18.11.10

The TERRIBLE? Twos

Bed rest, I have found, is a great opportunity to catch up on that stack of books on your shelf that you've been meaning to read but never find time to....

<<< My mom picked up this book for me recently and I was able to start it today. I have to confess, at 2 weeks shy of 18 months old, I think we're full fledged in the "terrible twos" already!!! Lately Peyton has been exercising her will more and more... her whining has become more frequent, and the tantrums she throws are enough to make me want to scream!

As I settled down to read "Make the Terrible Twos Terrific", I was skeptical at best. Maybe it was the unashamedly outdated appearance of the book, or the obnoxiously optimistic title, or even the mildly disgusting cover photo of a chubby toddlers tongue gaping over an ice cream cone... but for some reason I turned to the Introduction not expecting to keep reading much beyond that.

But I was sucked in. I think it was the humorous way he described his own frightening first encounter with the terrible twos in the form of his son, Eric. I couldn't help myself... I was laughing out loud by the second paragraph. The man described a typical day in my house to a tee. He went on to explain that this stage wouldn't end until some time after the third birthday. That sounds like a life time away. Seriously... that's not until 2012--when (according to the all-knowing Mayans) apparently the end of the world is happening anyway. And then lets not forget that I have another one coming... meaning that when Peyton turns 3, my second daughter will be rounding up to her own 18 month mark... and I'll be beginning the terrible twos yet again.

I quickly developed a really bad headache.

But thankfully, Chapter 1 promised me a little glimmer of hope... in the form of "Understanding". He explained that in the first year and a half of a child's life, we are constantly communicating to them that they are the center of our universe (I know, that's a very NON-Babywise concept, but it's true across the board whether we admit it or not). I love this paragraph where he explains the "Egocentric" phase of life that is the first year.


"The newborn, lacking any other frame of reference, relates all early experience to himself, and himself alone. From his point of view, the world came into being at the moment he opened his eyes; therefore, the act of opening his eyes was the act of creation. It follows, from his point of view, that he reigns over all things, which exist for him and because of him. (Amen)...the infant has a sense of omnipotent self-centeredness. This belief, that he is the source and center of all creation, is the child's first construction of reality. And for the first eighteen or so months of his life, his parents--if they are sensitive to his needs--respond to him as if that belief were true. When he's hungry, he signals to be fed and someone feeds him. When he's alone and wants attention, he yells and someone appears, eager to do his bidding. And on and on it goes....Add to this the fact that as he's being pushed through public places in his stroller, people are constantly approaching and kneeling in front of his portable throne. Given the manner in which he is treated and responded to during his first year and a half, he has every reason to believe he is 'El Magnifico Supremo'.... His psychological stability has come to depend, in other words, upon continued reinforcement/validation of that egocentric premise...." 

Wow, as funny as that paragraph is, the reality is that it's SO TRUE! We communicate moment by moment throughout our child's first year that they are EVERYTHING. And then the author goes on to explain, that around their 18th month, we suddenly begin communicating the exact opposite reality!! Suddenly, we expect them to sit quietly when they want to run around... we expect them to listen to US instead of us listening to THEM. We tell them "NO!" and we deny them things they ask for (i.e. candy....) Suddenly, we no longer run to their every whim, rather we ask them to wait. We suddenly expect them to share when they've always been shown deference. Wow. That's got to be soo confusing!!!

I'm still only in chapter 1, but I wanted to share that little tidbit with all of you. I never thought about the "terrible twos" in that light before. Never had I considered the fact that my daughter is trying to establish her own self-identity and that is why she sometimes outbursts with these tantrums! Never had I thought about how hard it must be to be expected to smoothly transition between being the center of your parents world, to becoming a part of it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not excusing tantrums. And I'm not presuming a solution, either. That's why I'm going to continue reading beyond chapter 1!! But I'm so excited about what I'm going to go on to learn, because this book has already shown me so much about my daughter, and has already affected my understanding so deeply that I trust the author to continue to educate me as to where I go from here. 

Because it's an older book, you can pick up this book for next to nothing on Amazon.com. You can buy it directly from my blog if you want, by using the link at the top of my post. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy... and read through this "manual" with me as we brave the terrible terrific twos!


3 Comments:

Beka said...

Thanks, Claire!!! Yes, I agree. Every pregnancy is 100% different! I can't get over how we THINK we know, but in all reality... we don't! :) I am praying for you with this last bit of bed rest & delivery! I can't wait to see what she looks like or.... did i miss it? Have you said her name yet?

I can't wait for your dear friend!!!

Beka said...

Thanks, Claire!!! Yes, I agree. Every pregnancy is 100% different! I can't get over how we THINK we know, but in all reality... we don't! :) I am praying for you with this last bit of bed rest & delivery! I can't wait to see what she looks like or.... did i miss it? Have you said her name yet?

I can't wait for your dear friend!!!

Truly His said...

Claire, praying for you on bedrest... I left a comment on your post on "me and bryan"... read it. :) Love you and feel like we have been friends in "real life" ... is that strange? :)