The "terrible twos" kick off 8 months early... - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The "terrible twos" kick off 8 months early...

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Victor is learning about boundaries – and he doesn't like it. Together, we had kind of a rough weekend. There are a few rules we're enforcing and Victor is not at all happy about it.

Rule #1: No hitting.

Victor has taken to hitting – particularly, hitting me…in the face. Every time he takes a swat at me, I pull back, hold his hands down, growl and firmly say, "NO HIT!" Some of the time, he freezes, then pulls back and goes about some other business. Other times, he'll squirm out and take another swat at me. Every time he hits, he makes a surprised face right after, like he's saying "OMG, did you see what just happened? Can you believe that?" I have to admit, it's cute…but I can't let him see that. Not only has he taken to hitting me with his hands, but he's also started hitting me with his toys. I got a big bump on my nose thanks to a wooden drumstick from a "band in a box" toy. That one was taken away really fast.

Rule #2: No throwing.

Throwing food, throwing toys, throwing books, throwing everything…and not just indiscriminately. Sometimes these are projectiles with purpose. I try to employ the same tactics with throwing as I do with hitting – I take the object being thrown away, hold his arms down, growl and firmly say, "NO THROW!" This almost always results in him finding something new right away and chucking it at me. I try to divert his attention to another activity, but usually that ends up getting hit or thrown.

Rule #3: No biting.

Biting hasn't been a huge problem, but every now and then I'll get a little "chomp" from him. We had more of an issue with "tiny pinching" a few months back than we have with biting. Whenever we'd hold Victor, he'd use his fingernails to pinch just a tiny amount of skin on our necks really hard. He left some pretty good welts back in the day…With the biting though, I'll typically pull his head away from me (hopefully my shriek of "OW!" gets him to release his jaws first…) and firmly say, "NO BITE!"

He used to start crying whenever I'd scold him about one of these things, but he's actually become far more bold now. It's rare that he'll cry when I scold him now. But, the tears DO come out in the form of tantrums when he gets a "no" he isn't prepared for or doesn't want to hear. When he can't have something he wants, when he can't go somewhere he wants to…that's when he really starts wailing. Like this morning – he wanted out of his high chair in the middle of breakfast. Breakfast is the one time I can get a load of laundry started and load the car – so getting out of the high chair is not up for debate. It is, in his mind, absolutely not fair and reason to scream bloody murder. This continued in the car and the first few steps in the door at baby school.

Thanks to this disagreement we had this morning, I had to call my mom this morning. Crying, I had to ask, "is this normal? He just doesn't want to give in at all!" She reassured me that yes, this is normal and it's only going to get harder – this is just the beginning! Knowing that we survived the beginning…it is reassuring to hear mom (who raised 3 kids) tell me that I'm doing okay.

I'm a little worried about Victor's use of words (or lack thereof). We're trying to encourage him to "use your words" when he wants something or is whining/crying instead. He can say "cheese", "juice", "shoes", "butch" (his WSU mascot toy), "banana", "duck", and "milk" (though it comes out "nuuhk"), but it takes prodding to get him to use those. Everything else seems to come out "dot" or "deees". We work on words every day with his picture books and his flashcards – with little luck yet. According to his doctor and my mom, that's normal too. My sister didn't start using her words until she was almost 3 and she was Valedictorian in high school & a 4.0 student in college. Still, I can't help but want Victor to be able to communicate soon.

One of the things that we think may be compounding Victor's frustration with the rules, we think, is the "cabin fever" that the weather in Spokane can give you. It seems one of our problems may be that Victor isn't getting as much run-around time as he'd like. You can only do so much in the house, but it's far too bitterly cold to go outside (15 below freezing is too cold for outside time in my book). So, I've started on a mission: to seek out all of the "stuff to do with a toddler" in Spokane – things that are indoors and non-confining. If we have to keep him from being free & having fun, then game over.

A dear friend of mine, when we were in high school, worked at "The Little Gym" – which was a place for kids to run around & be active – mats and soft stuff everywhere for tumbling, jumping, landing…all that good stuff. I wish we had one of those around.

Here's what I've found that looks promising:

YMCA Parent/toddler swim classes. (Shrimp/Kippers classes)
Mobius Kids' Enchanted Forest
Gymboree play & music classes

…and that's it so far. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

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