Terrific twos

We are just days away from the next big milestone for our little Miles — TWO!

The age has been given an unfair moniker, the “Terrible Twos.” I can assure you that some of those things that are supposed to mark the life of a 2-year-old — tantrums, stubbornness, crying, negativity, moodiness, just to name a few — have been seen in the Doyle household well before the official 2nd birthday hits.

But can’t we all be a little moody, stubborn and cranky every now and then. And that’s for us big kids who aren’t going through huge developmental milestones and learning how to express ourselves and find our own tiny (or booming) voice.

When I feel like I’m getting bogged down in the swapping war stories with other parents about the most recent “epic meltdown” with our toddlers I remind myself of how magical this age is for Miles and how I can treasure these times. While I may not miss the tantrums, I certainly don’t want to wish any of my time with Miles to go by faster.

The moments of snuggles, kisses and rocking are too soon going to be traded for school work, kickball and rock concerts. I was inspired by an article I found giving the reasons to love the “terrible twos” and wanted to share them modified a little with my own thoughts and experiences mixed in.

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1. They are leaders in the making.

The strong will can be exhausting and trying – Miles can be opinionated and bossy but he certainly knows what he wants, even if it is grapes and avocados for every meal. These behaviors, obviously molded and channeled appropriately, can help our little ones become confident adults that others look up to.

cars as trains

2. They think outside the box.

At this age, they have their own unique way of looking at life. Instead of just being a line of different toys (a xylophone, dump truck, police car and train engine), Miles has created his own unique train that he will carefully push around the house. Now there needs to be some guidelines, but giving Miles a creative outlet and unrestrained playtime can help him express himself freely and will help build his confidence that could make it easier for him to settle down when he needs to be calm.

miles escapes

3. They have an adventurous spirit.

When it comes to a lot of things — climbing just about any object — Miles is fearless, a little monkey really. One of his favorite activities, sending Michael and me nearly into a panic, is to jump from one side of our bed to the other. This adventurous spirit is necessary for self-discovery and even with limits can help instill courage in our toddlers. As parents we need to be there to be sure our kids are safe, but they also need a chance to safely realize their limitations, strengths and ability to make things happen on their own.

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4. They are willing helpers.

The stubborn “I can do it myself” attitude can make for great “helpers” if you are willing to allow the job to take a little more time. Sure, I’m not going to be assigning my son the chore of feeding the dog quite yet, but he loves to dump the cup of food into VanGogh’s bowl. Allowing him to do something that he’s capable of doing not only makes him happy and keeps him occupied but it helps give them a sense of accomplishment and learns about that task. Next up, laundry!

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5. They live in the moment.

I think we all could take this lesson to heart. Instead of dwelling on the past or holding on to grudges, toddlers focus on what is in front of them at that exact moment. Yes, that short attention span can be tiring, but they are savoring every moment of life. And when it comes to those meltdowns this holds true. They can go from wailing, screaming mess to smiling happy baby in seconds, forgetting the source of the tantrum.

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6. They are in touch with their emotions

Life is an emotional roller coaster for toddlers and they aren’t afraid to express those emotions on either end of the spectrum. Screaming cries one minute to belly laughs the next. This expressive nature will serve them as they grown and eventually learn to control their emotions. But being able to express their emotions is a crucial skill for creating and sustaining relationships at every age, even as adults.

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7. They make great students.

Toddlers’ inquisitive nature and sponge-like brains make them great learners. And opportunities to learn are everywhere. Trips to the park, grocery store or even a drive down the street is a great chance to talk about shapes, numbers, colors or letters. Dissecting toys, making a quick snack or reading a book are great chances for parents to encourage our kids’ curiosity for life and its mysteries. Michael and I treasure our role as Miles’ most important teacher.

ab and miles

8. They see the best in people.

Everyone is a new friend; kids this age have a trusting spirit and a willingness to play and smile at nearly anyone that comes across their path. Miles rarely meets a stranger. I often catch him waving and smiling at people at the grocery store, loves to give people high fives and can make a silly face that would put most of us to shame. By embracing his natural soft-hearted nature and nurturing it I can help empower him to have successful interactions for the rest of his life.

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9. They find joy in the little things.

Miles, like most 2-year-olds I assume, can spend an infinite amount of time with an empty box. An errant twisty-tie provides at least 10 minutes of enjoyment. And these moments of joy shouldn’t just be for our kids. As parents, we need to treasure these things just as much as our little ones. As parents we get two chances to have these moments of fun, when we are a kid experiencing them for the first time and then later when we have a kid and are experiencing those things with them. I constantly have to remind myself not to get so wrapped up on those big adult things that I forget to enjoy these moments with Miles.

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10. They believe kisses are magic

I’ve been waiting for the moment when momma’s kiss made the boo-boos go away and we’ve just hit that stage. My kisses are now magical. It isn’t necessarily the kiss that provides our children’s ouchies with comfort but it is knowing that we are always there for them. This gesture is a powerful tool; what our kids need most at this tender age is love, direction and the security that we are only an arm’s reach away.

What reasons for embracing the terrible twos are missing?

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