By Kathy P. Behan
I’ve had it. I just don’t understand why God created two-year-olds. Couldn’t S/HE just work it so one-year-olds go directly to age three? I really don’t think I can hack the terrible twos for much longer — and Taryn only turned 2 seven weeks ago!
The problem essentially is how to get a completely irrational, hyperactive and perverse person (Ms. T) to do anything that I want her to. Sit down (“No!”). Come here (“No!”). Time to eat (“No!”). Time to get dressed (“No!”). See the pattern?
Along with our “cooperation” struggle, I’m also striving to keep her from destroying our house. For instance, she’s magnetically attracted to all fragile and glass objects, particularly the ones that have the most sentimental or monetary value. I’ve “childproofed” our house, so almost all our valuables are at least six feet off the ground (which is another of my complaints. I can’t wait till our house is normal again and everything back where it should be). But when she does manage to get her hands on one, she submits it to a variety of tests. The shake-it-till-it-breaks, the roll-it-on-the-carpet, or what I’ve come to call, the “bounce” test (it doesn’t; but she doesn’t seem even the slightest bit disappointed by this fact).
Taryn also seems to be on a relentless quest to create chaos out of order. She hones in on recently made beds, just put away toys and neatly stacked books. She seems to take it as a personal affront if she’s not allowed to rearrange a neat and tidy room. Speaking of messes, Taryn doesn’t believe in diapers, which is a big problem since she’s not toilet trained yet.
Another area of contention is safety. Not surprisingly, I’m for it and she’s against it. Therefore, I’m saddled with the overwhelming task of trying to keep her from getting hurt. Since she’s a recent graduate of the kamikaze school of toddlerhood, this isn’t easy. She’s not the least bit fazed by the prospect of fire, electric shock or traffic hazards, and seems to enjoy living life on the edge.
I, on the other hand, would much prefer life to be calmer and more orderly. Instead, I spend my day tracking — and trying to contain — my whirling diva of destruction, along with my other responsibilities. Sometimes this combination stretches my limit of frustration.
Take yesterday, for example. Brendan had a half-hour swimming lesson, and “all” I had to do was entertain Taryn. I came equipped, schlepping crayons, coloring books, her favorite picture books and a few toys. Would this keep her occupied? Hardly. She decided to forgo coloring, and the other diversions I had planned for her, in favor of joining the aerobics class that was in session.
After repeatedly hauling her off the exercise floor despite her screaming objections, the swimming lesson mercifully ended. All that was left was to give Brendan a hot shower before heading home. While getting the water ready, I caught a glimpse of Taryn heading into a bathroom stall. She managed to lock the door before I could reach her.
The next sounds struck terror in my heart — the sound of diaper tabs being opened. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to coax this perverse child out of that blasted stall. I never could get her to open it. Poor buck-naked and freshly-cleaned Brendan had to slither under the door and unlock it.
But this wasn’t the end of our ordeal. After re-fastening Taryn’s diaper, and readjusting her pants, I turned my attention to Brendan. In the short time it took to lay out his clothes, Taryn disappeared inside one of the lockers (luckily, this club must be quite familiar with two year olds; the lockers were very well ventilated). The fact that there were easily 200 lockers in the locker room, and that she chose to be quiet for one of the only sustained periods in her life, made finding her no easy feat.
On the plus side, Taryn is awfully cute. And sometimes she actually does listen to me. It’s good to be curious and active. I just hope I’ll be able to make it through the next 45 weeks. That’s how long it’ll be before Taryn turns three.
Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.