The Terrible Two Toddler
As mentioned in my first post my son is two years old. Well, almost two; soon enough. Like most terrible two toddlers he’s learning to throw tantrums, assert his independence, and flexing his mutant ability to suck every ounce of patience out of me.
Typically I respond by yelling the following phrase:
“TREX! BABA IS GOING TO COUNT TO FIVE AND THEN YOU ARE GETTING A TIME OUT”
Obviously, once I get to five he ignores me, takes his timeout, and continues on doing what he’s doing: running around naked; running around with a diaper full of poo; and I’m pretty sure he sometimes runs around mocking me.
All of this is hilarious, or hilariously sad, in hindsight, but as it’s happening in real time I pretty much lose my temper. For the past week or so I have found myself exasperatedly storming out of the room.
“BABA NEEDS A TIMEOUT”
Face of a Terrible Two-er
Just so you get the full picture of what kind of mischief I’m dealing with here – the other day I asked him to take his face off the window [he had his face pressed up against the glass of a bookstore at the airport]. He takes his face off [good right?], looks at me, and then proceeds to lick the glass.
For those that don’t know me, unfortunately I have a temper. A temper that has taken me 30+ years to learn to control. A controlled temper that my TRex has figured out how to selectively unravel in his first ~730 days of life.
When said temper Hulks out, there’s basically a bunch of yelling [from me], and threats/promises of timeouts.
For clarity sake – when I say yelling I mean parental like levels of yelling. Not Jersey Shore levels of yelling. I’m not trying to go all Situation on my toddler.
Obviously none of what I’m doing is working. I yell. He mocks or tantrums. I yell some more. It’s a vicious cycle. Part of being a father, or at least part of learning to be a father, is understanding where you’re going wrong, and I’m clearly misguided here.
So I’m trying something new. Since January 2nd, whenever I find myself about to yell, or wanting to yell, I do the opposite. I whisper loudly.
Sounds stupid right?
Oddly, this audible seems to be working for the two of us. Forcing myself to whisper prevents me from getting too riled up, and on the flip side, TRex hearing me whisper prevents him from getting too riled up. In the case when TRex does become more aggro, I continue to just whisper-talk to him and hope that Hurricane Rex passes soon.
So far, so good; so far gone
Like I said, I’ve only been practicing the whisper-talk/yell for a few days so who knows if this behavior trend continues. At the very minimum it’s helping me learn new ways to communicate with my son and for that I’m thankful.
For anyone else that’s going through this, or will go through this, the bolded sentence above is the important part here: for additional emphasis – learn new ways to communicate [with your tantrum spawn]. Perhaps I’m a bit more dense than most parents, but this idea wasn’t readily apparent to me. Blame work, blame life, I don’t know, but my typically brash/blunt way of communicating with people didn’t fly so well with TRex [duh right].
Conversely, as I sit here overthinking about how to talk to a terrible-two-toddler, it’s probably best to have several ways to communicate with TRex. As we call it in the software world – contextual awareness. Some situations probably require my typical blunt/brash style, such as when he’s making a mad dash out of the garage into the street, whereas for day-to-day purposes, like not putting on your pants, it probably shouldn’t be the first tone I reach for in my bag of roars.
Whisper-roaring into the night,