20 Reasons My Two Year Old Had a Hard Day

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two-year-old-pouting Image via Shutterstock

My two-year-old said, with a mischievous look in his eye, “Mommy. I had a hard day.”

I turned to his older brother and said, “Did he just say what I think he did?” He shrugged. Five-year-old brothers tend to not care what two-year-old brothers are saying.

So, I asked, “Did you just say you’ve had a hard day!?” He smiled his coy little smile and replied, “Yeah” as he continued to twirl in circles for some unknown reason that was making me slightly queasy just watching him.

I didn’t know whether to be horrified that he’s obviously heard this sentence one too many times, laugh at his cuteness in saying something so grown up, or be worried that I’m coddling him too much and therefore, he already thinks his life is rough. At the ripe old age of two years old.

Instead, I gave it a little thought, because having three kids makes me pensive when it’s not making me yell-y, and thought to myself, “Hmm. Maybe life was hard for this kid today.”

After all, I could think of several reasons that, in his mind, life was extra tough that day:

1. He had to get out of bed at 9 am after sleeping for a short 14 hours straight.

2. I wouldn’t let him eat potato chips for breakfast.

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3. I dared to tell him his pacifier was just for bed time and took it away so he could eat a real breakfast which he changed his mind about ten times. Nothing must have sounded good to him since the potato chips were off limits.

4. I dressed him, so of course that always makes my day a little tougher.

5. He was forced to drink out of the yellow cup at lunch instead of the blue one.

6. I wouldn’t let him squirt his brother in the eye with a water bottle.

7. I wouldn’t let him jump on the picnic table in the backyard.

8. I wouldn’t let him wrap the cord to the blinds around his neck.

9. I wouldn’t let him play with a knife.

10. Basically, I prevented him from his various attempts at taking his own life.

11. I changed his diaper when he was stinky.

12. I made him wear shoes to go play outside when it was a whopping, scald-your-bare-feet-on-the-pavement, degrees outside.

13. I buckled him into his car seat.

14. I mistakenly put his blanket on him the wrong way at nap time.

15. I didn’t hold him for 25 minutes after his nap giving him time to wake up and be happy again. After all, he only napped for two hours after his short 14 hours of sleep the night before.

16. I made him eat pasta for dinner that had tiny flecks of something green in it, therefore making it so obviously inedible.

17. I told him hitting his brother in the head with whatever object was in his hand at the time was not okay. (Repeat 10 times)

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18. I held his hand while going down some stairs.

19. I attempted to actually brush his teeth instead of letting him suck on the toothbrush for 10 minutes.

20. I told him to be quiet and go to sleep.

After looking back, I realized that life was so very hard for him that day. Hopefully I can live up to his expectations tomorrow. But, I seriously have my doubts.

Related post: 5 Perfectly Understandable Reasons For Toddler Tantrums

Comments

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  1. Serena says

    How about ASKING him why he had a hard day? Sometimes young children can give answers that force us to see things in their perspective and in his mind some things might be hard. Perhaps he might give an answer that he may not get to do the things he sees big brother doing. Or maybe he is frustrated on a playground conflict and cannot express his feelings through words exactly yet.

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    • Dara says

      I just took your advice and asked my 2 year old why they were so upset. She threw a spoon at me and started biting her stuffed bear. Clearly 2 year olds are masters at verbal communication.

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    • Mom of 3 says

      LOLOLOLOLOL
      if I asked my 2 1/2 year old why he had a bad day the answer would NOT be, “so and so bothered me on the playground.” He gets over that in 2 seconds. It would be, you didn’t give me the right color vitamin this morning; or I wanted Oreos not chocolate chip cookies.
      Ask them–hysterical.

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    • Cindy says

      Most likely he only said it because he heard someone else say it, and has no idea what it really means. It would do no good to ask him why he had a hard day. But you can certainly try. Meanwhile I’ll have a conversation with my six year old about taxes being so high. (He, out of the blue, once said “You know, taxes are just too high.”)

      I agreed. He nodded wisely. We felt we had a very civil conversation.

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    • Oh WOW says

      Endorsing a two year old’s irrational feelings is a damned good way to build a three year old brat. We don’t negotiate with terrorists. If you have, or plan to have, children, you damned well better grow a sense of humor!

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    • Nicole says

      After reading this this morning, I asked my daughter why she was upset, despite knowing it was because she had fed the rest of her cereal to the dog, and she threw her empty bowl at me before ripping off her diaper and running through the house peeing on the floor. Glad I opened up that line of communication

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    • Cecilia says

      I asked my 3 year old this question and he said “Yellow peaches!” (I gathered he wants yellow peaches, but that didn’t answer my question. 😓) I think 2 is a bit too early for serious conversations.

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    • says

      L M F A O (all over the fucking place because you’ve obviously never asked a 2 year old if they can reason with you/conversate over their “hard” day because that never works). I’ve had a 2 year old of my own AND worked with 2 year olds. You cannot ask them if they had a hard day and expect something older children or adult-like to come out of their mouths.

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    • Trish says

      Snort! My two year old was never more upset than the day he realized he had to wear a raincoat in a rain storm. And to add insult to injury, he couldn’t bend his arm in a manner that would allow him to smell his own elbow. The tantrum was epic. But having a deep and meaningful conversation about his feelings sounds totally possible. Thanks for the advice, Miss Nokids.

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    • Katie says

      I’ve been having conversations with my 3 year old for well over a year now. When she says something like that I love asking her why. Her answers are what I call “toddler logic” and very much like this list (which I found to be very funny!) but we do in fact have conversations about how she feels. All toddlers are different and on different levels, so that may not work with all of them, but why are so many parents shaming each other for suggesting communication with your child???

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      • says

        All toddlers are different, you’re 100% right about that. But it seems like a lot of us have kids who aren’t interested in explaining their day in depth like a 5 year old could. There’s a difference between even 2 and 3 years old, even. I’ve asked my daughter how her day went after my long day at classes when I was in college and the first thing she said to me? Mama, cookies. That’s it. LOL

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      • Destinee says

        The best answer I’ve ever gotten from my two year old was to the question “Why are you crying?’ His answer: “Bopper (brother) hit me!” Pretty on the nose answer. However, when his brother was 2, if I’d asked him, I would have gotten something flung at me in response. Children are all different; it’s pointless to have an in depth conversation with a toddler because they don’t (usually) have the skills for it. However, if your child can truly speak (and as the parent of an autistic child who is verbal but cannot truly communicate, let me just tell you, there’s a world of difference between being verbal and being able to communicate), it doesn’t hurt to ask something along the lines of “Why are you upset?” In the instance described in the article, though, it probably wouldn’t do much good-“having a hard day” is too general a term for a two year old to follow (usually).
        That said, I did get a kick out of the article-just my two cents to add in on what the other commenters so far have said. I think Katie has it right, though.

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        • DC says

          I had a non verbal 2 year old and his older brother who was conversant at 1 year old. The 1 year old would have given me some super verbal response that may or may not have had a basis in reality (Because I prayed for super powers and didn’t get them) but his brother at 2 would have certainly thrown something at me then glared. Of course, he wouldn’t have told me had a bad day either … so there’s that.

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      • Karissa says

        I agree with Katie, my husband and I have been having conversations with our now 3 yo for a year or so and I love finding out why they say something that they have heard us say before. Often it is “toddler” logic; however sometimes it is fun just getting into their minds for one second.

        I love the satire of this blog; however unfortunately not digging the harsh comments.

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      • suzanne says

        I agree. Although I do love reading the comments. Always funny. my daughter is almost four and has spoken clearly and well since about 1.5. So with her I can ask and get a more logical (for her age) answer where with her cousin who are 3 and 5 I have to ask small things or sometimes just smile and nod.

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      • Mila says

        I agree with you. Just because some people’s kids are not able to express what they think doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t try asking. They both might actually learn something from the experience. Have a little more faith people – even if the answers make you laugh. My 2 year old responded “I just feel sad, can we go back to the beach?” which I thought was a quite reasonable and appropriate response.

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        • bob says

          Exactly. ask and parents must be open to the full family picture I am reluctant to say here. kids don’t live in a bubble and frequently if not always theyre response and reactions although on the surface appear mysterious reflect how they feel in total.

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    • says

      I asked my 2 year old if he had a bad day. He looked at me like a 2 year old would, and demanded chocolate for lunch. That’s being 2 for you. And for people asking what’s ‘wrong’ with communicating with a 2 year old – nothing at all. But don’t expect a well-thought logical answer. Because they’re TWO. Sometimes, I can’t even get a straight answer out of my grown man husband.

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    • Autumn says

      I just asked my two yr old why he hit his cousin with his ukulele (which has become a permanent attachment to him for the last 3 weeks) and he threw himself on the floor (never releasing the ukulele) and screamed his head off. Thanks for the advice, I’m so glad I had this conversation with him!!

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    • AvidReader says

      Any time I asked my three year old daughter why she does/says/feels something, she looks at me like I’m brain damaged. Lol. Thanks for the laugh……asking a 2yo why. I’m still cracking up.

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    • KMH says

      First of all, I think the article was hilarious and relatable.
      But, secondly, I’m a little dumbfounded by the responses to this comment. When my son was 2 (last year), he was fully capable of telling me why he was in a bad mood (“Because I’m hungry.” “I’m just sleepy.” “Because ______ happened.” Etc.)

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      • Kylie says

        Mine is 14 months. While she can’t tell me what is wrong, she can nod and shake her head correctly. Do your teeth hurt? Nod would you like some medicine? Nod. Are you tired? Nod. Are you hungry? Nod. Ect ect. I’m pretty sure a two year old understands more than you think he may just not vocalize it like you would.

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      • bob says

        well I understand what you’re saying but you know even as adults we say we want an answer when in fact we don’t really want one and perhaps, is it possible, kids pick up you don’t really wan the truth?

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    • Jody says

      Yeah, I found it humorous, but I also wondered why the author didn’t try to find out what about his day was hard. (Seriously you can’t let him drink out of the cup he prefers? If you really think it’s not a big deal and he does, give him the color he prefers.) I do have children, they were both once 2 years old, and they were never as unreasonable as this article suggests.

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      • Maya says

        The cup thing… If he is like my son, he could ask for the yellow cup. After I have poured the drink, he will say he wants a different cup. And I am not going to keep changing cups at his whims.

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      • Jordan says

        Yes, let’s teach our 2 year olds that they can have whatever they want. It starts with a colored cup, Then when they know they can have that, it’s a candy at the store, or a new toy. Once in a while, yes, let them have the color they’d like, but you let your 2 year old tell you what to do once, your 22 year old will end up in jail because they robbed a store “because they wanted the store to give them the money he wanted”. It may sound extreme, but a 2 year old is not capable of making mindful choices.

        I found the article hilarious, as my two year old, lives that life daily. Scary Mommy is intendid for people with a sense of humor. And those that can keep their panties out of wads.

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      • bob says

        hey my daughters 14 she still prefers the yellow plate. you know what? in my revolutionary child-rearing thinking I actually give her the yellow plate! I know how she feels because I prefer the blue one but I don’t tell her because she’ll just say im weird.

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    • dreen says

      You must be taking early childhood development class. Text books do not apply to the real world. Obviously you do not have children and when you do boy are you in for rude awekening!

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    • Silly says

      Did you just land on planet earth? If he can’t express his feelings through words then what’s the point in asking him? Haha That sounds as silly as the person who thinks who can reason with a two year old. We require a sense of humor on earth.

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    • Sara says

      Neither of my children could speak at 2. One was at 3, and the other finally spoke just to me at 3.5. He only spoke to others, and usually at a whisper, when he was about 5.

      That said, if the kid says he has had a hard day, I don’t care what it looks like from the adult viewpoint, the child should be made to feel their opinion matters. If they feel they had a hard day, they deserve to feel they had a hard day. If they are shut down when expressing their feelings that young, it will only get easier for them not to share as they get older.

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    • Juile says

      I think that wasn’t the point of the whole article. It was completely meant to be satire. Maybe she did ask him why he thought it was a hard day but that wasn’t the point of her article. Her point was how hard HER day was dealing with all the crap that a 2 year old can dish out. But, I agree, people are being hard on the first comment.

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    • says

      Well, I always get a slap in the face when I ask… So these days (if I’m wise enough) I stay away from his arm’s length when I ask. So I kinda think he thinks it’s a stupid question…if not why do I always get slapped? Ask him…really?!!

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    • mae rome says

      I agree that there is satire in the article, and I agree you’re not going to get a logical response from most 2 year olds. Keep in mind though, a tough day is a sliding scale, meaning a 2 year olds bad day ( based on his experience) could equal a pretty stressful day in the parents life. His scale is limited, and variations from normal experiences can be very stressful. To me the article borders on sarcasm, sort of a ” how hard could your life really be” scenario. If you held him for 25 minutes after his naps on a regular basis don’t punish him for expecting this. Grow up, when you have children it’s not about you anymore. Children are people, they have their own feelings, and they repeat things that you say so if you don’t want to hear that his day was tough, then don’t complain that your day was tough.

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    • Joie says

      If I were to ask my 2 year old anything he starts screaming about Thomas the Train and his friends. You can’t ask a child that age for a straight answer. You won’t get it.

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    • Mel says

      Wow, reading these comments I feel like I’ve been doing everything wrong. I’ve been asking my two year old about her feelings since she started speaking. I don’t always get a rational answer (sometimes a scream) but I didn’t know it was so stupid to ask at all. She asks me about my feelings…

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      • mlitz says

        I regularly ask my two year old why she does things. She thinks anger and sadness are the same thing for now. Asking hurts nothing. Expecting answers is a life long misadventure. At least with two year olds it’s a fun trip.

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    • Angela says

      I have been speaking to my child like he was an adult from about 10 months on. He didn’t start speaking at all until about 18 months, but when he did he went from baby babbling to full on sentences pretty quickly. Sometime between 2 and 3, he learned to express feelings and to recognize them in others. He has seen me cry a few times and had the wherewithal to ask me why I was upset. Now, I know this isn’t typical of most children his age, but unless they’re taught, they’re not going to learn to express feelings in appropriate ways. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe you’ll get a completely ridiculous response, but I don’t think the suggestion of asking is a bad one.

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      • bob says

        yes did you ever hear of parents teaching their non-verbal kids to sign? wow I never heard of that but that seems pretty fantastic. I view kids, even my 14yo daughter like aliens who don’t know how to handle the world they’ve been thrust into: friends, love, parents, strangers well everything we take for granted and be honest we’re not so great with most of it.

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      • Gemma Cockcroft says

        Or maybe he wanted Weetabix instead of the Coco Pops I gave him for breakfast (That he had asked for originally) and then his heart was broken because when I did finally give in and give him Weetabix, ‘the milk wasn’t working’ (aka not going chocolatey like it does with coco pops)

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    • Rachel says

      I can’t even get my 5 YEAR OLD to tell me a coherent reason as to what’s wrong all the time. I don’t know is usually the answer I get. Serena you are not a parent OR you are and you have amazing children that should be the ones to find the cure for cancer, inexpensive fuel alternative and the next president or something… seriously…

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      • Andrea says

        My 6 year old does the same thing. I ask him why he tried to tun over the 3 year old neighbor kid with his bike and I get an answer of “Because I don’t want the sky to be blue”. WTF?

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      • Jordan says

        My 5 yo will tell me she had a hard day, even if we were just playing Candy Land and eating ice cream 10 minutes before, if the wind blows the wrong way. My 3 year old tells me he had a hard day when he cant watch Netflix all day or gets in trouble. If I ask the 5yo why she had a hard day, her response is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS “It’s just not my day!”. They dont honestly know. Yes their feelings may be valid to them, but that does not make it a legit reason. Are some of you even really parents?! Sounds to me like you have extremely mature infants/toddlers/children…

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