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

A post shared by MUM|MUDDLING|THROUGH (@mummuddlingthrough) on

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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40 thoughts on “Broken by a two year old

  1. Nicole Reply

    I can feel your pain Sarah (my son’s no good at sleep either – tells me ‘I don’t have time for it!!!’). But as you said, it won’t last forever. Hope the tough phase passes soon x.
    PS: LOVE THIS LINE – Maybe they are exchanging tips on their own whatsapp group, and that’s why they need our phones so badly. LOL. Guess we need to see the funnier side of things to survive, don’t we?

  2. Amanda Blackburn Reply

    It won’t last forever although it’s hard at the time it goes in a flash. You sound like such an amazing mum. Having children is so rewarding but also so difficult. Just try and take a bit of time out for yourself, even if it’s just for an hour. I think when we have a little bit of time to be ourselves it helps us to mentally cope better.

  3. Donna Reply

    Mine sleep, thank god. But the little one is 16 months, and thinks she’s 3. She refuses to be fed, or carried. She has to do everything herself! Kids!! #coolmumclub

  4. Pass the wine please Reply

    Mine isn’t even 2 yet and she’s a bit of a tantrum monster so slightly scared about the terrible two’s! Reassuring to know that so many other people will be in the same boat! #Coolmumclub

  5. ajourneytoalifetime Reply

    I have a 15mth and a 28mth old so I am with you on all of this. Great read #coolmumclub

  6. Talya Reply

    Oh darling so so been here the twos were literally the worst time in my life but it does get better but I do look back on last year with a shudder. Hang on in there mama we got your #coolmumclub back (written from the hospital waiting room!) xoxo

  7. Mom Of Two Little Girls Reply

    I don’t think it’s specific to first or second born. My eldest was exactly like that and I can honestly say I am still licking my wounds from it even though she seems to finally be growing out of it – she turns six soon. By contrast my younger daughter has always been so easy until recently – she’s just starting to embrace the threenager syndrome – pray for me! lol

  8. Mess and merlotm Reply

    Ahh I really feel for you, we have a 2.5yr gap as well, this stage is tough but I swear it get’s better. The bickering doesn’t, that get’s worse (sorry!) but the sleep, the general grumpiness of a 2yo, the naughtiness, the reluctance to go to nursery-it all goes. Hang in there Mama xx

  9. and Jacob makes three Reply

    She looks like an angel! I don’t believe you 😉 haha! It must be tough. I can’t imagine what a nightmare Jacob will be at 2 #coolmumclub

  10. Anna Reply

    Oh I could have written this! My two year old is EXACTLY the same (except male) He seems to think that 7 hrs is enough sleep, 3 am is a great time to wake. Biting is better than learning to talk. Walking is for losers. Puddles are for sitting in and the exact opposite of what I need to happen is what he wants to happen.
    I’m constantly exhausted and frustrated but I wouldn’t change him for the world. Well, maybe sometimes…… #coolmumclub

  11. tinmccarthy Reply

    This right here…this is my life.

  12. five little doves Reply

    Ahhh I totally relate to this! With mine at 2, 3 and 4 they are all still pretty much in that stage and don’t I know it! I’m not sure what age they grow out of it, I have friends who still fight with their siblings as adults!! I hope for all our sakes it doesn’t last forever! #coolmumclub

  13. Tubbs Reply

    Hope she’s feeling better now. I remember doing assertiveness training at work and if I had a Tardis, I’d pop back and ask how those techniques apply with kids … 😉 My lack of success suggests I’m not doing it right.

    1. Tubbs Reply

      Sending hugs and strong tea!

  14. beauty and the minibeasts Reply

    God they test you don’t they. I sat and cried last night at the realisation that I used to be mildly cool but yet here I am sat covered in pesto and sticky calpol in my hair. it’s not forever I guess. We can totally do this !!! #Coolmumclub

  15. Sarah Howe Reply

    Ah bless I’m wondering how my second born will be. Her sister is a nut but my baby seems so calm at the mo. I’m guessing this won’t be for long. Hang in there hun. Sure will get easier!! Thanks for hosting x

  16. Mum in Brum Reply

    Wow you have literally just described Taylor to a T – I feel your pain Sarah! Interesting that Mouse is the second and you attribute a lot of her actions to that, I’m really intrigued by how Taylor’s going to act with a younger sibling. I’m hoping she may suddenly want to be ‘more responsible’ as the big sister, but think I’m kidding myself! Taylor also finds the naughty step hilarious – in fact she just finds me hilarious whenever she knows she’s upset me. I’m getting frequent whacks in the face at the minute which is fun. I also ask myself ‘what would Supernanny do??’ I think these fiery personalities in the long run promise great things though – hopefully ambition, determination and drive…we just have to hang in there through the terrible twos. Good luck lovely hope it gets easier soon xx

  17. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I feel your pain. I think we all do. L has left me a broken woman. I’d never change it but some days it just seems like I’m waiting for bedtime and it’s only 7.45am. Other days he’s great though. #coolmumclub

  18. mumandstuff Reply

    Just when you think you can’t take anymore, everything upends itself and you’re left wondering how it all worked out so well! Thanks for sharing this, it’s not always easy to share the difficult bits! xx

  19. Paula from Her Life is Love Reply

    I have a two year old so this post resonated with me, quite well 🙂 #coolmumclub
    Even though there are a lot of difficult moments where my patience is tried, I really like 2 year old stage. My daughter helps out a lot around the house, even if it does take longer.

  20. Aleena Brown Reply

    Oh bless her, I’m glad she’s feeling better. It’s amazing how seeing them poorly and quit can make you miss the real them isn’t it… until of course the real them reappears with a vengeance haha!!! #ablogginggoodtime

  21. Aleena Brown Reply

    Oh no! It’s been one of those days, and actually I was totally coming from #coolmumclub

    *slaps forehead*

  22. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Awww so sweet! I love the ending to this story (even if it wasn’t great at the time!) <3 #coolmumclub

  23. Confessions of a Working Mum Reply

    We have a VERY head strong 16 month old little lady so I think we are going to travel down very similar paths. We’re bracing ourselves and will take each day as it comes. Thanks for your honesty – there’s no point dressing these things up is there? xx #CoolMumClub

  24. rockandrosesmama Reply

    I feel you lady! Our little man is two and a half and ohmygosh he is SUCH a handful! Don’t get me wrong there are those gleaming moments the he actually does something you say or pay attention… or when you’ve finally got him to sit up to the table to eat his dinner a few nights in a row… but then something else comes into the mix like waking up for four hours in the middle of the night and thinking its time for breakfast and demanding we go downstairs! Gotta love em! <3

    1. rockandrosesmama Reply

      #coolmumclub (always forget that!)

  25. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    You are not alone!! I was nodding along with everything you said because I have 2 girls and both are a year older than yours. I have been there. I think the youngest do get frustrated with being carted off everywhere to pick up and collect the eldest. They are trying to make they voices heard – loudly!! My 3 year old still remains very assertive and bossy but also has moments of being very affectionate and loveable. Remember “It’s all a phase!” (!) it will pass and you’ll soon be on to the next thing. I’m glad Mouse is feeling better. Never nice to see them poorly and does make you appreciate their usual boisterous characters a bit more! #CoolMumClub x

  26. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    All so so true. My two year old is exactly the same and is so headstrong and stubborn. She may be hard to parent right now but I think that attitude will stand her in good stead when she’s older, she’s certainly not the type to be pushed around! Like you, despite the daily struggles, I wouldn’t have her any other way x

  27. Stephanie Reply

    Omg, the first half made me tired just reading it. It’s such a weird kind of exhaustion that makes you feel like you have to just press on for their sake. Nothing like it for sure. #coolmumclub

  28. Laura Beresford Reply

    I think the terrible 2s carries on until they reach school (sorry!). I can’t wait for my middle child to start in September! but then 6 months later Zach will turn 2: there’s no escape!!! #coolmumclub

  29. Helena Reply

    Yes our two year old has drawn on her table and removed the buttons to Daddy’s laptop. Still most of the day she’s been very sweet and lovely. #coolmumclub

  30. Jo (Mother of Teenagers) Reply

    I am so sorry to hear you are having a tough time. Those terrible twos are just as bad as I remember with mine except I was at work then so did have the luxury of walking away from it all at some point during the week. Where there is rough there is generally a bit of smooth too so I really hope it all levels out soon. #coolmumclub

  31. tammymum Reply

    Ah I hope she wasn’t poorly for too long. I know the feeling though I have a very defiant and head strong two year old with a one year old copying her every move. It is a battle of the wills most days, and I’m sure she wins more than she should. Like you say there are good days and bad days but sometimes the bad feel really bad eh. #coolmumclub

  32. susielhawes Reply

    Ahhhh glad she’s ok now, it’s awful when they’re ill. But yes they most definitely can be teririble. I wrote a post recently about my daughter who got quite violent, biting grabbing and hitting and pinching me! I found it so hard. But she has *touch wood* been a lot better the last few weeeks so I’m hoping it stays that way. Living with toddlers is like being on a rollercoaster!! #coolmumclub

  33. crummymummy1 Reply

    I feel broken by our 2 year old at the moment – who also isn’t keen on sleep! #coolmumclub

  34. Double the Monkey Business Reply

    I am sorry you are having a rough time. I thought when the boys were two it was all relatively straight forward. I got a little confident about the whole thing. Then they hit three and they more than made up for it! They figured out how to gan up on me! #coolmumclub

  35. Tracey Abrahams Reply

    I still have vague memories of the terrible twos, but the worst memories do fade and leave a lovely nostalgic haze as you find yourself dealing with a stroppy teenager #coolmumsclub

  36. Autumn's Mummy Reply

    My little on is only 6 months – it sounds like I should appreciate how easy I’ve got it at the moment! #coolmumclub

  37. Peachy Reply

    Peachy is only 16 months old and we’re not at that stage yet. She has however realized how much fun it is to run away and she knows that grabbing something she’s not allowed to have and taking off with it is pretty much a guarantee of a good time. Sorry for the super late comment. #coolmumclub

  38. DevonMum Reply

    My daughter is exactly the same. The terrible two’s are nearly over for her……now it’s on to being a ‘threenager’ attitude problem and back chat in are in full swing in my house x

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