Photo: Susie Allison
The following is an excerpt from a new book by the Busy Toddler blogger, former teacher, and early childhood development expert Susie Allison. Busy Toddler's Guide to Actual Parenting: From their first "No" to their first day of school (and everything in between) comes out on September 22. Reprinted by permission of The Innovation Press (copyright 2020 Susie Allison).
Say it out loud. It’ll make you smile.
Being two is fine.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel so fine, but when you really peel back the onion layers on being two... it’s fine.
It’s fine if they want to wear the blue jacket, not the pink one.
It’s fine if they want the ruby red slippers, not the sneakers.
It’s fine if they only eat sandwiches cut into triangles and one day decide to switch to squares, but not tell you until you’ve already made your first slice. It’s fine.
Friends, if you remember just one thing I say (or write), it’s that being two is fine.
Two-year-olds are amazing. They are emotional. They are unpredictable. They have less life experience than some of the condiments in my refrigerator—and that perspective is easy to lose when they’re on the floor in a screaming heap.
Back when my youngest was just about to turn two, things were getting all sorts of fine for us. His opinions needed to be heard... loudly. (I type with a smile on my face.)
Having weathered the toddler storm twice before, I knew what was coming—what had worked in the past, what I’d do differently, and what I wanted toddlerhood to feel like this time around. I wanted it to feel fine, and I wanted to acknowledge that these toddler moments are good and normal and fine. Being two is fine.
There’s a frustration we all feel when raising a two-year-old. You are not alone in feeling this way and neither is your child. You are a good parent and all those frustrating moments are not a reflection of you or even them. Two-year-olds aren’t bad kids. In a world that tells us they are terrible, let’s flip the script and instead say with confidence, “being two is fine!”
No matter what they throw at us (literally or figuratively), remember they’re only TWO. They’ve been alive for TWO YEARS (or use the number that’s right for your child, because trust me, #being4isfine too). Two years isn’t even a substantial percentage of YOUR life, and yet think of all we ask of them and expect of them. It’s really easy to forget just how young and new they are.
We need to do a better job of shrugging things off, having a laugh, seeing the beauty, taking a breath, and remembering that being two is not a direct attack on us or a targeted attempt to play mind games. They truly aren’t doing this on purpose.
Stop and smile. Stop and acknowledge. Stop and think about what it must be like to start out in the world. We put a lot on the shoulders of these young kids and we expect a lot from them.
Being two is complicated, amazing, terrifying, exhilarating, hard, and fine. Being two is fine.