Round two! Our first experience with a two year old was atypical. William was passionate, but very complient and reasonable. George….well, let’s just say we’re cutting our teeth on the whole two year old experience with George. If I could sum up the life of a two year old in one word it would be “no.” Another great word would be “independence.” A great quality! …But one that needs a LOT of guidance. When you are trying to encourage independence and obedience at the same time, it’s a fine line for a two year old. Parents don’t even know where to draw the line sometimes!
Me: Hold Mommy’s hand, George.
George: I will hold THIS hand.
Me: Sit by Mommy, George.
George: I will sit HERE.
Dave and I try to say yes as often as we can so we can save “no” for the important stuff. We want George to thrive on being independent. BUT we are training him to accept help when necessary and also how to ask respectfully if he can do it himself. If he slams the fridge shut because I opened it before him, that needs to be corrected. As soon as your kids can talk, teach them this phrase: “Can I please do it myself?” Kids love to mimic so take advantage of it and teach them how to respond correctly. “Be respectful” doesn’t mean much to a two year old. They need specific, practical tools – word for word instruction. George still doesn’t usually pull this phrase out at the right time, but I’m starting to hear it more often. Usually this is what I hear:
George: I will put on my shoes!
George: I will wash my hands!
George: I will wipe William!!!
Independence, yes. Wiping his three year old brother, no. There are just some things you can’t bend on. Speaking of potty training, two is the age we start thinking about it. George is very verbal for a two year old. Combine that with the delicate task of potty training, and it becomes quite interesting. Right now we are in the denial stage.
William: Mom, George is poopy!
Me: George, did you poop?
George: No. I changed my mind.
Me: George, I know you’re poopy.
George: No. The poops are all dead.
*sigh* If only it were that easy, George.
Recently we took a long road trip with the whole fam.
The three year old could not stop asking questions the whole way. If you have a two year old, you know that they don’t deal in questions – only facts.
George: There is a rhinosaraus behind that tree.
For every thirty of William’s questions, we would get a factual statement like this from George.
He’s a man who knows his mind. If you ask George a direct question, you can be sure you will get a direct answer.
Me: Georgie, what should we name the new baby?
George: No. Bob. Bob the Builder.
Age, birth order – none of that matters to a two year old. If he’s two, he’s the boss. A two year old will wield the word “no” like a club, attempting to destroy every obstable in the way. George thinks he has the exclusive rights to this word.
Me: No, George.
George: Don’t say no.
These conversations never end well for George. But no matter how often he repeats his mistakes, we seek to be consistent in our responses and standards. We want to do right by our beautiful brown-eyed treasure, and that means pointing him to Who really is the Boss – his and ours. It will be a life long process of encouraging him in the right path.