excerpt from an email i just sent my sister-in-law

Some detailed things that are frustrating me. They may paint a clearer picture of what Clark is like now, in his final month of being a two year old:

* He is incredibly destructive and has broken almost everything I own.

* He is totally in la-la land (ignoring mom land) when I take him in
public. He often lays down on the ground and ignores me and then
goes limp when I try to remove him from the ground or the paper
towel display or whatever. (He weighs like 39 pounds. That's a lot of limp

* He takes his shoes and socks off in public. And in the car. And
in the house as we are walking out of the door. It was 25
degrees here today. Shoes are kind of important. He doesn't care
at all if he gets in trouble; he WILL do it again the next time.

* He often tells me to "stop talking" or "stop saying that" when he
is annoyed with me. After getting the "you don't talk to your
mother that way, you need to act like the good boy I know you
really are and listen up" he points me in the face and in his
meanest voice whispers, "say it quietly".

* He makes up clever lies/explanations for his behavior.

Today's Example 1: Luke told him like eight times not to stand in front of the TV and when he went back and did it the ninth time (obviously just because he was told not to and wanted to see what would happen) he was given some line about being disobedient and he said, "Dad I have to stand here because your video game is too quiet, and when I stand here I can hear it really well."

(The TV is not quiet at all.)

Today's Example 2: This morning we left the grocery store and he immediately threw himself down on the pavement (see above bullet point about laying on the ground in public).

I blurted out, "WHY ARE YOU LAYING DOWN IN THE PARKING LOT THIS IS SO DANGEROUS! CARS! DANGER! OH MY GOSH STAND UP NEVER DO THIS AGAIN!", and he stood up and very calmly replied, "The wind blew me over."

(It was not windy.)

Today's Example 3: He just took off his nice fleece Christmas pajamas and pull-up for the fourth time and when out of frustration Luke said, "WHYyyyy! NOOOOO! WHY DID HE GET NAKED AGAIN???" Clark (again, calmly) said, "I wanted to slide like a penguin with my bare tummy." Then he sang a little song that went, "slide over here, slide over there!" while sliding across the coffee table.


He stayed up until almost 11 tonight, taking off his pajamas and charming us out of time-outs by making up penguin songs. I finally quit putting the nice fleece Christmas pajamas back on him and instead dressed him in a Star Wars t-shirt and some silky athletic shorts and he was happy to keep them on, though he complained of being cold. This post should also serve as an explanation for why I've been slow with my posts and why I haven't read any blogs all week. I haven't showered either, so don't take it personally.


  1. I feel for you, I think it must be a boy thing. My brother is two years younger than me and I can just remember when he was 2-3 my mum being so stressed everywhere we went, as he had to touch EVERYTHING, was always on the go being really naughty drawing on the walls, biting me, climbing everything even in public. I think the one of the worst places was the hairdressers. He was as bright and cheeky as hell though which meant he'd always try and charm his way out of trouble.

    My mum always said she'd try and find some outlet for his destructive behaviour (like get him to tear up some cardboard boxes), my daughter is 11 months old and has been throwing wicked temper tantrums since she was 9 months so I think I will soon be going down the same path. Do you have any "tumble tots" groups or soft play areas you can wear him out at?

  2. Oh. my. Two is tough. I'm only at the beginning, but I can see myself at the end being ready to pull out my hair. Levi has started the "stop it" thing. He screams it at the top of his lungs. "Just STOP it!" This is said over everything even as a response to simple stuff like "would you like some breakfast?" It drives my nuts. I started out telling him that it's not nice to talk to mommy that way. I gave up. For the most part, I just ignore it now.
    He throws major, horrible, awful tantrums (as in shopping is hell. I do most of it online now. Have you heard of Alice.com. It's saved my sanity). And, the tantrums frequently involve hitting and kicking...and it's always me who gets hit and kicked.
    I'd love to be able to give you some sure fire fixes, but I think it's actually all really normal and dreadfully necessary for many kiddos. For the most part, when the behavior is at it's worst, I try to ignore it. I save arguing for the super important stuff (as in life threatening or hurting others). And, when it comes to that, I don't argue, I just pull him out of the situation and tell him that's not okay. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder where my sweet baby went. But, then he's so darn funny now...and despite all the two year old stuff, he can be incredibly sweet. And, if the day is really, really rotten, I just hold out for evening, because, oh. my. does he look angelic when he sleeps.

  3. Oh, girl. Yesterday on the way to Culver's, Luke took off his shoes and socks, and all I could think was, What are the drive-thru people going to think of me, getting my shoeless kid ice cream while it snows!? And Luke puled the limp on the ground thing at the ped once when I had Tommy in the sling. I could've killed him.
    So what I'm saying is... you're not alone, you're not a bad mom.

  4. It's definitely not just a boy thing, because I have been dealing with each of those things with my daughter. She's absolutely a pro at the limp thing, always saving it for the most dangerous places when I'm carrying the baby already. She's just kicked up the terror a notch in the last few weeks and, as terrible as I feel to admit it, I've been pawning her off on the grandparents at every opportunity. It's nice to just breathe for five minutes without hearing something crash or run interference. I just keep telling myself that this will end and I'll be left wondering where my little toddler went.

  5. I hear all of that. The "I'm boneless" spaghetti leg thing in parking lots makes me want to drop kick my darling boy.

    My friend Tina is a child dev. expert and she said this about the pre-school age lying thing:

    "Most kids tell fibs at this age. In fact, lying is developmentally normal and is actually evidence of a developing conscience and moral code. He knows what he’s done is wrong, so he lies to avoid being bad or to avoid getting in trouble or losing your approval."

    This information makes me feel less like I'm raising a career criminal, but of course it's too soon to tell...

  6. I totally feel ya, having a 2 year old boy myself! Hang in there, and TRY to cherish the good moments. He'll be grown up before you know it. I try to remind myself of this every day... :)

  7. Oh lady, you are entering THREE.

    You know how they say "terrible twos." I don't really get that. I mean there were annoying things going on in the second year for Miles, but THREE??? OH MY THREE!!!

    Then all my friends with older kids started explaining it to me and it felt better just knowing that I wasn't just exaggerating. It really is that awful.

    Isn't this uplifting?

    Anyway, something that really helped me was a book. Now, I'm not a big parenting book reader, but these are simply developmental books, telling you what happens and why in the third year. Can't think of authors, but it's called "your three year old" (there's one for each year)

    It sounds like you have quite a bright boy on your hands, which can make this even trickier.

    I hope I don't sound like a know it all. I really don't know much. But your Clark sounds exactly like my Miles, so I know...it's hard work!

  8. He's special in every way. It WILL get easier.

    (I might just be saying this to myself.)


  9. oh me oh my... my little andrew was such a sweetheart at age two. however, he is making up for having missed out on being "terrible at two" and is now "treacherous at three". believe me, i am feeling your pain but in a much larger way (at least, kid-size wise).

    not that there aren't completely wonderful, cuddly, huggable, charming moments, too. my andrew is a charmer just like your clark.

    one thing that i found worked really well (though it was hard to have to wait until my husband was home before going out) was not allowing him to come along with me and his big brother and little sister on shopping trips for a while due to his poor behavior during them. He had about a six month period (how on earth did I survive this???) where he began to run away from me in every store and parking lot from the bank to the post office to the grocery store to target to...you get the picture...often saying "don't talk to me!" or growling at people, all of which sent me into teeth grinding fits mixed of worry and fury and utter mortification...

    this no outings business was not easy on his father (ha ha ha), but it sure as heck resonated with andrew eventually, and he began to beg to come to the store with promises of "i will be only your sweetheart and not a wild thing, mommy". It was always so hard to leave him at home because he would cry so sadly and convincingly, but it really worked! at least, for the most part. we have had to do a couple more "andrew stays at home" days, but i will gladly suffer through those over utter mortification and ulcer inducing moments on a regular basis. We also deal with him getting naked and taking off his shoes on a regular basis. UG. I am thankful that he hasn't thought to lay down in the middle of the parking lot... yet...

    Erin, as much as this will probably not comfort you much if at all, remember that this too shall pass. Continue to discipline, all, of course, while exercising extreme patience and ongoing love and mercy and forgiveness.

    God bless you, sweet mama. And thanks so much for the reminder that I am not alone!

  10. I don't have children. And sometimes that makes me sad. And sometimes I hear the stories that other people tell, and I think maybe it's okay that I don't have kids. God bless the mamas!! Your job is the hardest and most important of all.

  11. This age is so so so so so trying. Seriously. Fynn just turned three, and even today my husband and I just looked at each other a good six times after he did something for the umpteenth time when we told him not to, just because he couldn't help himself. He had to give the Christmas tree one last hug because it was lonely.
    They are more clever than I ever would have thought. Not to our benefit ;) Hang in there!

  12. oh god. hang in there! my three year old is STILL taking off his socks (the others stopped at age 4). see you at cupcake!

  13. yes, it is all very very VERY normal. i remember this age well from my own children, and now i get to relive it all again at work... i have 9 2-3 year olds in my class that ALL do the spineless jelly-leg thing, don't make eye contact, smile after biting other children, pull worms apart and then cry, lie about everything, love "helping" me do things i don't need help doing, and refuse to help in age-appropriate activities like cleaning up the 300 blocks they just poured onto the floor, simply to watch them spill. as soon as i think i'm spending 4 hours a day with future sociopaths, they do something unbelievably adorable... like sing a penguin song. and no, it's not just a boy thing. girls have their version of this shit too. it may be worse than the boy version actually, but i'll let you discover it as alice enters her second year.