I don’t really remember the ‘terrible twos’ being quite such hard work first time around. This might be because as soon as my eldest boy turned two his little brothers arrived. Perhaps he was busy tantruming away and I was too caught up in dealing with two small babies to notice. He may have given up when he realised he wasn’t getting much attention. Who knows, but it hasn’t lodged itself in my mind the way the two smallest boys will. These two flung themselves into being 2 immediately, and living with two 2 year olds at once gives you that lovely walking-on-eggshells feeling that any little situation could explode at any moment.
There is usually someone, adult or child, having a meltdown in our house but for this post I thought I’d focus on the 2 year olds. This list is not conclusive, but I would say these are the most common reasons why I regularly find myself trying to console inconsolable two year olds:
- Broken snack or, worse, snack bag splitting and biscuits tumbling onto the ground. My boys do not help themselves by insisting on carrying an almost life-size Shaun the Sheep, at least one other soft toy and several over-sized books with them on every school run; making holding snacks very difficult and eating snacks impossible. The suggestion that I help by holding something for them can prompt rolling around on the pavement.
- The wrong cup. As far as I can tell their cups are the same, and yet apparently they each have their own cup. I have no idea how they tell. All I can do is slowly and very tentatively offer them their cups and then know from their reaction whether or not I have got it right.
- The suggestion that it might be a good idea to wear mittens. This idea disgusts my boys, even when their hands are so cold their fingers are turning blue. This leads nicely onto number 4.
- Having hands that are so cold their fingers are turning blue.
- No naan bread with dinner. This is not helped by them not really knowing the difference between curry and chilli, and their firm belief that both should be accompanied by naan bread. When I reveal they will be having chilli with no naan bread they are usually disgusted. Here is one having just made this discovery. He loves chilli but he can’t come to terms with the lack of naan. At least he has his dust cart to help him feel better.
- A ripped comic. Here’s what happens – boy picks up comic, boys deliberately rips front and back pages from comic, boy’s whole world falls apart when you tell him you can’t mend the comic while you’re attempting to negotiate a roundabout.
- The wrong version of Old MacDonald. It has been a long time since I listened to any normal music in the car; so long in fact that I now have my own favourite children’s songs which, on a sunny day, can be heard blasting out of the car as I drive along with the windows down. We have several versions of Old MacDonald including a particularly ridiculous one featuring animals learning their ABC. I never know which version the boys will ask for, but if I play the wrong one I will know about it for the whole journey. If it’s a long journey this is particularly unpleasant.
- Colouring in. This always seems like such a nice idea but I really should know better by now – colouring in never ends happily. Any or all of the following could easily happen: pencils falling on the floor / discovering an unsharpened pencil in your pencil case / a brother taking one of your pencils. All of these are totally unacceptable.
The best way for my two year olds to deal with any of these devastating events is to do some rolling around, whether indoors or outdoors. The best way for me to deal with them is to sit in a corner rocking whilst secretly eating marshmallows and telling myself that one day, surely, we will be past having meltdowns over the absence of naan bread.