Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Terrible Twos

Having kids is great, but today I’m going to complain. I’m reluctant to do so, much for the same reasons that our president, at least in my estimation, is reluctant to admit to a mistake—it feeds the opposition like water to the cracked, dry earth.

Our two year old, Emmett, has officially crossed over to his terrible two’s, a cliché I know, but as for every well-worn expression, the origin can be traced to a powerful source. He won’t sleep anymore, not unless mommy or daddy gets in bed with him. We are trying to hold out, but sitting in a rocker next to his bed is like riding coach as an annoying flight attendant rams your lolling head with the drink cart. After an hour of faking sleep and checking to see if his eyes were closed using the barely-open-eye-slit method, I gave up and hopped into bed with him.

I turned over with my back to him, and he complained until I rolled over to face him. I was quite frustrated, now looking him in the eyes, nose to nose. He smiled and stroked my cheek and said, “Thanks daddy.” This is where I will resist the urge wax poetic on parenthood. You don’t need to ask do you? I’m a sucker.

Mommy swapped places with me at three. This morning she could barely talk on the phone, as signs of weariness and frustration were setting in. She feels like a bad mother, for being too tired to take the kids anywhere. Ironic, isn’t it?


Bailey Stewart said...

Ahhh, the terrible two's, followed by the threatening three's (if you do that again I will ...), then there's the frustrating fours, fearsome fives - sense a pattern here?

It's really hard to stick to your guns when the little guy jerks the heartstrings.

Toni Anderson said...

Oh man, I always sound like a mean mommy, but you are so setting yourself up for trouble--unless you love sleeping with the wee mite.

Be strong, good luck! They eventually settle down a bit--as you know :)

Erin-erin-bo-berin said...

Like eve, I think that the Terrible Twos will extend (in the case of my children) through the years until they are almost six. I also agree with Toni that you might be sleeping with him until he says, "Thanks, Dad" in a voice that's deeper than your own.
I have a phrase that I repeat to myself when I think I cannot handle anymore: There is nothing that my children are going through that I cannot outwait.

magnetbabe said...

I don't have kids so I can't comment on your frustration, but I can comment on what it means to do stuff like that with them. I have vivid memories of making my grandma do the same thing, wait for me to fall asleep. My parents wouldn't buy into my whining. I used to spend nights at my grandma's a lot because I was so close with her. I'd ask her to wait for me to fall asleep and she's sit on the side of the bed, singing softly and playing with my "kiss curl" hair. It might be infuriating now, but you might be giving them good memories.

Scott said...

Eve - There are some frustrating times, but they are well worth the trouble, I can assure you. I'm glad you understand.

Toni - The trouble is already set up. We took the same route as we took with Jackson, but Emmett is different and demands more. As you say, it will settle down.

Erin - It won't last forever, but we can't hold out forever, unless I want to call in sick for work the next day. Foe me I just throw caution to the wind, preferring to err on the side we are on.

Nat - Thanks for that reassurance. We feel exactly the way you describe for the reasons you describe. When our children think back to their childhood, while some kids have an empty hole ours will have a warm glow like one of those heated cloths in first class. If we survive that is.

Moni said...

I don't remember my daughter going through the terrible two's. Of course, I have a tendency only to remember the good. lol Kids make you want to scream and pull your hair out one minute and the next, hold them like there's no tomorrow.

Tell your wifey not to worry, parents feel that way from time to time. I'll bet your son will remember the times mom and dad soothed him through a sleepless night, rather than that mommy was tired the next morning. Both you and your wife sound like excellent parents. ;)

Sadie Lou said...

I heard it said once that parents of children behaving badly feel like "bad" parents and parents of children behaving nicely feel like "good" parents.
I have seen this theory in practice at the park. If your child is screaming at you or being mean to other children, you get those smirking stares from some parents.
I feel like walking over to them and saying," Yeah, you're doing good right now--but I wanna be there when YOU feel like a failure."
I used to judge the parents if I saw a disobedient child and sometimes--it is the parent's fault.
Often times--it's not.
I don't give those self-righteous head shakes anymore. I know that my turn could be right around the corner.
I think I'm going to do a parenting post today--you have inspired me.
Hang in there Scott (and wife). You'll be on the other side of this one in no time.

Shesawriter said...

I lived through them four times. Once being a terrible two myself. And then three times with my three kids. ARGH!


trinamick said...

"I also agree with Toni that you might be sleeping with him until he says, "Thanks, Dad" in a voice that's deeper than your own."

ROFLMAO! That put the most hilarious image in my head!

I'm afraid I'd be the tough parent. I can sleep through anything, including crying babies, so I'd be the one letting them bawl themselves to sleep. Of course, nobody else in the house would be getting any sleep...

Toni Anderson said...

Parents do what they have to do. We were very lucky with number one, but number 2 is VERY demanding. But we're firm with him and he does love his bed. Just lucky I guess.

Actually I just remembered, we did controlled crying with him. We were in Brisbane and he was 7 months old and decided he liked being up for 4 hours in the middle of the night. That was no fun when DH was going fishing (for work) at 5-6 in the morning and with another 2 year old in the apartment. The first night he cried for 2 hours and we'd go into him and try to calm him down, then leave him again.

After that he spent a month giving a token moan before he went down and after that he'd pretty much skip to bed.

That first night I felt like the worst mom on the planet (even though I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight) and then everything settled down. Now I get to worry about scarring him for life, though he seems OK to me :)

Trevor Record said...

Be strong scott. Don't give in to terrorist demands. It will make you appear weak.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

This is why I am not ready to have children.

I probably would have done something horrific like locking him in a box until he agreed to sleep.

Thats the kind of well adjusted parenting format I subscribe to!

Kathleen said...

I hear the 3s are actually worse than the 2s. More power to you, I'll stick to cats.

Jada's Gigi said...

You sucker! My Jada has decided that she is afraid of bridges so she wants someone to hold her hand when we drive over any. It sure does put a crick in your neck to hold hands with a 2yr old strapped into her car seat in back whilst you're tying to drive...not that I would know or