Modern Mom, M.D.

The Land of Twos

Posted on by Christina

We are approaching Gavin’s second birthday at the end of October and I couldn’t find myself any more…well, relieved. I hate to admit it, but I have secretly dreaded Gavin’s “Terrible Twos” ever since I became a pediatrician. I’ve experienced many office visits with screaming 18 month-olds or 2 year-olds who just won’t let you touch them without a marathon work out. It’s not that I blame them. By that age they have associated the exam room with intrusions into their ears and the white-paper-donned table with shots. I just wish their little brains could understand how much easier it would all go if they would just stop screaming and cooperate. As I have gained experience I’ve come to just laugh at them and reassure their parents that almost all toddlers make me work so hard. But as a mother, having witnessed so many toddlers in this state of fear, I worried I would have a hard time handling this age.

A year ago I actually mentioned my concern to one of my patients. Their extremely adorable 2-year-old had exhausted us both. After offering many tickles, tricks and prizes she finally let me listen to her heart. When I admitted my fear the father looked me directly in the eyes and said, “actually, it’s a great age.” I thanked him for his reassurance but had my doubts. I’m great at cuddling, mending booboos, reading books, and playing but was not sure how I would handle his fits in public or refusal to do anything I ask. Now that Gavin is almost two I have to agree with that father. This really is such a great age. He is talking so much. It is truly amazing to learn what his brain is thinking about. He begs me to “sit and play mommy,” I laugh so hard when he makes monkey noises while he eating a banana, and he knows how to get under his father’s skin by telling him “no dada, my momma” when Cody tries to give me a kiss. I could go on and on about all the things he does that make my heart melt and belly chuckle.

It’s not that we haven’t had our behavior issues. Gavin refuses to sit down with us for dinner pretty much every night. I take that back. He will sit with us long enough to pray, take a bite or two, and then announce he’s ready to play. He often gets mad at me for taking too long to eat announcing, “momma come play outside!!!!!!” And going out to eat is just not an option for us right now. The child does not like to sit still and he just doesn’t care that much about food. I know these are common toddler behaviors, but as a foodie and a strong believer in the family dinner, it drives me crazy! I really can’t wait until he enjoys eating, talking and trying new food like we do. And then there was a rash of pulling my hair, biting me, and hitting me that started around 15-months. I distinctly remember him holding his sippy cup up to the light to see I gave him water instead of juice and then throwing it in my face. After implementing time out for such dreaded behaviors, however, he quickly stopped. Making my little monkey sit still for 1 minute was so devastating to him that he quickly learned to accept my limits. We have had a few tantrums requiring us to carry him out to the car from a public place. But it really hasn’t bothered me like I thought it would. I could care less that he can be disruptive in public; I’m so concerned with teaching him good behavior that it doesn’t even occur to me to be embarrassed.

So here I am with a 2 year-old and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m shocked how much fun we are having and how little frustration I feel about the tantrums, the need for the time-out timer, and his love of the word “no.”

And I guess you could say we are having so much fun that we decided to have another one! I’m happy to announce we have a little girl coming at the end of February. Gavin will be 28 months-old when she arrives. Right now he seems to be excited about his little sister. He randomly kisses my belly saying, “my baby sister.” He covers my belly saying night-night. And in his typically possessive fashion he tells his father, “no, my baby” whenever Cody approaches my belly. I’ve decided not to think about how hard it will be for him to share his parents once she arrives. I secretly dread this major developmental step for him. But maybe he will surprise me again!

9 Responses to The Land of Twos

Ivy Gomez says: October 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Eeek!! Congrats on your baby girl to-be! I thought the restaurant thing would get easier, but I guess we still have a few years to go. :)

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Courtney Wilkerson says: October 8, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Congrats on the baby girl!! I love reading & learning from your blog! It’s funny how I always seem to go through the same things a few months later!

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Sasha says: October 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm

My son also can’t sit still for one minute. At restaurants we normally have to walk him around or he will scream… Our solution showed up unexpectedly when I downloaded a developmental app for toddlers on my iPad. I don’t know how you feel about toddlers and computers but I feel like it helped us avoid meltdowns on long car trips and at restaurants. My son loves his “colors” (that’s what he calls his app) and it helped him learn colors and shapes. I downloaded more apps and he has learnt a lot of new words and a lot of other stuff. I try not to let him use it too often but he doesn’t seem to be too attached to it. He likes it but plays with other toys as well and loves to play outside.

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Christina says: October 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Yes, we have pulled out the ipad a few times to get through dinner. I try to limit it as much as possible but it has definitely helped on trips. I do feel there is some benefit from these apps but remember, the American Academy of PEdiatris recommend no television (including iPads) until the age of 2. They also recommend limiting screen time (televsion, iPad, phones, etc.) to less than 2 hours a day after the age of 2. I’m finding more and more that this is very hard to do!

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Jennifer says: October 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I love your blog! I’m having my baby boy at the end of January!! Congrats on the little girl!! So happy for you and your family.

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Kelsey says: October 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Oh wow! My son, Ezra, just turned 2 on Oct 18th and we’re expecting a girl at the beginning of February :) We are having similar issues with mealtimes and it’s encouraging to hear that my son isn’t the only one that takes 2 bites before announcing “All done. Get down, Ezra wants to play.” I’m also anxious about transitioning him from only child to older brother but I think he’ll be fascinated with his new baby sister. I just keep trying to explain what having a newborn in the house will entail while trying to make it sound positive. I’m crossing my fingers for smooth sailing of my little man becoming a big brother!

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Jch says: July 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Congrats on your new little girl! I can’t wait for another blog post letting us know how little Gavin is doing as a big brother. My little girl will be 2 years old in 2 weeks and we are also expecting another in 2 weeks! I’ve also been trying not to think about how hard this will be on her and hope things go well, but would love to hear your experience in becoming a mother of 2 now!

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