He does still need me, but his defiance is showing me that he wants to do it on his own. His very dangerous, not-so-thought-through, wild and crazy way of doing it on his own.
The Boy Chapter of the Terrible Twos
By Becky Brownstein
I recently went on a trip with my almost-two-year-old son to California. Superman – I mean my husband – took care of all the others. Granted, I did make to-do lists and schedules for him, but he's a natural. Even though he was a little hesitant at first, he pulled it off without a hitch. Or at least I hope so. He's smart enough not to tell me.
The reason for my trip was that my sister had a baby a few weeks ago and my internal family connection was pulling at my soul; it hurt so badly that I couldn't be with her. My husband saw my anguish and we made a joint decision that I should go to be with my family. That's when the superman cape came out and my husband said "Bring it on!"
The only hitch was I had to bring my toddler. I know, I shouldn't be complaining, I only had to bring one kid. But I so badly would rather have brought a different one. Of course he was a fly-free lap child so the choice was pretty much made. Aside from the fact that he would totally not understand the whole mommy is not home thing. He would be so distraught over my sudden absence that it would totally scar him for life and he would grow up to be some sort of serial killer. I did not want that on my conscience.
On the way to the airport I was thinking of all the things I would be able to do with my son to keep him occupied and not have him become a crazy child mid-flight. I figured if he had his blanky to suck his thumb with, all would be fine. That's the moment I almost passed out. HIS BLANKY! I FORGOT HIS BLANKY! Of all the things I could have forgotten. I wouldn't have minded if I would have forgotten my suit case or even my shoes. But the kid's blanket?! I did what any mother who has a crazy child who would only be calm with his blanky would do. We turned around. I told my friend who was driving me that I would rather miss my flight WITH the blanket than without it. And then I missed my flight. Shocker there. But I had the blanket, so my son took a two hour nap while we waited for the next flight out. Crisis averted, sort of.
Because my son is the fifth child after lots of girls, my dream was to have this mellowed out kid. He was pretty mellow now that I think about it, but something in my sister's house brought something out of him. Don't get me wrong, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my sister's house. But what she had in her house was something that wasn't too pronounced in my own house, something called testosterone. My nephews had normal boy energy. They ran around, they played with boy toys, they watched boy shows, they rode boy bikes and they said boy things. These were all new to my son. He went to California loving Dora; he doesn't have patience for her now. He became a new person. He loves jumping off furniture now, he loves to throw anything he sees, he loves to climb in and out of his highchair, or just climb. I caught him the other day on the second shelf of the pantry. It's just like this testosterone chip clicked into place in his brain and now he knows how to do boy things. Like real wild boy things, not just dump his cereal bowl or bounce on the dryer door.
When my daughters hit the Terrible Twos stage, they became very defiant and would throw tantrums left and right. Then came the kvetching. Oy, the kvetching. It's unbearable. So I am assuming, since I never had a boy before, that the behavior my son is displaying now is a Terrible Two type behavior. He is showing me his confidence and his readiness to be his own person. He IS his own person. He does still need me, but his defiance is showing me that he wants to do it on his own. His very dangerous, not-so-thought-through, wild and crazy way of doing it on his own. In a way I am proud of his independence. I can't turn my back on him for a second, but my baby is turning into a real boy and a real person.
The bottom line is: all kids go through the "Terrible Twos" but I am able to see that the Terrible Twos are just a child's way of testing and learning his independence and his boundaries. I would love to tell my son to live in his crib and not come out until he is 5, but he will never learn anything. My life would be a heck of a lot easier, but he would still be the same. He needs to be taught what his boundaries are and what his limits are. Yeah, he's going to get a few bumps and scrapes along the way but that's what is going to make him into who he is and that is what's going to teach him what his limits are. I'll let ya know how it goes.
Becky Brownstein is a wife, mother of five, cleaning lady, chef, program/trip organizer, taxi driver, blogger and all around great gal that lives in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Visit her website at http://spitsgiggles.blogspot.com where she shares all her experiences as a mother with the motto, "When all else fails, laugh!"