Help! I have a two year old on my hands! I'm not sure where this tiny dictator came from, but she won't listen to reason and loses decorum in the blink of an eye. Where is my sweet baby? Where is my obedient, well behaved, sweet-natured child? Why has she had it with me and logic?
Here are some things I learned this weekend:
1. When in doubt, bring something cool from home. If you are out in public, say, at a friend's baby shower, and someone had the foresight to bring an enjoyable toy for their child, but you forgot to bring something for your own child, you know, because you were at a PARK, and because that should have been entertainment enough, if you expect your child to take turns with said awesome toy, you'd better have something amazing you can produce out of thin air, otherwise, your child will throw the biggest fit of the century in front of everyone, including the expectant couple, who might suddenly regret their impending entry into parenthood. Biggest. Fit. Ever. I had to pry Penny's fingers from her friend's toy, while she was screaming, "MINE! MINE!" For a second, I thought her head might start rotating on her shoulders. We retreated to the swings so she could calm down long enough to hear me explain how turn-taking works. And then it didn't work, all over again.
2. Choose your battles. Let's say you are in the magical land of IKEA, just because you enjoy fantasizing about remodeling your sucky kitchen, and you like to wander around showrooms in your spare time, and your child balks at riding in the cart, but refuses to leave each model bedroom you encounter, because she would prefer to play Goldilocks with each bed, and walking a mere three yards to the next room is a battle that repeats itself over and over to infinity and beyond, maybe it's best to just let your child play while you send your sister on to fantasise without you. You know, because you don't want a repeat of the Biggest. Fit. Ever. Eventually, Penny became so worn out, she capitulated to the cart by the time we were done. Yes! We dodged that one.
Meanwhile, as you are getting ready for work the next morning, and your child insists on taking all of her new cups and plates and bowls to Grandma's (purchased from the IKEA adventure), and you say that she can take one plate and one bowl and one cup, and instead she slips all of the cups and 2 of the bowls into the bag while you aren't looking, maybe it's ok to just let it go, because you have better things to do than to fight with a two year old, and at least she left the plates.
3. Offer choices. When you're at the park, and your child is tired of riding her fabulous new trike, but you are still some distance from you car, offer a choice: You can ride your trike, or you can walk. No, you can't haphazardly push your trike into innocent bystanders. No, I can't carry you that far, besides, I have to push this fabulous trike you suddenly don't feel like riding. Hmm, maybe holding mom's hand and walking and finding birds and squirrels isn't so bad after all.
Don't cross her.
It's not all horrible. When Penny gets mad, she angrily storms off, elbows swinging, to an adjacent room, stands there for a minute, and then returns, saying, "I happy now." Whew, that's a relief. But sweet Baby Jesus, how are we going to survive the next 11 months? Oh, and people need to stop telling me that 3 is worse than 2. I really don't need to hear that.