I cringe every time I hear someone say the phrase.
It’s like anticipating a great meal at a restaurant and someone tells you, oh… but it’s terrible. Or the movie you’ve waited to see all year gets a terrible review and you read it right after purchasing your ticket.
Hearing the phrase “terrible twos” can be a major let down. It sets young mothers up to anticipate a year of pure horror. I cringe when I hear a more experienced mom telling a newer mom these words. It makes moms look at the year of two through a lens of negativity, anticipating the worst.
Now in all seriousness, I am a realist and I don’t live in on a fluffy cloud of sparkles with rainbows and unicorns. My children are just like all other children. They throw tantrums and disobey my voice. My children are opinionated, strong willed and have been found to lay face down on the floor crying during church. But my children are far from terrible.
My oldest is four and a half and my second born turns three in a few days. I am not an expert but I have recently lived through two (almost) consecutive years of life with a two year old (I have a twenty one month old as well so I am on the brink of another stab at it).
And I will say it. The twos aren’t terrible at all and I really wish I would stop hearing the bummer phrase. I am really on a mission to stop the phrase all together.
The year of two should be called “The Passionate Twos” instead.
Okay, so the alliteration is not there but the terrible defined is: to cause great fear or alarm or even dreadful.
In contrast, passionate defined is: capable of having or dominated by powerful emotions.
Have you ever looked at a two year old and sensed great fear?
I don’t sense great fear looking at that baby face.
But The Passionate Two Year Old is very capable of having powerful emotions (like: laying face down on the floor and crying their sweet little eyes out).
They cry big but the laugh big and love big too.
The Passionate Two Year Old is learning to express what they want.
Instead of a “grown up” nonchalant eye roll or deep sigh, twos only know how to lay on the floor and cry.
And I don’t blame them either. A two year old does not yet have the social cues to know that it is unacceptable to lay on the floor and cry and a two year old has not quite learned how to deal with disappointment because they have experienced very few disappointing circumstances in their short seven hundred and thirtyish days of living.
Really, since birth a two year old has (pretty much) gotten what they needed when they needed it.
Diaper changes, food, sleep and playtime and then when their little brains start thinking in their own way and hear the word “no” we as adults have decided to call the The Passionate Two Year Old, being dominated by intense emotion, terrible or dreadful.
Why do we do that? And why do we then feel like we are important enough to turn around and let younger moms know “what is coming.”
How could this be terrible?
How could someone who wants to “be cozy with you” be terrible?
How could someone who builds a tall tower for the first time and says, “I did it mommy” be terrible?
Two year olds go through so much change and we should give them more credit. Their ability to speak and reason change dramatically in their second year and most two year olds change to a toddler bed, get a new sibling, give up their pacifiers and learn how to use the potty in the year of two.
That is an enormous amount of change for a little one.
As adults we ask two year olds to cope with so much and then gasp when they express intense emotion.
I think two year olds are pretty amazing.
But just because they are passionate does not make them terrible at all.
If you are expecting, have an infant or a one year old please know what is coming next is not terrible, dreadful or a year of intense fear.
The year of two is teaching your precious, sweet, curious child to deal with their intense emotions they are experiencing for the first time like disappointment, jealousy, envy and loss. (I honestly know many adults well into their thirties who don’t handle any of those emotions very well yet.)
The year of two is filled with some of the best story times, longest snuggles, I love you mommys, first sweet thankful prayers, bear hugs, imaginative play and curiosity that cannot be harnessed.
Advocate for your Passionate Two Year Old and stop saying “Terrible Twos!”
Sheesh, two year olds are not terrible at all.
Happy Birthday Sweet Asher, your passion, sweetness and curiosity have inspired this post and made me a better mommy.
You may also like:
Searching For Snow http://onewiththepastor.com/2013/03/02/searching-for-snow/