I recently confirmed that I am better at managing middle schoolers than toddlers. Actually, 46 8th graders were easier to manage than 2 two year olds. Last week I went on the 8th grade field trip from northern FL to DC for five nights, with two of those nights on the bus. Of course, I had three other staff members with me and four parents, but still.
As I was drafting this post last night, L asked for his dinosaur book which was already in his bed with him. Why does he need a book in bed? I stopped asking these things. There are no reasonable answers to a toddler request. My advice? Let them have the book. Oh no, a love of reading will develop? Darn. Said no parent ever. After convincing him the book was already with him, I suggested another book to distract him. This worked until he decided he needed to use the potty. No, they are not potty trained. But when they ask, I oblige. There weren’t any fresh diapers in the bathroom, so I brought him to the changer the get a new one. He tells me no. So I argue with a two year old about how he must wear a diaper because it’s not optional. I put the diaper I pulled out away (yes, a clean one that he refused) to only pull out another one identical to it. Suddenly he’s satisfied and allows me to put this “different” diaper on him. Seriously? It’s the same exact diaper. They all look the same with the purple monkey! (Side note: Luvs is my favorite diaper since month 3. Save your money. We’ve had minimal diaper leaks in these.)
Arguing with toddlers is a daily struggle. No, wait, it’s an hourly struggle. I’ve begun to deal with it a little better, but I’m nowhere near a toddler expert. I tried preparing for this by watching those nanny shows before their arrival. Looks like it’s time for some reruns. This frustrates me because on the DC trip my knickname was Dean _____ because the students listen to me. (Side note: no child listens 100%. I had to repeat myself with the 8th graders numerous times. It’s just easier because I know they comprehend what I’m saying.) Why won’t my own children listen to me? Toddler brain. Training a human is likely the most difficult thing.
A’s new thing is saying “I do not!” To which we reply “you do not what?”. Otherwise, she’s bossing us around and then finishing off the demand with “okkkkkkay?!” It’s comical, and a welcome break from L’s screaming tantrums. I can handle sass much more than the unknown reason crying. L is emotional. He gets frustrated when he cannot verbalize what he’s thinking.
I think about when they were infants and I thought life was rough, and I crack myself up. This stage feels like the most difficult so far.
Here are the stages we have experienced:
Day 1 – Month 1: sleepy land. This was difficult because they had to or just did, wake up every 3 hours to eat or have a diaper change. Mostly it was to eat. We eventually began to not worry about a tiny pee in the middle of the night to maximize on sleep time.
Months 2-3: More sleep, more clingy. This stage was nice because the routine was developed. Of course, while in this stage we thought it was so challenging. This was when L became extremely colicky though. I wish I knew about wraps and different baby carriers at this stage.
Months 4-6: Easily entertained. This stage was nice because they were smiling and laughing more. They began moving, but not enough to go anywhere. You could go to the bathroom and get a shower fairly easily.
Months 7-9: Mobile. These months entailed walkers and jumpers. We had a giant baby gate pen where they could move freely, but be safe from most things. The danger here was having two. They could easily hurt each other unintentionally. Li was crawling and sitting up, but A was a little behind him on that.
Months 10-12: crawling and pulling up. Here comes trouble! At this stage they became more curious and aware of their surroundings. They wanted to touch everything. Note: this still hasn’t changed. Nothing is safe from toddler hands! L began walking holding onto things by this point, and A was not too far behind.
Months 13-15: walking? By 14-15 months L was walking. This was a scary time because he was so unstable. A saw him walking and wanted to join in, but was not there yet so she would get frustrated. I remember being constantly on guard about them toppling over easily.
Months 16-18: walking. By this point, both A&L were walking. They didn’t know how to open doors yet, so we could have some off limits rooms. I’m pretty sure this was around the time L began escaping from his crib. After two nights in a row, we converted the crib to a toddler bed. This helped with his sleep actually, which was nice. We tried the baby gate at the door thing, but he didn’t like that. I was not comfortable closing the door with him in there, so we found this neat door hook thing. It’s dual purpose, you can make it a pinch guard or a safety latch.
Months 19-21: fun to be around. Maybe it is because these months occurred during the summer break, but they seemed like better listeners at this stage. I was able to get them to cooperate easily, and they were okay with me choosing things for them.
Months 22-24: transition time. This stage is similar to months 19-21, but with increased desire to choose things for themselves. They became slowly more frustrating at this point. I guess it’s because they began to develop interests and likes/dislikes.
Months 25-27: sibling arguments. By this point they began constantly arguing with each other. They were manageable if I took them both out at the same time, but became increasingly more difficult as we approached the true terrible two stage.
Months 28-30: tantrums and arguments for all. Current stage. Constant tantrums. L lays on the ground and “plays dead/passed out”. I have no idea where he got this from either. His tantrums are intense and sudden. He will be completely fine and then suddenly he refuses to stand up. A is a bossy pants and does not like to share. It’s the most challenging stage so far.
I have moments where I have to zone out/ignore or really concentrate to not take their behavior personally. But then they will be the sweetest things ever. Looking through my photos to find ones for this post reminded me of the fun times. I try to keep things in perspective and tell myself “this is temporary”. Soon they will out grow this stage and we will move on to the next. Each stage will bring its own positives and negatives. I try to cherish those positives.