You know those parents who look at their infants and say, “Why can’t they stay this way forever?” I was never one of those parents. I was overwhelmed by the demands of a newborn, and I looked forward to the day my son turned one. Then I was shocked by the ferocity of a one-year-old’s tantrums and wondered if age two would be any better. After all, The Terrible Twos is a title that strikes fear into the hearts of all new parents. Well, fear not. I’m here to tell you that the twos are not as terrible as you think. Here’s why:
- You know the reason for the tantrum. All the articles Google has to offer on taming toddler tantrums assume you know why your little one is suddenly throwing himself on the floor screaming, “Wix, Mama! Wix!” Verbal skills improve at age two, so he can say “chips” instead of “wix,” and you can actually try those tantrum techniques. I’m not saying they always work, but at least you have something to try.
- Two-year-olds are passionate about everything. You know those ferocious tantrums? As bad as those may be, two-year-olds express joy with the same level of intensity. My son loses his mind with glee when I come home from the grocery store. “Wow, snacks!” he exclaims, jumping up and down. “Ooh staw-bewees! Yay! Apples!” When is the last time you got that excited over fruit?
- They like what they like because they like it. Two-year-olds don’t care what their friends think. They aren’t concerned with labels or even gender identity yet. My son’s favorite things include bubbles, lions and the moon. He likes picking flowers as much as he likes throwing footballs. Some nights he wants a cookbook for a bedtime story. He doesn’t feel the need to explain himself. Two-year-olds just are who they are. You gotta admire that.
- They are your biggest cheerleader. Sure they follow you into the bathroom, but who else would clap when you flush and remind you to wash your hands?
- They can eat what you eat. Aside from food allergies and choking hazards, two-year-olds can pretty much eat the same food as you. I’m not saying they will, but they can. They typically have all their baby teeth, so you don’t have to worry about pureed vegetables and smashed bananas. Your toddler still might throw himself on the floor demanding chips for dinner, instead of the home-cooked kale and quinoa (or Hamburger Helper) you’ve slaved over, but at least both of you can enjoy each of those things if you so choose.
- They’re cheaper than babies. A newborn eats every two hours and goes through 8 to 12 diapers a day. Most babies triple their birth weight by the end of their first year. That’s a lot of money spent on diapers, clothing, bottles and formula. Even if your baby is exclusively breastfed, that’s still a huge expenditure of time if not money. A two-year-old requires fewer feedings, fewer accessories and can fit clothing for longer stretches of time. If your child is in daycare, you probably get a decrease in tuition around this time too. If you’re really lucky your kid might even be potty-trained by now (really, really lucky).
- They’re cheaper than big kids. Two-year-olds don’t mind wearing hand-me-downs. They don’t beg for trips to Disney World. They won’t ask for pricey video games for Christmas. My son can entertain himself by hopping like a bunny in the living room, and doesn’t even know the local trampoline park exists.
- Two-year-olds are adorable. Of course my little bundle of joy was cute from day one, but have you ever seen a two-year-old count to 10? Or sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat? If not, you’re missing out. So the next time you’re cleaning up a mixture of Comet Cleanser and apple juice off your laminate flooring (true story) remember how cute it is when he calls his elbow his elmo, and know that he won’t stay this way forever.