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Terrible Two's or just Terrible?


The last couple of weeks have been a little challenging with Zach.  It seems no matter what I do I cannot please the boy.  He is 13 days away from turning two and right now I’m wondering if we are going to make it through those 13 days. 

At first I blamed it on him being sick, then on teething, on developmental stages, leaving him overnight, and on the terrible two’s.  I’ve read tons of parenting web sites and even flipped through the toddler how-to books that line my bookshelves trying to find some kind of explanation for his behavior.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no explanation.

There is no rhyme or reason for his behavior.  He gets mad when I wake him up in the morning.  He gets mad when I try to change his clothes.  He gets mad when I pour him a cup of milk that he asked me for two seconds before.  He really gets mad when I drop him off at day care–so mad that he refuses to eat breakfast and flips himself out of his chair onto the floor.  He gets mad when I pick him up and when I put him down.  He screams, cries, and occasionally swings and hits.  But mostly, he just cries.

I know kids go through phases, but this one has just about done me in.  I’m trying really hard to react in a loving way without giving in too much.  I know that I have to choose which battles I’m going to fight.  Does it really matter whether he wears his pj’s to day care?  No.  Does it matter if he gets his diaper changed?  Yes.  I don’t think that is really unreasonable, but he seems to think I’m the world’s worst mother for it.

Every day I’m trying to come up with a new game plan for the morning routine because it seems to be the hardest part of the day and the routine I came up with the day before didn’t work.  I’ve tried getting him up earlier, getting him up later, changing the order of when and how we do each morning task and nothing seems to work.  The new plan involves me waking up at least a half hour earlier in the morning and trying to get him to eat breakfast at home.  At least that way he gets some food in him before the screaming and crying start.  If it works I’ll gladly give up that extra half hour of sleep.

I realize that the only thing that will really work is to just give it time.  It has to stop eventually, right?  I just don’t get how that little angelic face above can turn into this in a matter of seconds.

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  1. I hate to tell you this but he sounds quite a bit like my teenage boys. EEK!

    IMO boys get better around 2.5 and are eneergetic but nicer until they hit 4. That’s just MY theory. Humor worked well with my guys. Best Wishes!!!

  2. tanya tanya

    Awwww. Surely my sweet little nephew isn’t acting that way! You are not alone. Ryan has gone through those things too, and we still have those days occationally.

    Changing up the schedule a lot may add to his behaviors though. Most kids respond best to a consistant routine and find it reassuring. That is the advice I give out to parents at school, but nothing works all the time!

  3. It’s so worrisome when you do everything you know to do with a child and nothing works. Here’s hoping you find a workable solution.

  4. dee dee

    @Janice – So I only have a year and a half to look forward to? 😉

    @Tanya – I know changing the routine is hard on him but I have to find something that works before we get consistency. At least I know from watching your boys that it does get better!

    @Donna – It is worrisome indeed!

  5. Hang in there. It will get better. I have 2.5-year old GGB triplets and at this age, our boy is SO much harder than our girls. I think it has to do with frustration and language. Our son is trying so hard to express himself and he’ll wig out when I don’t understand what he is trying to say.

    However, as his language skills have continued to develop, it has gotten better. Although, when he throws a terrible fit, I will not hesitate to stick him right in time out. Even if we’re out somewhere (the zoo, restaurants, Target – you name it!).

    Toddlers are SO SO smart they totally understand what you are saying. I’d do your best to communicate what you have in store for the day (even the night before) – and then constantly talk through all the things that you are doing. And when you see him start to meltdown – get down at his eye level and see if you can figure out the problem. When our boy is just being a crank, I tell him that I won’t put up with his fuss, and stick him in his room.

    Good luck!!

  6. lowfatmuffin lowfatmuffin

    I have a 2.5 year old and its the EXACT same thing. Especially the morning routine thing. Every morning when she gets up she knows we have to change her diaper, get dressed, brush hair, have breakfast. Every morning she throws a total fit – she doesn’t want to change her diaper, she wants to stay in pjs all day. We don’t let her but it takes 30 minutes and lots of crying until she’s dressed. Today I made a morning routine chart, laminated it, and bought special markers and stickers for it. I hope that helps things!

  7. I don’t know if I ever went thru that with my son. I know he had his moments, and he still does. But he does throw fits about diaper changes. he has since he was born. Iuno if that’s every kid tho. I hope things get better. I really do.

  8. dee dee

    @Jen – You have made me feel much better. At least I only have to deal with one and not 3! All kidding aside, I have been working on trying to communicate better and trying to understand what he’s saying to me as well.

    @lowfatmuffin – Let me know if that chart thing works out for you. It sounds like a good idea, although Zach might not be quite old enough to understand it yet.

    @Jenny – I do think it is something that all (or most anyway) kids do. My son only wants a diaper change when he poops. Otherwise, he would just rather stay in the wet diaper all day.

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