Broken by a two year old

Some things in life are sent to try us, and not much can try you more than a 24 to 36 month old human being.

This week, I saw Dan Stevens, aka The Beast from Disney’s new epic movie Beauty & The Beast, describe how he took inspiration for the part from none other than his two year old son. Hear hear! I nodded along to the telly in agreement, as I sat curled up in my PJs at 7.30 and wondered if it is too early to go to bed yet.

You see, our two year old, she isn’t that keen on sleep. You may have picked up on this fact if you are a regular reader of my blog. Therefore a massive part of the problem is that we are all, always tired. It’s either a bitter start to the day at 5am, a fight to get her to nap, or a long stretch till bedtime.

Tired kids whinge, and tired parents have little patience. It’s a winning combo.

Yet, along with her persistence to seize the day at such an unearthly hour, she is just SO headstrong. Like many two year olds, they have physically developed to a point they can assert themselves using all manner of abilities (kicking, shouting, hitting, damn well doing it anyway) yet their mental development is somewhat lacking in the area of reasoned argument and communication.

The writing was always on the wall – even as a one year old we knew we had our hands full. The ‘terrible two’s’ were only ever going to go one way. And so, most tasks throughout the day, are met with sheer defiance.

Eat Breakfast? Runs away.

Get dressed? Runs away (laughing).

Shoes on? Demands to wear wellies.

Leave the house? Runs away.

Get in the car? Takes wellies off. Runs away. Darts around the car leaving Mum in a panic of how to get to her before she gets to the road. Great game at 8.15.

Get to school? Refuses to get out of car.

School run? Refuses to sit in pushchair. Demands scooter.

Scoot to school? Hates scooter demands to be carried.

Back to car? Demands to walk. Falls over within 30 seconds. Demands to be carried.

And so on, and so on…

How can one so miniature in stature leave me feeling like I’ve done ten rounds with a heavy weight boxer?

It seems too, that the sibling age gap of 2.5 years has just come into it’s prime for ‘winding each other up’. Jigsaws smashed, homework scribbled on, toys snatched. No lego set in our home remains intact (although my husband reassures me that that is the whole point) and we have had a fair share of Banksy-esque street art adorning our walls.

Her ultra-loving approach to her sister is somewhat heavy handed and is often the trigger for a full blown screaming match.

She always wants what any of us have – last week whilst playing in the garden I thought I’d do a bit of weeding and clearing dead leaves. On by one, my equipment was raided, until I was stood behind watching her smashing up the flowers with my trowel, kneeling pad and bucket. Needless to say, phones, iPads and laptops are a no go zone when she’s around (although I can’t say I blame her for that).

TO THE MOON AND BACK | Just stumbled upon this picture from last week and can’t believe how different a week this one has had. Here, shoving me out of the way telling me two year old style that she can do a better job, today, quiet as a mouse. Roll on next week, and my mouse back running rings around me. Isn’t it when they are unwell that you just realise that they are perfect just the way they are… ❤️🐭 . . . . . . #coolmumclub #perfectandproud #littleloves #pinklinker #livingfearlesslyauthentic #celebratingmotherhood #tribalchat #ukparentbloggers #childofig #littlefierceones #totsphoto #snaphappybritmums #rockingmummylife #livingfearlesslyauthentic #instakids #clickinmoms #ig_motherhood #getwellsoon #mummyshot

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A master of emptying, she tests my borderline OCD tendencies with her ability to clear a cupboard, a shelf, a box or a drawer in the time it takes me to tidy the last disaster zone.

She finds the naughty step hilarious, and given her latest skill of a mean right hook, I’m at my wits end with how to let her know when she’s in real big trouble. (What would Supernanny do?).

If she isn’t initiating injury herself, she’s doing herself an injury. I can honestly start counting to ten sometimes and know I’ll hear a wail before I get to the end. Patience wears thin as you console her for the hundredth time that day.

Yet, amidst all of this, remains the cutest little girl whose snapchat filter eyes (#nofilter) can melt the heart of anyone who meets her. She continues to get ‘aaaahs’ and ‘so cute’s’ wherever we go and people look at me like I’m insane when I describe her as ‘a bit of a pickle’.  She’s not settling well at Nursery and her heartbreaking sobs make me feel terrible as I walk away (and remind myself reassuringly that I need this break). She is funny, she is assertive and she’s been amazing since we weaned her from her dummy. She also massively misses her sister whilst she’s at school – so she has been through her own fair share of upheaval.

Amongst my community of Mums, I know I’m not alone. The other two year olds, like the Mouse, have been running rings around their exhausted parents too. Maybe they are exchanging tips on their own whatsapp group, and that’s why they need our phones so badly.

These siblings to our first borns have it harder in a way – being dragged around to school, to after school club runs, and being told to stop waking up their sister / brother, as well as to stop winding them up and taking their things. And of course, fighting for attention. These are all things our first borns never had to put up with, did they?

And so we’ll just keep going. Starting each day with a promise of no shouting and being good, even if that is broken by 6am.

In truth, there are good weeks and bad weeks – two weeks ago I was a mess and really tearful and worn down. This week, even with a household full of illness and cabin fever, it hasn’t been as bad. It wasn’t just the Mouse’s fault either – her sister has become equipped with a new found attitude and ability to answer back which left me feeling a bit like I was the child being told off, constantly. Between them, those girls had pushed me to my limits.

Being two isn’t easy. Neither is being a parent of a two year old. But, like all things, it won’t last forever. Thank God.

As with all these parenting stages, things can change overnight. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and whilst it was in draft, the mouse was struck down with a nasty illness. Needless to say, she was a shadow of her former herself for well over a week; vulnerable, needy, tinier than ever. It made me realise I really wouldn’t have her any other way than back to her normal self. I couldn’t publish this post so I delayed it, and now putting it out there as thank goodness she’s back to driving me up the wall. Every day as a parent throws us a different challenge, and teaches us what’s really important. Obviously, I’m still publishing this in honour of #nofilterparenting! Because two year olds can definitely be terrible.


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