I Thought I Dodged the Terrible Twos...

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February 9, 2012

If there was one thing that completely terrified me as a first-time mom, it was that stage veteran moms lovingly referred to as the “terrible twos.”

My baby boy, DJ, had always been a very active child. Moments after exiting  the womb, he was grabbing at the medical instruments. He first held his bottle at 3 weeks and found ways to rock himself in his bouncy chair as an infant. He sat up at a couple months and began to crawl not soon after. Although it took him a while to start walking, once he got the hang of it, I was pretty much sprinting after him. He was mobile, fearless, and nothing could stop him. But I had things under control.

Fast forward to March 10, 2011. DJ’s second birthday. We celebrated with a Spongebob themed party and as we opened gifts and ate cake, I smile as though things were just dandy. On the inside, however, I was trembling at the thought of the “terrible twos” setting in. I was waiting for the moment when my child would suddenly go from curious and fun-loving to demon-filled, hardheaded and just plain TERRIBLE.

But it didn’t happen. DJ continued to be the silly prankster he had always been. He learned his colors, was able to recognize some numbers and letters and could kind-of-sort-of sing his ABCs, but he wasn’t throwing tantrums. He would do a few crazy things every now and then, but I said to myself “He’s a boy, and boys will be boys.” I was in the clear.

Or so I thought. I can’t remember the exact day, but I believe it was some time in May when DJ began to use the word “no.” The answer to everything was always “no.” Are you hungry? Are you wet? Do you want to go with mommy? Do you want to take a bath? Are you a good boy? Well, at least he was being honest, I thought. But then the simple, non-threatening baby “no” turned into a sort of growl, with some oomph behind it. Then he began to yell it. By October, DJ’s “nos” came with tantrums and I mean full-blown, all out screaming, yelling, throwing himself on the floor tantrums.  Where had this come from? Who took my sweet baby boy and replaced him with this “terrible” little person?

About a week after Christmas, DJ threw his first full-blown tantrum in a store when I tried to tear him away from a VTech MobiGo on display. He wanted to throw himself on the floor, but I just held his hand and smiled as I pulled his crying, screaming body out of the store. At home, it’s just as bad. He falls out face down on the floor and screams if he doesn’t get the snack he wants when he wants it.

To make things even more complicated, DJ never acts like this in front of his father. Things are under control when his dad is around, but when it’s me or his grandparents in charge, it’s a different story.

So veteran moms, HELP!! Any ideas on how to control this little monster? I need your help because we’re expecting a baby girl next month. I don’t think I can handle a needy newborn and a terrorizing toddler at the same time. More importantly, though, I definitely don’t want my little girl learning from DJ’s bad behavior. So please, share your terrible twos coping strategies in the comments.

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