The Daddy: The Middle Twos- An Awkward Time to Teach.
D: I feel like as the kid develops into his more verbose and higher functioning middle twos, finding the right stuff to teach him has become a little more difficult. We’re no longer focused on pure survival, but not quite to the point where he can communicate. As he gets more independence and more skills, I personally find it difficult at times to maintain a level of teaching him stuff without it being abject failure half the time.
The Momma: It’s definitely a switch from just surviving to…something else. Learning, teaching, entertaining, etc. Which is hard when he has the attention span of…well, a 2 year old.
D: I know it’s just the next stage of development, and learning for us, but it certainly is different. Maybe all I’m really referring to is push back, but there’s a sense at times where I feel like I’m totally doing it wrong- he doesn’t want to listen, he doesn’t want certain foods and then in the next instant, screams for them. The new intense hardcore blood curdling scream? Also not my favorite.
M: It’s really easy to question if we’re screwing it up right now (uh, more than before?). But I’m encouraged by stories from other people that other two year olds are the same way. Which would mean we’re not screwing up, so much as dealing with a kid with typical development…who knows how to push our buttons.
D: There are times lately where I really need to remind myself of this- that it’s not a sudden failure, or lack of effort or ineptitude, but merely his new phase that’s causing the tension. I try to remind myself that it really is a phase, and even specifically called “the terrible twos” for a reason. I guess I just always assumed that the phrase more referred to the attitude and tantrums, and never considered that it would (obviously) be tied to emotional independence where he might fight every single decision we could make.
M: It’s hard not to take it personally. But In my rational mind, I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. In my rational mind, I’ve read enough/heard enough/seen enough to know that this is an appropriate, if frustrating, stage that we’re fumbling our way through as best we can. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard or doesn’t make my IRRATIONAL self think we’re doing it all wrong.
D: Do you get the sense that it’ll just click into place at some point? More than something we “figure out”, it ends up being more something we “get through?”
M: Yeah, I sort of think that this stage, in particular, is more a bare knuckled ride that we just try to survive even if we don’t ever totally have it figured out.
D: No, I know we’ll survive, I just (what a shock) don’t like feeling like I don’t have any clue on how to solve the problem. Maybe because it’s so new, maybe because it’s so different, but I just feel like it’s a whole new ball of wax where all of the previous lessons have gone out the window. There seems to be no groundwork for how to deal with this new state. No set of rules, no structure to it. Look at me, overanalyzing again.
M: And you say I’M the one who over thinks things!
D: I’ve got to have SOME crazy in the relationship, don’t I?
M: Well, I can’t carry all the neurotic self-doubt about parenting all on my own. But I do think this is a phase we’ll work our way through…and one that we’re not totally screwing up, even if we’re fumbling at times.
D: I’m sure right when this stage finally gets easier, a whole new level of challenge await. We’ll look back on the twos and be asking “what was so terrible again?”
M: Ah parenting, one new challenge after another.