Terrible Twos

Originally written March 2013...

Even before becoming a parent, I always heard about the "terrible twos." A time when life is horrible, dramatic, hormonal, and extreme for everyone involved. I guess I didn't really believe those myths. I guess it didn't matter if I believed or not...until I had children and they turned the magical age of two.

Our firstborn is an adventurous spirit, filled with curiosity and a love of nature. Even when fussy as an infant, days old, we would soothe his cries by taking him out for a fresh breath of nature. A calm would consume him. Thinking of those infant days, I never expected those terrible twos. I would get sympathy from passers by as he laid on a public floor, with an infant in my arms while pushing a cart. I thought it couldn't get worse. Then, people warned of the unknown, "torrential threes." I honestly worried for my sanity. Could it get more stressful? Well, it has been quite the opposite. Oliver sprung up like a weed in maturity during his torrential threes and has been more understanding. Even, a sweet reminder of how to show love to others in times of need.

Today I experienced a, "terrible twos" kind of day. It seems like a string of bad days for me. I am nearly six months pregnant and still motivated to take both of my "toddlers" out for errands. We all seemed to be in a great mood so off we went to the feed store for wood shavings. (We are housing baby chicks for mom and the boys couldn't be more happy). To my surprise, Calvin opposed going to a favorite stop of his by lifting his feet while walking through the parking lot and whining. I stopped once we safely crossed and patiently questioned him, while trying to keep track of my curious, sweet three year old. The crying didn't stop so I decided to press forward and leave the store quickly. After walking through the entire store with a crying boy, I found someone who informed me that I was to pay for the shavings up front and then load them from the outside of the store afterwards. Meanwhile, the "terrible-two-stricken child" was on the floor gathering the attention of everyone present, banging his head on the floor, snot and drool leaking from his face. I tried holding him, but his kicking and pinching were too much for my ever-growing belly. I tried "leaving" him to cry, but that just encouraged our audience to offer more sympathy for him. I felt like throwing myself on the floor, but it was a feed store, after-all.

I was so frustrated. I still didn't know what he wanted or why he felt the way he did. After many attempts to find out, I decided to carry him to the car. It seemed like a long walk. I just wanted to get the shavings and go home. I wanted to have a nice day. The weather was beautiful. I wanted to be patient and better than days past. It took five minutes of struggle to buckle him in the car seat. My eldest looked afraid. He knew we were all upset, but didn't know how to fix it. He said, "I will sing him a song." I said,"Okay, what ever you want," and continued to seek support from my love, by calling to complain over the phone. I don't know who was showing more signs of the terrible-twos, me or my two year old son?

After we got into the house, I was so upset. I sat on the ground, up against the wall and tears began to fall from my tired eyes. I felt like a failure as a mom. I hadn't been my best. I could have responded in a different way. I opened my arms to my crying baby and he immediately accepted the invitation. Then, out of nowhere, I heard my eldest singing, as much as he could remember,  Nearer My God to Thee. I cried harder and held my boys. I had never heard him sing this beautiful, comforting hymn before, though I had soothed his cries many times with this same song. I apologized over and over until their eyes showed me that they accepted. Although it was unconventional, I appreciated the chance to hold my boys today and really feel their love and kisses. We are only three months into the terrible twos, so hopefully I will grow out of them soon ;-).