The Terrible Twos


My little P is now a little over two and he has a bad case of the ‘Terrible Twoitis’. Suddenly, almost overnight as though there was a switch in his little head, our amenable little fellow became a volatile mini volcano ready to erupt at the slightest provocation. The strangest things would set him off – if you picked up a toy that he inadvertently dropped, suggesting he have a bath – an activity that he normally loves, and so on and so forth. Almost ten minutes a day were spent on handling a major meltdown, one that left both of us perplexed.

To add to that is the agro of the bystanders who give advice (albeit with good intentions) that gets your blood pressure up even more. And that was the major challenge – to maintain an atmosphere of calm, to have a day without a meltdown by second guessing what would throw him off, deftly steer away from it and avoid a meltdown.

So suddenly our principles of child rearing were left standing on their head. ‘Thou shalt not give in to his moods’ quickly changed to ‘Indulge him his passing phase’. Similarly ‘Thou shalt not watch TV while eating’ became ‘Do whatever it takes to get a decent meal down his throat after a week of complete resistance to all food’. ‘Thou shalt play only with thy toys’ became ‘Let him play with whatever he wants as long as it is safe for him to do so’. ‘Thou shalt give him the pacifier only to help him sleep’ became ‘Let him have the pacifier because it is meant to pacify him!’

How do caregivers suddenly become so lax? Will this easing of discipline have long term effects? Will giving in to the child establish a new pecking order? Does this effectively mean that his will will prevail?

As a grandmother I am doubly stressed because I don’t know whether I am toeing the line of his parents. Somehow my children’s Year Two has been irretrievably archived in my subconscious and no amount of coaxing will bring my avowed expertise back to the fore. In my mind’s eye my two little girls were perfect angels, who didn’t show any of the immaturity of a two year old but tackled this milestone with ease.

Aha! I thought! Therein lies the answer. Little P is a boy and boys will be boys. They are bound to be different from little girls. Just when I was consoling myself with this fact, I heard that P’s little friend R has a worse affliction. R simply refuses to listen to her mother. She wakes up when she wants to and follows her own rhythm. Her tantrums are so terrible that they make little P look like an angel.

A friend of mine who is an early childhood educator told me that a two year old has begun to think and process information. He has begun to understand. But sadly he still hasn’t developed the communication skills to adequately express his thoughts or feelings. It is then that he either digs in his heels and adamantly refuses to do anything or simply screams till he is red in the face and you let him have his way.

And she told me, just as miraculously when he turns three, his main switch will go back to normal and he will regain his equilibrium once more. I just have to patiently wait another year before my little P becomes the angel he always was.

As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through babyhood, toddler hood, adolescence and adulthood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share her experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grand-motherhood.