7 Reasons To Love The Terrible Twos

little-boy-with-red-hairImage via Shutterstock

You know that one friend that gets too drunk all the time? As the night goes on they get louder and louder. They stammer and stumble. They’ll pick a fight with anyone and cry over anything. They occasionally pee themselves. This is exactly what having a toddler is like.

Except that toddlers are also adorable. Their cuteness far exceeds their terribleness. It has to — this is evolution’s way of making sure that when they’re screaming on the floor in the middle of Target, we don’t just leave them there. In case you need reminding at the moment, here are seven reasons to love the terrible twos…

1. Their enthusiasm is contagious. To watch a kid squeal in delight over the littlest things puts everything else in perspective. Our kid loses her mind over things like bubbles, stickers, balloons, markers and glitter. It’s impossible not to get swept up in the moment and be excited right along with them. (Side note: This is also what makes holidays with toddlers the BEST.)

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2. Ain’t no party like a toddler party cuz a toddler party don’t stop. If left to their own devices, toddlers would only sleep after collapsing into some type of carb-induced coma. Turns out their nonstop energy also makes them the best dance/exercise/play/cleaning/cooking partners ever.

3. They genuinely WANT to help out. Ours helps with things like dishes, laundry, putting things away, and sorting. She seriously loves it. I hear that children eventually outgrown this desire to help so I plan to exploit, er, cultivate it while I still can.

4. They are great communicators. She can tell me her likes and dislikes. We can trade and make deals. She totally takes a bribe. I am counting the days until her six-month-old brother masters these skills.

5. They are still so small. Tiny clothes! Not to mention all the tiny hats and accessories. It’s cuteness overload pretty much all of the time.

6. Their love makes you melt. Our daughter will come up to me out of the blue to give me a hug and say, “I love you.” I can’t explain in words what this feels like, but it’s amazing. I even caught my husband welling up when it happened to him. He still claims something was in his eye.

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7. They are HILARIOUS. Toddlers want desperately to entertain you. They will sing, dance, make silly faces — whatever it takes to get you laughing. Sometimes they don’t even have to try. Their observations and expanding vocabulary are pretty amusing in their own right.

So yes, toddlers run around like little lushes most the time. But in the blink of an eye they’ll be grown. So take the time to notice and praise the amazing things your toddler does. And when you find them passed out on the floor, elbow-deep in a bag of chips, remember to be grateful that they’re still small enough to carry off to bed.

Related post: 10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two

10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two



1. At two, they can barely talk. At three, they never shut the hell up.

2. At two, they cry. At three, they throw temper tantrums so epic, you become convinced that they are possessed by the devil.

3. At two, they’re happy to eat anything you present to them. At three, they eat only three foods (usually consisting of a starch and processed cheese).

4. At two, baths are a ten-minute event, the result of which is a clean child. At three, baths take over an hour, and result in a drenched bathroom, sopping wet mommy, and 16 used towels.

5. At two, they wear diapers that can be changed on your watch. At three, they’re potty trained and the world revolves around their bladders and bowels.

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6. At two, they are distracted by a box of Gerber Puffs at the grocery store. At three, they want to dictate your entire food list.

7. At two, they let you dress them, looking innocent and adorable. At three, they insist on picking out their clothes, looking like pint sized versions of mental institution inhabitants.

8. At two, they don’t like to get dirty. At three, they thrive on it.

9. At two, you can do things for them, saving infinite amounts of time. At three, they must do everything by themselves, taking FOR-fucking-EVER.

10. At two, manipulation is the last thing on their minds. At three, they own you. And they know it.

10 Comebacks to “Well Meaning” Questions About Potty Training

child-potty-training Image via Shutterstock

Potty training! If you’re yearning for a way to turn your life into an inescapable urine soaked hell, get back on that potty training wagon! (Yes I bet there’s at least one previous potty training failure in your history. How do I know? Because…. um…. no reason.)

Here are some retorts to the well meaning friends, family members, and goddamn strangers on the street that think it is their place to ever-so-gently ask you questions about potty training…

1. My son was trained at 17 months. Really? I was busy teaching my kid Spanish and Mandarin then. And the didgeridoo.

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2. Have you tried no diaper? Have you tried to get feces out of upholstery?

3. When she’s ready, she’s ready. You’re right. And, when she can barter it for a bike and an XBox, she’s ready too.

4. Have you tried a sticker chart? Yes, every time I don’t have a nervous breakdown before noon, I get to pick my favorite princess.

5. Have you heard of elimination communication? Too bad you didn’t try when she was younger. Totally! When my husband gets an oil change for our DeLorean, I’ll just zip back to the moment of her birth and do it all differently.

6. Have you tried M&M’s? Have you seen my ass?

7. Preschool will help with it. Awesome! If you don’t mind my asking, how much extra do you pay for the teachers to come by and clean up pee from your hardwood floor?

8. She’ll just copy her older sister. So funny! That only seems to work for learning the F word.

9. Using Pullups helped my son. He thought it was like underwear. If your kid doesn’t equate a Pullup with a diaper, you must immediately contact Mensa.

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10. It will get better! When you bring over a sponge, some carpet cleaner, and some vodka, it certainly will.

So, when you have your lovely, well meaning, bizarrely potty-training invested relatives over for Thanksgiving, be sure to have these comebacks memorized.

Also, FYI, the smell of a freshly baked pumpkin pie almost covers up the stench of excrement.  So shove that storebought one in the oven and turn it to 350. You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving!

Related post: A Parent’s Prayer for Potty Training in the Digital Age

You Might Have a 3 Year Old If…


You Might Have a 3 Year Old If...

1. You wish that, when God created children, he remembered to install a mute button.

2. The bigger the rush you are in, the more your child walks like he’s wearing cement boots in a vat of molasses.

3. You feel like you’ve become trapped in the movie Memento, as he tells the same story to you time and time again, always with vigor. You’ve tried to perfect the art of inserting “uh huhs” at the right time but you know (and he knows) you’re not quite there.

4. You are forced to listen to pop music ad nauseum, as Katy Perry is his “fravorite” singer.

5. You’ve decided whomever dubbed them the “terrible twos” is either dumb or has never had a three-year-old.

6. Where you once nibbled on his toes and body parts with abandon, you now wish he wore plastic wrap over his whole body. You’ve seen where he puts things, and it isn’t pretty. You hold hands but cringe knowing he considers booger picking an Olympic sport.

7. After a day with him, you find your new mantra is “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

8. Sometimes your only goal for the day is to get him through parking lots without dying. He walks through them like one of the patients who have just escaped catatonia in the movie Awakenings. His mouth is agape and he zigzags like he’s trying to escape an alligator. You only narrowly escape your goal.

9. He will never remember to put his yogurt wrapper in the garbage but will never, EVER forget the ONE time you ran a red light. Let it go, Dude!

10. He’s never tired until … zzzzzzz …

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11. He could care less what you dress him in, which you take advantage of far too often.

12. Put any same-sized human next to him, and they are instantly friends.

13. Finding two matching shoes is more difficult than solving the Pythagorean theorem. Same goes for socks.

14. You do not want to sit too close, as the insults about blemishes, yellow teeth, nose hairs, etc., will crush your soul.

15. Although you could have sworn you just cut them, his toenails will always look like those of Howard Hughes.

16. He’ll eat fruit like it’s crack but any veggies get a “What’s dis?”

17. He’s a major conservationist, as he not only lets the yellow mellow but he also doesn’t flush the brown down.

18. Talk of any vulgar bodily function will send him into a fit of laughter that you think could kill him.

19. He is a terror at home but his preschool teacher and babysitter report he is nothing but an angel. Figures.

20. Despite any of the bad stuff goes with it, you wish so badly you could create a machine that freezes him at this age, as he is bursting with cuteness.

Three is the New Two



“What if he is an asshole forever?” my hubby bemoans as we drive home with a thrashing, screeching three-year-old strapped into the car.

“I’m sure it’s just a phase,” I reassure myself nervously.

This was our first child, so I was not at all sure that this was a phase.  After all, I had no comparison, no guarantee that he wouldn’t always be the raging, angry, menacing, tantruming, spitting, screaming, hateful asshole he had been embodying for the last month.

What had changed in the last month?  What had happened to our sweet baby?  We’d made it through the terrible twos relatively unscathed.  It was supposed to be easy sailing between now and adolescence, right?

The man who coined the term “the terrible twos” must have moved abroad for the entirety of his child’s third year.

Of course my precious boy had had outbursts when he was two, but nothing that had prepared me for what began one week after my boy’s third birthday.

After a rushed mission through Target with my grouchy son strapped into the cart, we stood in a slow moving checkout line.  Leo was growing more and more agitated, wiggling and whining, begging to be let out of what must, to him, have been the equivalent of water boarding.  Mind you, this assumption is based solely on his reaction to confinement in the cart.  I refused his requests as we were almost at the head of the line, but my repeated denials only enraged the little prince further.

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Just as the cashier began to scan our items, the dam containing the rage held within the tiny body of my three-year-old broke wide and a gush of profanity was released.  His adorable little rosebuds lips open and his squeak of a voice screams, “MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER!”

I am literally stunned into silence, awestruck by the filth flowing freely from his miniscule vocal cords.  “MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER! MOTHER FUCKER!”

Holy fuck! Where the hell did he learn that kind of despicable language?  Certainly not from me!  What the shit am I supposed to do about this?  I can’t just ignore it.  Oh, bloody fuck in a fuck hole, everyone is staring.

Pondering what action to take, I am distracted by a howling laugh.  The teenage cashier thinks this situation hilarious.  Did I mention that I am a high school teacher?  Because, I went full out teacher on that kid’s ass: “You think this is funny? You think it’s funny that a three-year-old boy is screaming profanity in a public place in order to manipulate his mother into giving him what he wants? This little boy looks up to you as a big kid, and your laughter only teaches him that this type of behavior is not only acceptable, but encouraged.  Shame on you!”

Granted, this anger may have been slightly misplaced.

The Target incident, as we now refer to it, is topped only by the battle of wills our three-year-old daughter, Cecily, fought with me over the fact that a pair of shoes we’d purchased did not fit.


“I know you do, but they don’t fit. Let’s put on your sparkly pair.”

“NO! NO! I WANT THEM!!!!” she bellows as she thrashes wildly on the floor.  “I WANT THEM!” she screeches between heaving sobs.

This epically ridiculous battle continues for ten minutes as I struggle to shove her sparkle shoes onto her feet, all the while keeping an eye on the clock as I am now going to be late to work.  I foolishly forgot to schedule a 15 minute tantrum buffer.


“Okay, you do it then, but we need to hurry.”


“Then give me the shoes, and I will put them on,” I insist through gritted teeth.


I’ve reached my breaking point.  “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME, CECILY FRANCES. I have to go to work. I have to go,” I attempt to reason with her, in vain.  I shove the shoes onto her kicking feet, repeatedly pummeled by her flailing arms.  I stuff her under my arm (picture, if you will, a writhing, bellowing 28 pound football) and head out the front door.  Keep in mind, it is 6:15 a.m. on a frosty Winter’s morning.  It is pitch black and silent, as the majority of the neighbors are still snuggled cozily into their beds.  At least, they were.

I see the lights next door and those across the street flick on as I wrestle the still shrieking Cecily into my van.  I can only imagine that I must appear to be a kidnapper, struggling to abduct a frantic little victim.  But, no.  I can’t imagine any kidnapper would put up with this behavior.  I am simply trying to get my kid into a pair of shoes and into the damn car.

Embarrassing admission time.  In point of fact, as I write this, Cecily is acting as inspiration.  Ahhhh…my unwelcome little muse.  While jumping on the couch, an activity she has been expressly forbidden to participate in several times, she accidentally kicks her father in the face.  I calmly and firmly order her into the Naughty Spot.

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“NO!” she stubbornly affirms, topping off her insubordination by spitting at me.

I take a deep breath and begin my 1-2-3 Magic training: “One. Go to the Naughty Spot.”

“NO!” she refuses, and showers me further with saliva.

“Two. Go to the Naughty Spot.”

“NO!” she screams, dousing me, once again, with spittle.  My stomach knots as I strain to control my temper.  Holy shit!  If this is what she is like as a three-year-old, what the hell am I in store for when she’s thirteen?

“Three. Move to the Naughty spot or you will be going up to bed now, without story or song.” In her final act of resistance, she gathers a mouthful of loogy and spits forth a raging raspberry.  “Ok. Take her up to bed,” I demand of my hubby.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t want to go to bed. I want a different mommy. You are NOT NICE!”  she hurls her most injurious insult at me.  The next twenty minutes are a raging storm of high pitched screams and a torrent of tears, but she is finally cajoled into her bed.

The only cure I know for this hideous behavior? A fourth birthday.

My little princess turns four at the end of December and, this year, it isn’t Christmas that can’t come soon enough.