Saturday, June 13, 2015

Staying Positive Through the Terrible Twos

The Terrible Twos have come to stay at our house and they really are terrible. Far more terrible than I ever imagined. Mostly because it’s so hard to see my sweet little boy disappear completely during those moments. He tantrums, he’s defiant, he gives us dirty looks. The other day he walked up to his baby sister, whom he is normally so sweet to, and whacked her with a toy hammer. “Hit. Baby cry.”

Some days I find it really hard to stay positive. Sometimes I can’t take anymore and I lose my patience and my temper. I yell at him. I say things I don’t mean like “You are ruining my day!” and “I don’t want you to talk to me for the rest of the day unless it’s to say sorry and talk nice.” Or I repeatedly make him stand in timeout, or I take away a park trip/family movie night/garage time with Dad or whatever other fun thing we have planned for the day.

And then I’m really sad. I’m sad because of the way he’s acting and the things he’s doing, and I’m sad because my reaction is sometimes terrible. I was telling Ryan the other day that I feel like I react negatively 1 out of every 10 tantrums. So nine out of ten times I say things like, “Oops, that’s not how we talk to each other. Let’s try that again.” or “Do you think that’s a good choice or a bad choice? I think so too. Let’s turn it around and make a good choice instead.” Or “It really hurts my feelings when you ____. Would you like it if Mom or Daddy did/said that to you?”

When I keep it together and I talk to him like that, it works great. He listens. He tells himself “Shhh shh shh,” and then tries again. He offers an apology (“Shurry”) on his own, without being prompted. He often accompanies it with a hug and/or kiss. Then there those other times where he pushes a button just right, or hurts his sister, or does too many things together too quickly, and I lose it. I yell or I take things away or both. And it doesn’t make things any better, not for either of us, and then I end up being the one apologizing so he hasn’t learned anything any ways except that sometimes Mom is a psycho.

Ryan isn’t home with it all day so he isn’t quite as frazzled by it but it’s still pretty frustrating for him when he’s around it at lunch, in the evenings and on weekends. We talk a lot about it, probably way too much, and sometimes I’m so upset I say something to Ryan that I really shouldn’t, like that I just want to fast forward through all of this part and not have to “deal with him” until he’s four or five. And really, that’s not true at all. I love him like crazy and we have an awful lot of fun most days. But it’s so draining to have someone scream in your face, you know?

So we’ll hold hands and we’ll talk about it and wonder out loud if this or that tactic might help, pray for him to develop a kind heart and for all of us to develop more patience with each other, remind each other that he is still pretty awesome and these not-so-awesome parts won’t be here forever.Any ways, I thought I’d share the things that are helping us stay positive through this little phase and see if any of you have any great tips too.

1.     1. This is just a phase. This is just a phase. This just a phase, just a phase, just a phase. And before we know it, we’ll be through it and it’ll be the tiniest of blips on our family timeline.2.     Look at those eyes. And those cheeks. And that smile. And that hair. Listen to that laugh. Watch those little feet stand on tippy toes. Notice how concerned he gets when baby sister is sad, how fast he jumps up to help us if we drop something, how he covers us in kisses every morning. This boy is still an absolutely beautiful soul.3.     This is a learning experience for all of us. We are learning to be more patient, more understanding, more compassionate. Our boy is learning how to react when he’s frustrated, how to respond to someone when they’re behavior is less than ideal, how to communicate.4.     Snuggle. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’d really love nothing more than to spend the rest of the day hiding in the other room. He’s just as frustrated and upset as we are and reconnecting with a hug and some kind words will make us all feel just that much better. 

Here's to a great day for all of us. If you happen to think about it, kindly please pray for patience and kindness for my boy and me today! 

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