The person who coined the term "terrible twos" was on crack. Or not very bright. Or just didn't know the age of their own child. For us, the twos were really quite terrific. Elise was a wonderful child; all sweetness and light. I figured if this is as terrible as the twos get, I have it made!
And then as we inched ever closer to her third birthday, we noticed a change. She started talking back. Saying "NO!" when we asked her to do something. She would roll her eyes, and stomp her feet at us. She was sassy, and not in a good way. What happened to my sweet little girl?
Then last night, I snapped. Fred was reading her a bedtime story, but was so tired he kept falling asleep as he was reading. Finally he told Elise that he would finish the story (which was quite long) tomorrow. This did not sit well with Elise and she started yelling "NO!" and whining. I went in and explained that Poppa was so tired and she needed to be understanding. Fred even offered to read her a shorter one, to which she yelled, "NO!" again.
So we gave her a choice... no story, or the shorter story. First she wouldn't choose, then she said, "no story." So when we said good night to her, she started crying. I told her that she had made her choice, and if she didn't settle down, all her toys, books, and stuffed animals were coming out of her room. Her reply? "Take my toys."
I told her to think carefully, because if she continued with this attitude, I would take ALL her toys away, and she would have nothing left to play with. Her response again was, "I want to you take my toys!" Followed by more screaming. She should know better than to dare me.
So I took a laundry basket and took everything out of her room, all the while she was shrieking (think tornado siren loud). Then I went downstairs to take care of the rest of her stuff. Because it was 10:30 at night (and I'm a bit crazy), instead of carting all her toys out to the garage, I took packing tape, and taped off the area where all her toys were. Sort of like a crime scene. Greatness.
Her behavior last night isn't the worst example of how she can be, but it was the final straw. Fred and I are not the strictest parents in the world, but we do demand a certain level of respect, politeness, and obedience from our offspring. We have talked to her about acceptable behavior, and when everything is going her way, she is very agreeable. It's when things do not go her way that she turns into a whirling dervish of toddler angst.
So we have taken away what she holds dear... her "stuff". She understands that the only way to get it back it to earn it back with good behavior. So far it's going pretty well today. Except for one set-back where she lost the toy that she had earned back AND went to sit in time out.
It's cool... Rome wasn't built in a day. We'll do this one stuffed animal and puzzle at a time.
1 week ago