We are in the elevator or out at the grocery store and someone will inevitably ask “how old is she”? I will reply “she is two”? Suddenly their face changes, like they are in pain or something, and they will say “Oh, the terrible twos”? I’ll smile stiffly, and politely guffaw (I’m British, it’s what we do!) Sometimes I’ll muster up enough courage to say “it’s not that terrible”, but mostly I’ll just smile and nod. Inside I am screaming, I want to say “just because my child has had her second birthday doesn’t mean she suddenly acts terribly all of the time”. Granted, two year olds are overwhelmed with emotions which, for the most part, they are still getting to grips with; their mood can change at the drop of a hat; and yes, the occasional meltdown happens. Honestly though, it isn’t that terrible.
I would actually go as far as saying two is terrific; at least I think so, and so does my two – year old! Here is why:
- Sense of Wonder
Two year olds have an infectious curiosity, these little beings wonder about the world around them as they try to make sense of it; to a two – year old everything is exciting and wonderful. This curiosity knows no bounds in an environment where your TOT feels safe, such as home or daycare, they love to explore and for you to explore with them. Next time your TOT is pouring water over and over or picking at the same blade of grass for what feels like an eternity to you; get down on his level and enjoy the sense of wonder with him.
- You are the Oracle
She’s got sass, she’s got personality and she is very much a person in her own right but at this tender age, to your TOT, you are still the fountain of all knowledge (sorry Google!). Ever noticed how from the minute she wakes up, until the minute she goes to bed she is asking you questions “what’s that?” being amongst them. These questions can make you feel irritated at times, especially when you have a million other things to get done; but do take the time to consider and respond because your TOT is absorbing and storing all the information you give her – think of it this way: her mind is a large disorganized library of various impressions she has received or perceived in the last two years; now she is tasked with organizing and categorizing this library so that there is some semblance of order.
- They have developed a sense of humour
Two year olds are smart, they know when they are being funny. They say the most hilarious things, and it’s even funnier when you least expect it.
- They want to help & please
Don’t worry if you haven’t got space to accommodate a state of the art play kitchen. I’ll let you into a secret: two-year olds prefer the real thing anyway. A step stool, a kitchen drawer full of things he can use to help and voila you have a mini master chef in the making. Things TOTs love doing in the kitchen include: washing lettuce, cutting banana into slices, spreading cheese or butter on toast or crackers, helping with setting and clearing the table, wiping up spills (I’m not saying it will be a perfect job but he really wants to help). Praising them for their helpful efforts goes a long way towards inviting cooperation in the future too.
- Ability to communicate and understand
Those days when she would cry and you would take an educated guess at what she needed are long gone. Now your TOT can articulate exactly what she needs and wants. Instead of hearing her cries when she wakes up you now hear “Mommy, I’m awake, come get me” at the top of her voice. When you explain something to her, your TOT is trying very hard to process this information and understand it.
- Living in the moment
We could all take a leaf out of a two-year old’s book and do some more “living in the moment”, ever thought, when did we stop enjoying everyday moments and these became just mundane tasks one has to do on a daily basis to survive? – Boring right? Two – year olds are brilliant at living in the moment, whether it’s getting soaked in the water fountain to cool off at the park on a hot summer day, crunching autumn leaves underfoot on a weekly walk to the grocery store, or deciding to count all the red cars on your daily commute. Living in the moment makes life interesting again; I am eternally grateful to my TOT for reminding me how.
- Unconditional Love
She loves you at your best, worst and everything in between, she doesn’t care if your hair or make up is done, heck she doesn’t even mind if you haven’t showered for a couple of days, you’re her Mamma and she loves to snuggle, cuddle and shower you with kisses all of the time. When you’re sick she’ll play ‘doctor’ and cover you with her baby’s blanket. When you’ve barely had time to throw on a coat of mascara and a clean shirt she’ll tell you that you are so beautiful. There is nothing quite like a two-year old charging towards you when she notices you’ve arrived to pick her up from pre-school. There is no better feeling than the feeling of that two – year old hugging you so tightly that all the stresses of the day simply melt away.
- Simple pleasures
A trip to the library to borrow a new book, a stop at the park en-route to the bank, counting the cracks in the sidewalk, collecting leaves and pebbles on a nature walk, spotting aeroplanes, singing row row row your boat and roaring like a lion, drinking hot chocolate in your pajamas, deciding whether the clouds look like fluffy sheep – two year olds delight in all of this!
- Possibly still napping
The majority of TOTs are still catching some ZZZ’s in the middle of the day; whilst that usually means you’re still fitting errands and outings around their nap schedule, it also means Mamma still gets some downtime during the day. Whether its 30 mins to whip up a quick meal, 45 minutes to iron or take a long hot shower (alone!); or taking an hour to put your feet up with a hot drink (that’s still hot when you go to drink it) and your favourite show or a magazine. Take full advantage of this before nap time is replaced by quiet/rest time.
Two – year olds love to play pretend, dress up, acting and imitating the adults in their life. Your TOT is beginning to imagine a whole host of things from pretending the area rug in the living room is a swimming pool to being at Mickey’s clubhouse; from driving herself to pre- school on her trampoline (which, by the way, isn’t a trampoline at all, it’s a car!) To pushing her baby along in the stroller whilst happily declaring “I’m going to Costco to buy milk and eggs”. AND it’s cute, it really is the most adorable thing you have ever seen.