. Like you, I am also in the thick of toddlerdom with two very headstrong little girls giving me a run for my money. But I tire of hearing about the 'Terrible Twos' and parents who are dreading this stage or who are potentially increasing their levels of anger and frustration because of their belief in it.
I seem to get a double dose of strangers' sympathy when their passing comments involve 'double trouble and 'the terrible twos', to which I have politely retorted "It's twice as nice actually!"
Your mindset as a parent is incredibly powerful in building your relationship with your children and while I have constantly struggled with this, I am taking proactive measures to create new thought patterns around parenthood.
I hope that these 5 pointers can encourage others to do the same.
Why is Two so Terrific?
When your little one was a baby, perhaps you got an inkling into the traits of their personality; the completely unique fascinating person that they are. But I imagine those glimpses pale into comparison with the absolute explosion of their identity as they reach two years old.
I more than most have the opportunity to watch the diverse personalities of my identical twins unfold at the same time. And it is magic. There is not must else in life that creates so much delight form myself and my family just to watch my girls together and individually becoming little people with opinions, likes and dislikes and the hilarious exchanges between toddler and adult.
The greatest frustration for me as a parent was and still is trying to decipher my girls' needs while they are still pre-verbal. Their great leaps in communication and language as two year olds have us constantly surprised by their observation skills and often in fits of laughter as they parrot us or have entertaining conversations.
People often ask me if my twins have developed their own special language and I have to say no, however they do understand each other better than we do at times and communicate in unspoken ways that I have sometimes caught when watching them interact. Language is a fantastic bonus of our children entering the Terrific Twos.
3. Discovery and Mastery
There is something incredibly special about watching your children discover something for the first time or mastering a new skill. Celebrating that with them has to be one of the highlights of parenthood and I imagine only grows with time. Enjoy the look on their face when they have conquered an obstacle or can show you a new skill.
When you express great delight and wonder, it is an amazing boost for your child's self-esteem, encouraging further exploration. We recently rugged our girls up and took them out on a night walk around the neighbourhood before bed. I think this was the very first time they had seen the twinkling stars they have often sung about. Their sheer excitement at the dark, the large moon and how everything looked so different was quite enchanting.
Oh the kisses and cuddles Ė I will take them all! A friend who has adult children recently told me how he had always tried to bring forward the memory of little arms around his neck and the little wet kisses of his children as he knew that one day they would be no longer. He had me in floods of tears. My precious girls, who werenít overly cuddly babies, constantly ask us for cuddles and I do everything I can to stop what I am doing and tell them, "mummy would love to give you a cuddle and I will always love cuddles with you".
A more recent development is that of holding my face looking into my eyes and planting little kisses in the general vicinity of my lips. I am taking it all in and taking my friends advice, committing these priceless moments to memory.
5. Partnership You donít have to be at odds with your two year old. My goodness, there are days when your instructions bounce off and their frustration and emotions take over, but the battle lines arenít drawn. We are on the same team and share the same goal: connection.
A psychologist friend who specialises in parent child relationships told me that the major driver for children is connection. This seems so confusing to me when I watch them seemingly out of control, or angry and pushing me away. The coming alongside of your child, showing them acceptance and care, strong boundaries and clear expectations, love and warmth is the greatest partnership you can have with your terrific two year old.
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.