Two Year Olds: The Terrific Two's
I know, I know, it's supposed to be The Terrible Twos but to me it's still the terrific twos. Think about this....the birth of a baby is miraculous. One minute this little being is inside the womb, the next you are holding a beautiful, fully formed baby (ok, maybe not one minute). The principle here is one minute he's not here, the next minute you're in love with this new and tiny being.
As you and your baby live together every day is really a new day. The baby does new things and you are amazed. Soon, he begins to recognize you and starts to smile when he sees you. Before you know it he's beginning to turn over then get up on his hands and knees. It is truly a marvel!
Time flies and his first birthday comes along. Now he's toddling around and experimenting with speaking. Each day he grows stronger and smarter. Then his second birthday. Now your little baby starts to really develop his own personality. Two year old development is phenomenal. He's a person. He has his own ideas and opinions though he doesn't exactly know how to express them. Teaching two year olds is amazing! They are like little sponges and learn even when you're not actively teaching them. He starts to mimic everything you say and do.
According to Dr. Vincent Ianelli in his Internet article "Terrible Twos and Your Toddler, Ages and Stages" the Terrible Twos are,
Characterized by toddlers being negative about most things and often saying 'no', the terrible twos may also find your toddler having frequent mood changes and temper tantrums.
While this does sound terrible, is it just two year old's or is it when we start to notice it? Take a good look at your older kids. How about the terrible eights or the terrible teens? We can't always label things terrible! What about your husband...does he have a temper tantrum when you tell him he can't watch the big football game (not all men are subject to football madness this is just an example). My point here is the so called Terrible Twos in my opinion, are just the beginning of your baby's personality and the time he is starting recognize he does have a voice in things. He is trying (without consciously knowing it) to voice his own opinion, to be himself.
Putting aside all that negativity let's take a look at a two year old. He is now at a point in his life where everything is new. He's seeing things on his own terms for the first time. He's curious. He wants to know what everything is. That may account for "what's that" and "why". He's asking questions about everything because he wants to learn and understand things.
He may begin to pretend when he plays, something he's never done before. Using his toys to act out real life situations or just making things up as he goes along. He likes to dance and run and exercise, to use his body to perpetuate his constant motion. He loves to fill things up and dump them out. Can you imagine what an exciting time this is for a child?
So, all of those reasons point to Terrific for me but the most important is the development of his speech and understanding. No longer a baby, now a person!
Think about your two year old and the things he actually says and does. Try making the Terrible Twos Terrific by looking at them in a different way. My four children and six grandchildren have brought me so much joy and yes, entertainment, when they were two years old. When the last two were fourteen my daughter had a baby. The first baby in the family for fourteen years. As a result, I now have a two and a half year old grandson (the youngest of my six grandchildren) and I can't even tell you how much I enjoy him. He loves to have you read him books and knows exactly which books he wants you to read and how many times you have to read them!
The other day he let himself into his mother's closet and she said to him, "Excuse me, do you need some help?" To which he replied, "No, I have everything under control." How do you not laugh when your 2-1/2 year old gives you an answer like that?
Obviously many of his toys are battery operated. He'll play with them for unlimited amounts of time but being a typical two year old he's not always ready to share. If someone is playing with one of his battery operated toys he will say, "Turn it off you'll waste the batteries."
My dog still likes his crate and will go in to rest or get away from my grandson. We have told him that's Buzz's quiet place. Now when he sees Buzz in the crate he says, "Leave Buzz alone when he's in the crate."
He calls Buzz a 'vacuum cleaner' because Buzz eats everything that hits the floor. He "needs" to watch certain DVDs and "loves" certain toys. His newest saying when he is amused is "That cracks me up." This is a two year old. I know he's mimicking what he hears but the miracle of it all is he's learning and remembering. He's using sayings in context and always picking up new ones.
If you ride with him in the car he can tell you which building is Home Depot, Barnes and Noble, Target, and of course, MacDonald's. He LOVES tools and knows the name of every tool imaginable. He totally surprised me when he told me that pair of pliers was "a bull nose pliers." If asked what he's doing when he's playing with his tools he'll answer, "Working on a project."
His laugh is totally infectious. You cannot help but join in when he laughs.
These are all two year old milestones. They include (according to the Government Center for Disease Control):
- Copies others, especially adults and older children
- Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
- Knows names of familiar people and body parts
- Repeats words overheard in conversation
- Kicks a ball
- Makes and copies straight lines and circles
Certainly he does more than the list above but these are some of the basics that are expected of two year olds. The funny thing is they want to do what they want to do....but they don't really know what that is!
What grandma doesn't melt when she hears her two year old grandson say over the phone, "Want to see grandma now" or when he leans over and just gives you a big kiss? How can you not be impressed when he sings the ABCs all by himself?
I know every child is unique and I know they all develop at their own rate but really, think about it, isn't two a terrific age? He knows what he wants, not because he's stubborn or miserable, but because he really knows what he wants. It's not a vague complaint of his body but a clear choice of his mind. Granted he doesn't always understand the consequences of what he wants, like wanting another ice cream cone after he finishes the one he has, or wanting to play with a real screwdriver. All things need to be considered and understood.
He knows all the people around him and which ones are a soft touch and which ones won't give in. He knows who will play with him and who won't.
His sense of taste and smell are more developed and he will know what he likes to eat and doesn't like to eat. The more healthy foods he is given, the more he will learn to like them and choose his favorites among them. My grandson loves mangos. My kids never even heard of mangos! While it is said the average two year old speaks and understands fifty words, I have to say my grandson is above average! I really do hate averages though because it takes some two year old's longer than others to come into their own. Of course if a two year old isn't saying words or you can't understand what he is saying it might be a good idea to have him evaluated by a speech therapist just to be on the safe side. You can never err by being cautious.
If this is your first child you can research normal development on the Internet or more importantly speak to your pediatrician. While this child will aggravate you, exasperate you, annoy you and probably drive you crazy, he will also entertain you, surprise you, amaze you and most importantly of all love you.
This is a terrific time in your baby's life and should be in yours too. Don't get me wrong, after four kids and six grandchildren I have stories that would put curl in your hair. We've had serious illness, stitches, broken bones, broken hearts, growing pains, temper tantrums, we've run the gamut. Still after all these children and all these years I think the Twos are Terrific!
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