I don’t know who made up the term “terrible 2s”, because in my experience when they turn 3 is when the real fun begins. Not only do they have the tantrums, but they have the logic to back it up. They are stronger, more persistent and more sophisticated in their ridiculous demands.
Whenever I have to give a request or demand to my three year old, I actually have to do some mental prepping because I know there is going to be a clash of wills. It really doesn’t matter what it is, just any direction at all.
Come sit down for dinner. Put your shoes on. Stop crashing your truck into the table. Stop licking the bottom of your shoe. Time to brush your teeth. You get the idea … I am not asking a lot here!
And … we are all too familiar with the over the top demands which cause prolonged meltdowns (for mom and kid)!
When their favorite cup is not clean, when the nuggets are cut the wrong way (but the way they liked it yesterday). When they decide they just can’t wear clothes anymore.
I am a very patient mother. I am quite consistent and well read on parenting techniques. I live by 1-2-3 Magic, and it usually does the trick. But sometimes, NOTHING WORKS! For me it is usually a combination of maternal fatigue, living by the clock, or just the plain old toddler “beat down” where I am just spent from the 37 random struggles on that particular day.
Batman saves the day!
Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing was working. My child was tired and irritable, I was crabby and everything was a struggle. You can imagine when my hubby came home from work and announced he was out of his medication, and he needed it refilled NOW… before the pharmacy closes. He had already promised my older child he would take her to the pool, and there was no time to do both. So, you guessed it…I had to convince the turbo toddler to somehow get in the car to go to the pharmacy to get daddy’s medicine (because of course the thought of going to the pool was just pure torture for him). Big sigh…head hanging low…no 1-2-3 magic is going to work here. He was so content to be playing with Batman on the floor.
That’s it! Batman!
Instead of telling him we had to go the pharmacy and wait through the tantrum before I actually took him out in public and was embarrassed anyway, we will go on an adventure. I pretend that I took a call from Batman who told us he that needs our help. We have to go on a superhero adventure to get daddy’s medicine filled. I have never seen my son go to the bathroom, get his shoes on and get in his car seat so fast!
The rest of the night I used the same technique. Batman would call and tell us that it was time to eat dinner, brush teeth and go to bed. If this only worked for one night, so be it. I had an evening free from struggles, tears, meltdowns and frustrations.
Obviously, I can’t continue this game with every direction. It is not realistic to give instruction though a fake phone and a pretend superhero. On this particular day however, it is what the both of us needed and got us through our rough patch.
Do you have any creative games you pull out on a particularly difficult day with your turbo toddler?
With you in the good, the bad and your ugly days too,
Heather is a life coach for moms, a middle school counselor and a mama who is committed to rocking her mojo! She has two extremely “spirited,” independent and strong-willed children who test her, teach her and exhaust her…several times a day! You can read more about her at My Mama Mojo.