Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Year Old Trials

We're at the doctor's office for Christopher's appointment. Clare, deciding that Christopher will "cry too loud" when he gets his shot, opens the door and runs down the hall of the clinic. I chase after her, dragging her back into the room. (The doctor was with Christopher.)

We're at Target, sitting in Starbucks having a snack. Clare, for reasons unknown, takes off running into the store. I chase her, catching her as she passes the front door of the store. (Christopher and my diaper bag containing my wallet and cell phone are abandoned in Starbucks.)

We're at the rec center for playtime. Clare doesn't want to leave, so she runs in the opposite direction while I scream at her to come back. (Christopher, who now weighs 18 pounds, is breaking my arm as I hold him in his car seat.)

We're at home. Clare doesn't want to get ready to go, so she runs around the house, starts playing with toys, screams "no!" at me when I tell her to get ready. I force her into her coat and boots and out the door. (Christopher is screaming in his car seat. He has been ready to go for some time.)

It is not every day that we are dealing with these scenarios, but it feels like it is. I am fighting with her over every little thing. I try so hard to let things go, to pick my battles, but some days I just want to SCREAM. And I do. And it doesn't help anything.

I've tried time outs (she likes them), and taking away her privileges to watch Daniel Tiger (this makes her upset, but only sometimes works as an incentive to behave). I just finished reading "Bringing Up Bebe", a book that I have mixed feelings about. In the book, a French parent says you have to believe that your child will listen to what you say, and that will come through in your voice. Your child will listen. How I wish that were true. Maybe I am just not saying it right? I've learned not to phrase things as a question, because too often the answer is no.

On Tuesday, we were at Davanni's for a fundraiser for ECFE. I felt a little better, because I noticed that many other mothers were having similar issues with their 2-year-olds, and speaking to them much the same way I speak to Clare. So is it normal? Does anyone have suggestions for getting a 2-year-old to listen? And can I blame all of this bad behavior on the weather?

I don't want it to make it sound like Clare is a total brat, because she's not. Like I said, these incidents are not occurring every day. However, they are so frustrating and scary when they do happen (especially when she runs away in crowded, public places), and I just don't seem to be handling them well.

There are so many great things about Clare at two. Maybe I should have started with these? She is so sweet with Christopher. She calls him Mr. Kisstopher (her pronunciation), and says "He's SO cute" all the time. After her naps, I hear her moving around upstairs, and then her little voice calling, "Mommy! I am coming to check on you!" She has a million questions and a trillion follow-up questions. She kicks a soccer ball like a pro. (Much to her Daddy's glee.) She loves music and dancing. She is into art projects, especially anything involving paint. She DOES NOT like animals or loud noises, but the list of Clare's fears (and her overreaction to them) is a post all its own. She is funny, and fun to have a conversation with.

She is just so TWO.


  1. Oy. I wish I could help, but I lucked out in the 2yo department. Seriously, I think we had one bad month, and it was bad because there was like 5 tantrums or something? Mason has been a dream.

    So, you know what that means, right? I'M IN FOR IT. All the girls at Laura's house (by summer there will be 8 girls/two boys) are dramatic. Crying, screaming, defying. I can only hope Maisy has just a few of her brother's mild mannered qualities or I'm dead meat.

    I think you're doing everything the best you can. It's a phase she has to grow out of. And at this point, if timeouts don't work, I'd stop them completely except for really bad/dangerous things. Why bother?

    Does she have a reward jar? We don't, but I've seen them and they look like a fun idea. Whenever you catch her doing something good, she gets a rock/stone/something to put in a jar. Once it's full, she gets something special (a date with mama, etc). Now, she can't just DO things for rocks; it's only when you catch her being good... so maybe that would encourage good behavior? Like, Hey, you stayed with mama today at Target, thank you, put a rock in the jar...?

    Just a thought. KIDS!

  2. She'll be three in less than 4 months. Keep reminding yourself of that.

  3. I can SO relate!!!! Let me know when someone gives you the "magical" trick that helps kids listen when you need them to listen - I'd love to know what it is! I'm still trying to figure it out, and Adam will be seven this summer. :) (kidding, sort of) I honestly just think it's a phase kids go through, and you're doing GREAT. Clare is testing her boundaries—she knows she can get a reaction out of you when she runs away—it's all part of growing up. Maybe you need to threaten her with one of those kid leashes if she tries to run away again? (ha!) Also? The reward thing could work, like A mentioned. Might be worth a try.

  4. Hang in there, Em! I think everything you are describing is maddeningly normal (I will check in again when Ruby turns two.) My niece was so naughty at 2 and...worse at 3. We used to have to pretend to leave without her to get her to go anywhere. I'm sure it's a mix of the age and the new sibling, no matter how much she loves Mr. Kisstopher. As my mom always said about her kids at school, "Even bad attention is better than no attention." Maybe there is a way to try really hard to focus on all her good things and when she is naughty you completely don't react? Kids love reactions. I know you can't let her run away in busy places but maybe packing up, silently, and hauling her tiny butt outta there without showing emotion might help and nip the behavior? I am just talking out of my butt here.