Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lesson #372 of Parenting: The Terrible Twos WILL Find You

When Ben was a toddler, we kept waiting for the Terrible Twos. We read books about it. We asked friends how they handled them. We were ready.

But then they never came.

Well, there was one (yes, one) incident when Ben was two and a half and I took him to the bookstore and he threw a fit on the floor. I quietly picked him up, put him back in the stroller, menacingly whispered right into his face that "this was unacceptable and we were leaving" and we did.

And that was it. It never really happened again. Ben just seemed to skip right over those dreaded twos. (Before you get too envious, let me remind you that we have, however, had delightful moments of four-year-old-going-on-13-year-old-behavior, so really, you swap one developmental nightmare for another.)

But then there was Aidan...

Hubby and I have had to admit that They are here: The Terrible Twos.

We're not gonna be so lucky this time around.

Now, I do realize how incredibly fortunate we were to not have had to deal with these horror stories with our first child, and I do realize that perhaps I never should have even slightly entertained the possibility that this kid would also give us a "Get out of jail free" card, 'cause, really, who gets that lucky??? might remember that I have mentioned on just a few occasions that Aidan Kai SCREAMED his WHOLE ENTIRE first FOUR and a half MONTHS of his life.

So I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd paid my dues on this one.

Not only has adorable-as-hell Aidan Kai turned into a foot-stomping-wailing-holy-whiny-terror, he also has turned into a not-sleeping-through-the-night-anymore-for-no-apparent-reason-wailing-holy-whiny-terror.

Last night it started at about 1:20 a.m., and it was nearly 4 in the morning when we finally started to let our guards down long enough to dare close our eyes again.

And you'd think a child who'd spent a good portion of his day whining and stomping and carrying on would be pretty pooped out, especially when he spent a good portion of the evening whining and writhing and screaming and carrying on, but good ol' energetic and adorable-as-hell Aidan Kai? Up at the crack of dawn this morning. Barely 2 hours after we'd finally been able to get back to sleep. He was UP...demanding "Blue's Clues" and "meeelk!" and trying to force feed me cereal and pushing me "up! up! off! off!" the couch while I tried to sneak in just 5 more minutes.

The clincher?

He is, apparently, a serene and easy-going little fella when he is with others. Oh, and sleeps through the night, too. Yep. We spent this past week visiting our out-of-town friend, and when we left for one night and day of bar-hopping, shopping, and general alone time, our friend reported a very easy day with our little ball of personality...and the little shit slept from 7:15 p.m. to 8:10 a.m. in one shot.

Now I realize that parenting is all about stages. Everything is temporary. Just when you think you can't possibly go on like this any longer, the behavior suddenly disappears. OR, just when you think you've finally figured this one out, a new challenge pops up. I get it. Hang in there. This too shall pass. Be patient. Yada yada yada. But the sleep? I can't do it. Can't.

The main reason Hubby and I counted every second of the newborn stage was because of the sleepless nights. We can be pretty laid back parents in many areas, but we take our sleep training very, very seriously. It was the one area where we've always said "We got this." Our methods and preferences may not have been for everyone (yes, we let them cry, and no, we never, ever co-slept), but they worked for us, big time. Now, here we are, more tired than usual from dealing with the daytime tantrums, only to be robbed (yes, I said "robbed" and yes, I'm being melodramatic) of our much needed sleep to be awakened every 5 minutes throughout the night.

I mean, really, I know we lucked out and got the Terrible Twos with only one of our children. That is a 50% success rate, right? And perhaps we should be happy enough and just stop complaining... But is it too much to ask that the Random Sleeping Disruption Cycle have waited for the Infamous Twos to have been through with us?
(It's a good thing he's cute...)


  1. OOHH No. You know, my second is just 6 months younger than AK. I had assumed we were out of the woods on the sleep training. That was a year ago! Shit! Boy 2 definitely has, as my sweet mother says, "a very short fuse." I feel sure the public tantrums I never had with Boy 1 were all waiting in storage in my uterus where boy 2 collected them and is now almost ready to unleash them. Eek! Hang in there momma. Oh, and go see Toy Story 3! You'll weep and wish for your children to never grow up!

  2. He *is* adorable. The troublemakers usually are because it butters us up and keeps us from doing something too harsh. My little one is a wild thing, too. I don't have advice, but I totally empathize!

  3. The cuteness does help! I guess it's great that you only had 50% trouble, and I really hope the stage passes quickly for you!

  4. We thought we'd skated on the Terrible Two's back when Man-Child was small - no, he just waited until he was three to have my sympathies. As you said, it's all stages. This too shall pass. And yeah, we always said that God made 'em cute for a reason.

  5. He is, indeed, darling to look at. Neither of my kids had terrible twos, but they did have hideous threes and DEFIANT, angry fours. Miss M. is in the throes of them now. Sending a cocktail your way...

  6. Oh Lordy...Sleep deprivation is the worst...I am feeling the wrath of the youngest, erratic sleep and behavior. And potty training to boot...I know, you are SO jealous!

    And you're right, the are little shits for being so perfect for other people, making us look like we are deranged.

    My friend, I feel you.

  7. Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. The sleep deprivation would be the part that would get me too, especially after you've gotten him so well trained. Here's hoping this spell is short-lived! Sending hugs and virtual cocktails!

  8. Hi - I think it's harder when they've been so good for so long and your body is used to the luxury of sleeping all night and a generally even tempered kid. Suddenly, when they "turn on you" with erratic and uncharacteristic behavior, that it becomes really tough because you haven't been training yourself for this.

    Well, I'm speaking from experience with my 19-month-old anyway. Just when I think things are going well, she surprises us. And when I brace myself for the worst, she's an absolute angel. Go figure.

  9. Again, we're living parallel lives. Hannah also had no terrible twos, rather terrible fours/fives. But Luke, HELLO terrible twos. Screaming, tantrums pushing, hitting, hell.

    I need a crash course on the Terrible Twos. I had hoped I'd scoot by lucky again, but no such luck.

  10. Oh, yes. It's a good thing they're cute, isn't it? I have one of those. In girl variety, but much the same. I feel your pain.

  11. Welcome to the hell that is the terrible twos - we mostly focus on the fact its going to pass

    Toddlergirl's sleep has also gone to pot - feels so unfair after all the hard work

    BUT this week we are getting things back so it does pass (if it was constant there would be a lot fewer people in the world...)

  12. We had the terrible 3's and 4's...just when we thought we were safe!


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