Thursday, May 2, 2013

Repost: The 'terrible twos' have hit. I need a vacation.

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

June 15, 2011

What happened to my sweet child?

My daughter's still a couple of months away from turning 2, so I had hoped that the so-called "terrible twos" would hold off for a bit.

No such luck.

About two weeks ago, some sort of switch went off in her mind, telling her that she should resist everything her parents want. Changing clothes? Resist. Mealtimes? Resist. Getting in the car? Resist. Getting *out* of the car? Resist.

It's exhausting.

None of that has been as bad as what I now consider one of the most frustrating days of my short parenting life, though. Every Monday afternoon, I push kiddo in her stroller as I run or walk the half-mile to a nearby grocery store. It's usually a fun excursion, and she sings and chatters the whole way as I point out squirrels and plants and other things I think she should know.

This past Monday was different. Just as we got to the grocery store, she started to whine and become very upset about being in the stroller, so I let her out to walk beside me as we picked up a couple of items in the store. The real problem came when we exited the store.

That's when she decided that she didn't want to get back in the stroller. Or let me hold and carry her home. Or walk while holding my hand. My two-foot-tall, 25-pound kid basically wanted to walk the half-mile home by herself -- which I was not going to allow to happen. My firmness prompted an on-the-ground, squirming, screaming ("nononoNOnoNOOOnooo!"), crying fit.

Remember, we're in front of the grocery store. Nothing I did could soothe her. The water I'd brought with us didn't interest her. Neither did a snack. In fact, it seemed that any attention I paid her just made the situation worse.

That's when the weather that had seemed OK for an afternoon walk suddenly felt Sahara-hot. And when I noticed what seemed to be half the population of the city staring at me as I...tried to force a clearly unwilling child into a stroller. The store security guard came outside and gave me the side-eye. I was convinced that the police and the Department of Children and Families were on the way and that I'd be arrested for kidnapping my own child.

Two kind people in the grocery store's parking lot who saw the epic struggle even came over to ask me whether they could give us a ride anywhere. I declined, but decided that if kiddo was going to scream and make us the center of attention anyway, she'd have to do it as we made our way home.

I let her sniffle and protest while walking by my side -- we walked at a snail's pace -- for a little bit. Still, as soon as we got to a street I considered too dangerous for her to walk (especially since she still refused to hold my hand), I muscled her into the stroller and buckled her in.

She screamed. There were more high-pitched cries of "Mommy!" and "Noooo!" echoing off the walls of every house we passed on the way home. Even when we made it through our front door, she was still upset, and flopped on the floor, crying. Nearly 10 minutes later, spent, she came to me and held up her arms for me to pick her up.

Battle over, until next time.

The terrible twos end at some point, right? Please tell me they end.

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