Firstly, can I say that who ever coined the phrase 'terrible twos' obviously had one that was so terrible that it never made it to three. After sailing through the twos with minimal backwash, I was rudely awakened by something nearing a head injury by the time three loomed.
Freud would say the short one is in the anal stage; Piaget would consider her preoperational; Erikson would declare a conflict between autonomy versus shame and doubt. Me…well, I would just say she is confused.
The confusion stage appears to be emanating from a lack of clarity around who is actually in charge. Clearly in my confused state of mind, I am under the misunderstanding that I am in charge. And just as clearly, she is under another misunderstanding that by the time one reaches the ripe old age of three that she is.
I have had to consider some strategies lately to try and survive this battle of wits.
Here are the top 5 toddler diffusers:
1. Choices – limited to two. Just make sure that you are happy with your short one doing either choice. Gives them a sense of control, while you are in fact retaining it all. Gotta love that gig!
2. Appeal to their ego – being that this age is egocentric you can’t go wrong here.
3. Humour – someone once said that the precursor of the mirror is the mother’s face so…mirror their behaviour. Make them see how ridiculous they look thrashing around on the ground, screaming ‘I hate you, you’re mean.’ Perhaps not a recommended strategy in the middle of the small goods section in Coles, unless of course you have no shame.
4. Try reasoning with a literal being – this is always cause for a good laugh and instant diffusion. Explaining potential consequences for one’s actions to a child who is developmentally unable to infer usually results in further confusion; but an entertaining conversation nonetheless.
5. And if all else fails - become your own mother…hear yourself saying those expressions you swore you would never say…
a. Just wait until your father gets home or
b. Do that again and I’ll (insert own preferred consequence)
The short one said to me just the other day, ‘Mummy, my eyes keep leaking.’ And she’s right. We have probably had our fair share of crying lately attributed to holiday season tiredness, frustration, excitement, disappointment and anticipation.
So the next time you find your face springing a leak, grab that repair kit and give them a big hug.
Happy New Year xx