I remember celebrating my son’s second birthday and thinking to myself, here we go, the start of the the Terrible Twos. This is supposed to be the age where your child starts throwing temper tantrums, saying no, screaming, and having meltdowns in the middle of the grocery store. I was not looking forward to this phase to say the least. Instead, I found this not to be the case.
The Terrific Twos
In my opinion, the Terrible Twos are not so terrible. In fact, I think they should be called the “Terrific Twos.” It’s a fun age where I saw my son start to communicate more with Anna and I and transition to more big boy activities like riding a tricycle.
Even though the Terrific Twos are terrific, there were some challenges. Here are a few of the challenges that we met along the way:
- Potty training, mostly helping Jude learn how to tell us that he had to go
- Jude started communicating more verbally, but got frustrated when he couldn’t find the words he wanted to use sometimes.
- As a parent, knowing when the right time to start introducing certain activities like riding a tricycle, drinking from a cup, and using a spoon and fork
- Learning to share
There are a lot of joys along the way, too. Every age and stage is the best. Some of the joys of age two were these experiences:
- Jude started counting and also sitting for longer books like Curious George.
- Jude was sweet and innocent and started saying “love you” to Anna and me.
- Jude could understand simple directions like “Bring me the book, please.”
As parents of a two year-old at the time, we were learning along with Jude. One of the biggest learning curves for us as parents was potty training. We definitely had to be prepared for accidents and bring a few extra sets of clothes if we left the house – and have a game plan for bathroom stops on road trips. When it came to potty training, we would celebrate the small victories like making it to the potty in time or the fact that there was more pee in the potty than on the floor. Learning to aim is a key part of the process for a little boy to learn, and some adults, too.
Jude also started learning to share at this age. Being an only child at the time, he practiced sharing with others at daycare.
The Terrible Threes
The Terrible Threes should probably be called The Challenging Threes. This was the age where we saw Jude go from a little boy to little man, aka The Man Child. There was definitely a lot of growth both physically and mentally during this year.
Jude made us more seasoned parents during this year. Here are some of the things that made this year a challenge:
- Jude is strong-willed. We want to foster his individuality but also teach him to respect others.
- He started saying, “I need some privacy” while using the bathroom.
- Selective Hearing
- Bedtime – Jude got out of bed 20 times per night (literally). Bedtime was rough for about 6 months that year.
- Asked “Why?” A-L-L T-H-E T-I-M-E.
Although age 3 was very challenging, it also proved to be fun and exciting. Here are some of the joys:
- Jude started to tell jokes, all of which have the same punchline.
- He forms his own thoughts and opinions and remembers things from months ago.
- Asks questions related to conversations and books
- Learned his first, middle, last name
- Learned our street name
I wasn’t prepared for how much of a little man he became during his third year. I feel like he went from a toddler to a little man over night. He basically became a teenager in a little boy’s body: a threenager. There were nights at dinner where he would eat more than Anna and me combined. We also began to see his strong will, which made for some late night standoffs during bedtime.
One of the funniest things that he started doing was while going to the bathroom. Normally Anna or I would follow him into the bathroom to help him. Somewhere along the way he started telling us, “I need some privacy.” He was adamant about us leaving the bathroom while he took care of business. It was around this time where he wanted to do things for himself, be it going to the bathroom, washing his hands, or dressing himself.
The Fantastic Fours
Age four is fantastic and by all accounts the easiest age so far. I can jokingly say this because we just celebrated Jude’s 4th birthday two days ago. It is really hard to believe that four years have already passed since he was born. Time really does fly and with kids, much faster than it did during my single days.
It brings me great joy to see my kids grow-up and although there are challenges along the way, the joy they bring definitely outweighs the challenges. Happy birthday, buddy! I love you and look forward to seeing you grow and learn this year. I hope I can keep up.
What challenges or joys have you discovered with your kids?