I’m sure a year’s worth of blogs could be written about life with a two-year-old, but I won’t be writing it.
If you don’t have much experience with two-year-olds, the primer is that everything is theirs, especially what isn’t. They want that everything exactly the way they want it, and like crotchety old people, they’ll give you what for until you make it the way they want it, but with lots of crying. The verbal abilities of two-year-olds vary, but communication is key. It’s challenging to communicate with a person who screams and throws things at you and thinks “NO!” is the equivalent of “Please.”
For further illustration, here’s a hysterical link to children crying over these sorts of situations.
During a recent chat with HME, she talked about how one of her people is almost two, and we laughed a bit over how her child’s behavior is right on target.
Two-year-olds bring you things and say, “Fix it” all the time. You are bigger and smarter and stronger and you are usually able to fix it. The child says, “Fanks” and runs off to break other things.
This does not work all the time.
You cannot fix everything.
This does not bode well.
I present to you, a broken banana:
Now, as adults, we know bananas sometimes break. We can concede that if we carry a banana while ambling through the house like a drunk person, if we take to smashing things and sudden bursts of running, it is likely that our bananas will break.
Toddlers do not know this.
Their banana experience is limited.
They don’t say, “Aw, bummer,” and eat the banana anyway. Chances are they will run to you and say, “Fix it.” You can’t fix it. You say it’s broken, but still yummy, and you pretend to take a bite, because you’re not going to eat banana that’s been on the ottoman, now are you?
Toddler shakes head.
You sweetly explain that the banana is broken and cannot be fixed.
Toddler stomps feet and cries.
Now, as a newbie parent, who gives whole bananas to a toddler, you think the obvious answer is to give the child a new, unbroken banana, and no one blames you for that, but this will only lead to replacement expectation in other circumstances. You certainly cannot throw it away, because the odds are high that the child will get the banana out of the trash and bring it back to you for proper fixing.
When you cannot fix it, you must make it disappear. That’s right, you must become a magician. You will enjoy myriad benefits of magic for years to come. Distraction and redirection are essential.
It will be a long time before this person is developed enough to realize that his items are missing.
For several years after object permanence sets in, he’ll be such a slob, you can just say that you’re sure it’ll turn up in that pig-sty he calls a room.
It’s over when you both know that you’ve put his porno mags in chronological order and placed a box of condoms on top of them, but neither of you are going to talk about it.
Find happiness in fixing all the broken things children bring you. Be grateful, even joyful, that they come to you and that you can fix things for them.
There are so many times that you realize the broken banana was only the beginning.
How many times in life do we wish we could fix things for those we love? We say, “My heart breaks for you. I wish there was something I could do.”
Look how often we still plead to something bigger, smarter, stronger than ourselves.