I’ve uttered the words “terrible twos” with a shrug and a knowing look several times over the last year, and I honestly thought this phase in my lovely little daughter’s life would involve the odd tantrum here and there. Once again Freya has reminded me just how little I know, and how tough being a mum can be. Because when it really happened there was nothing knowing about me. The real terrible twos happened over night and her usual easy-going nature turned to perma-frustration, uber-bewilderment and endless-tears. With me mirroring these emotions in no time at all. The morning she threw her cereal bowl off the table because she didn’t have her favourite spoon, went into meltdown because I advised her wellies on a blazing hot day might not be very comfortable, then slapped me in the face because I also thought her snowsuit might not be a great idea…we both lay on the floor crying together. I found myself really questioning my parenting skills and panicking I had done something wrong to make my daughter this way. It felt as though every single thing we tried to do had become a battle. My boss had gone from being lovely to making my life hell overnight. I turned to Jo Frost Confident Toddler Care: The Ultimate Guide To The Toddler Years. I turned to the internet. And I turned to my mum.
Of course, every child is different but with Freya I quickly learnt that I had to be strong, calm and in control. By raising my voice alongside her I simply elevated the tension to another level, by panicking I panicked her – she needed to know I was in control, and by backing-down I merely put the problem away to rear it’s head another day (hour/minute/second). Instead I found it really helped to calmly ask Freya how she was feeling, patiently wait for her screams to subside, give her a cuddle and talk her through the situation. If she raised her hand to me or shouted at me I would give her two minutes on her thinking chair, keeping on returning her to the chair every time she got up. Eventually she would stay, calm down and say sorry. I found some really great advice in Jo Frost’s book as well as lots of great parenting blogs, and what really helped most was the knowledge that Freya and I weren’t alone, that this stage is normal and that it wouldn’t last forever! We are still having moments of madness, but on the whole I have my lovely little girl back. Here’s some of the amazing advice I found which really helped me cope…Thank you!