The truth about the terrible two’s



There aren’t many ages in life that come with an adjective to accompany it. There’s no such thing as the ‘silly six’s’, for example, or the ‘excellent eight’s’. But those two’s? Those two’s are certainly known for their terribleness, writes Evelyn Lewin...

But let me tell you something. Come in real close so I can whisper it in your ear: They got it wrong.

You see, while there are moments of sheer terror in living with a two year old (having no fear of heights/consequences/general laws of gravity certainly make for some heart-stopping moments), there are also moments of such insane wonderfulness, it’s unbelievable.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been toddler-ised on more than one occasion. Take bedtimes, for instance. My little one has developed an acute aversion to sleep. She has decided that nights are the perfect time to test out her skills, such as cot-climbing, clothes removal and endless requests.

Just last night as I was putting her down to sleep, things seemed to be going better than usual. There she was, in her cot, cuddling her bunny, well and truly exhausted. “I’ve got this in the bag,” I thought smugly.

Just as a peaceful quiet descended on her room, she realised what was missing. “Want pretty dress!” she screamed.

“No, sweetheart. You’re in your jammies now, it’s bedtime. You can wear your pretty dress tomorrow.”

“NEED pretty dress!” She screamed, jumping up in her cot and glaring daggers.

And so I started trying to rationalise with her, about how she didn’t ‘need’ a dress at bedtime. (On a side note: I know toddlers can’t be rationalised with, and yet, I sometimes can’t help trying). Let’s just say that toddlers can certainly be challenging.

But then there are the moments that are so uniquely ‘toddler’, and that are so utterly glorious, you wonder how you’ll live without them.

Like the sheer joy that fills them when they see someone they love. It’s like they’ve just been given the best news ever.

Such pure delight washes over my little girl and her entire body wiggles with glee every night when her daddy gets home from work. I swear, if you could bottle that feeling, it would sell for a million bucks.

Or, the way toddlers’ little minds think. My little girl loves stuffing bags full of bits and pieces and carrying them around the house. She struts around wearing those bags with such purpose, it kills me.

Then there’s the way toddlers express their feelings; with tears, real, true, devastated tears because there’s no yoghurt left, or because you can’t find their hat.

And you can’t overlook those quiet moments. When you’re down on the ground and just listening to your little one babble to herself, or play with you. The things they say, the way they say them; the unique insight into the tickings of their little brains.

When it’s calm, and it’s just me and my toddler spending time together, I sometimes want to pinch myself over how lovely and surreal it feels to be hanging out with such a wonderful little person. She’s just so raw, so in the moment, so utterly herself.

Yes, the times when you’re toddler-ised are hard. When your little one is stamping her foot and screaming, losing the plot over the most minor issue, like needing to put shoes on. Some moments you could simply tear your hair out in frustration.

But those sweet moments, the true nature of a toddler, the million ways they’re cuter than you could have ever imagined? Turns out the truth about the terrible two’s is that the only thing terrible about them is they won’t last forever.

Words: Evelyn Lewin | Photograph: Julie Adams


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