Hooper has changed overnight. Like seriously, he’s a new kid. I started writing a post on the “terrible twos” just two days ago and it’s already outdated as I described him from being far from “terrible”. Today, he’s all kinds of terrible. I feel as though the toddler gods fill you up with all kinds of love and attachment and patience during the first two years because they know you’ll need to pull some from your reserves when your child turns two and you don’t like them anymore. I called Hooper an asshole today. Not to his face, of course, but more times than I should have behind his back.
What kind of behavior warrants calling your two year old an asshole, you wonder? I’ve been smacked in the face. A lot. It almost always occurs when I’m holding him and looking for a little affection; Affection he used to give me all the time. It also happens when I drop down to his level to put him in check. There’s nothing more infuriating than scolding your child only to get smacked in the face as if to say, “Yeah mom, I heard what you said but please allow my hand across your face to remind you that I don’t give a shit”. I’ve had to take a lot of deep breaths these last few days.
Other things he’s doing that are pissing me off and making me turn to wine at the end of the day even though I feel like turning to a whole bottle of wine to start my day (and yes, that is intentionally a run-on sentence): Throwing toys, spitting, spitting out his milk, taking toys from his brother, hitting Sarah, and kicking me while changing his diaper. He has also started to fold his arms across his chest as if to say, “Go suck a dick, I’m not happy”, only he still uses this body language at inappropriate times so I guess it’s still endearing; but the endearing part is still debatable.
Much of parenting is a learn-as-you-go process. We had been punishing him by putting him in the corner and calmly explaining that we can’t hit or throw or whatever. Then we’d count to ten and end the time out with a hug, after making him say “sorry”. I no longer have the patience to calmly scold; now I put him in the corner and yell, for emphasis ya know? But clearly, it’s not working. Counting to ten has done nothing other than teach him how to count. Seriously, he counted clear as day to six yesterday. That’s probably when his attention span runs out, otherwise he’d know that seven ate nine. So, I turn to my lovely readers for the touchy subject of how to discipline your lovely toddler. Please share your opinions and suggestions.
Hey Hooper, just for the record, Van is my new favorite. Shape up, you little asshole.

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55 Responses

  • I have no experience in bringing up children, so I definitely can’t offer anything concrete in terms of a solution. Other than saying that maybe Hooper is looking for attention? And you just need to ignore the hell out of him when he kicks off.

    AND, stay strong. He’ll be a nice kid again soon.


  • uggg I wish I had advice, which I’m sure you are looking for. But all I have is empathy. Mine is 21 months and I can tell, with each boundary pushing step that he is on the verge of complete asshole-hood. Thanks for honestly posting about this and let us know if you find anything that helps!

    • Empathy works just as well as advice sometimes. Thanks. I’ll keep you updated on what works… Or, what I should say is I’ll search high and low for a solution, cross my fingers and my toes, bring out the magic wand, send him off to daycare boarding school, and let you know what works, if any of it works at all.

  • I have three kids… 11, 8 and 13 months. (I know)

    I have no advice for you concerning the terrible two’s except to ignore it, blog about it (because youre awesome) and drink your wine. His temperment will change and as soon as its better something else will come along…either with him or baby brother! This too shall pass 😉

    Also, I almost liked the terrible two’s better than the age 7. Kids are weird and annoying at 7.

  • ah the same thing just happened to me! Except my son waited till he was almost 3 and I was feeling all cocky about my well behaved 2 year old like ‘what terrible twos?’. So ya, no advice. Actually what works best for us (but of course sometimes doesn’t work at all) is taking away toys. Usually it is just a threat and he smartens up but I have put away every single toy including the v. heavy play kitchen – ya that sucked but it did eventually work and even though it sucked I felt like I was staying calm and at least avoiding yelling.

    • I swear, just last week, I was saying the same thing… “Oh my son is so sweet, he’ll never be that toddler brat”… I take it all back. You’re lucky it didn’t hit until later 😉 And moving that heavy kitchen sounds like such a pain… I hate having to follow through on threats.

  • just wait until three and four when the mouth joins the unruly body.

    naughtiness sucks. here’s what I’ve tried recently. reward the good. I’ve started good deeds get dollars. Mostly for my 5-year old who better understands she gets play money for good behavior and when she reaches $5, she gets a swipe in the dollar toy bin I keep on hand.

    Her little monkey brother {2.5} gets the same treatment, but more just likes reaching in and grabbing a toy. His deal is MAJOR anger management issues {think screaming fits for 45 mins. yeah, that’s fun} after weeks of useless time outs, I’ve now started cheering the calm and giving him “happy stickers” that he loves to peel and stick or rewarding him with a lollipop when he plays nice or frankly, is just acting normal. All to remind him that being nice and playing nice is nice.

    Nothing works forever and asshole behavior show up everyday, but at least i can say I’m trying. good luck.
    Oh, and keep the wine close.

    • Ha! I love that you have resorted to awarding normal behavior… since that’s the anomaly. That gave me a good chuckle. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • This is all brilliant and funny! I’ve done the old school put-in-room which is very effective, but love idea of balancing with “happy stickers” (bought some yesterday) and rewarding normal behavior, genius.

  • Aww, I’m so sorry. I have a two year old, too, and some days just suck. We didn’t really have much of a hitting phase, so I don’t really have anything to help with that. Right now we’re in a “let’s throw a tantrum about every damn thing” phase. Putting on socks = tantrum. Letting the cats outside = tantrum. The suggestion that she eat oatmeal = tantrum. (Those are all examples from just this morning.) Then when she’s finished screaming at me, she looks me right in the eye and her face brightens up, and she says, “I’m crying, Mommy.”
    No shit.

    Thanks for the kick-ass honesty. I enjoy your blog.
    Good luck. It’s a good thing we love them.

  • Corner, explain why he’s there, walk away sharpish, before he can whack you and as far away and for as long as it takes for him to stop screaming realise that Mama ain’t rain’ no fool. This way, long tantrums are actually a bonus: giving you enough time to enjoy a glass of wine in the kitchen. Joking. Kind of.

  • Hahaha, aww, who knew he had it in him? I bet you had a hard time not laughing the first time he smacked you in the face…but then the humor went away. Tell him to shape up or Auntie’s coming.

  • Hah! You just described my day/week/life. My kids are 2 and 7 months, and we’re going through the exact same crap right now. When you find the answer, let me know!

    Have definitely called my 2 yr old a lot worse than an asshole!

    • Oh that makes me feel better 🙂 Thanks for your honesty hahahaha. Our children are the same age!! If you find the answers first, send them my way!

  • As my wise sister in law once said to me, you have to figure out what tortures them the most when you take it away for it to be an effective punishment. In my vast experience (ha! my boys are 10 and 7) don’t ignore physical violence and come down hard on it from the get go. Hitting and especially biting are no tolerance behaviors and my kids know what’s going to happen every time they do it. The problem is that it’s kind of funny when they do it to you and then they go and do it to another child or a little brother and it’s a big deal. They don’t understand why it was funny when they did it to you but not so much when they did it to your friend’s baby. So make a threat and then you HAVE TO make good on it. Even if it ruins the 15 minutes of quiet time you were planning for yourself. So at my house they lose iPod and iPad privileges. At your house I’m thinking that all those cars so nicely lined up on the couch might go away…

    • Oh yes, those cars… I feel stronger already. Two can play this game, Hooper. Watch out. And yes, I know, I HAVE TO make good on the threats… even though it sucks because it temporarly makes my life more miseralbe… but it’s an investment, I realize this and I refuse to be a sucker or a push over. As soon as I say “if” this, “then” that I automatically start hating myself because I know I have to follow through. But I do, because of the investment. Thanks for the words of wisdom 😉 xo

  • My son is almost 21 months and I fear I will soon want to call him an asshole too. It amazes me how they change overnight! I do not have any advice, but I agree with keeping the wine close and following through with threats. They know what they can and cannot get away with (and with which parent), so following through is important. I love your blog and look forward to your posts, assholes and all.

  • Wine. That’s what is helping get me through! Parenting is hard, right?! And I think discipline is a moving target. Every day I am trying to figure out what form of punishment works the best. We have had almost no luck with time outs. Now taking away of privileges, that seems to work. Also, now that I know a lot of my son’s triggers, I try to reason with him beforehand and let him know that if he is good, he will get something. And I always follow through with my threats, even if I really didn’t want to leave somewhere right away. It helps him know I mean business.

    • Wow, you said it best: discipline is a moving target. What works one day doesn’t work the next. The following through part sucks, but I agree, is absolutely necessary. My words mean nothing otherwise. Thanks for sharing.

  • this is hilarious…i can totally see you just giving up in frustration your standard punishments. i obviously have no advice on the matter, but literally chuckled at your for the record comment. is the pic staged or an in the moment hooper discipline?

    • Leslie, you’re absolutely crazy if you think I could ask Hooper to make a sad face and he’d cooperate. I’m lucky to get him to stand in one place for a pic. With that said, No, not staged. Get your head out from the down under 😉 hahaha, unfortunately moments like these happen on a daily basis so they’re not so hard to capture. hahaha lmao. Hope you’re doing well xo

  • My son is 28 months and we have been enjoying our fair share of hitting, kicking, tantrums (oh the tantrums), toy throwing, and generalized assholish behavior. My suggestion, aside from all those listed above – which we do employ, including time outs, toy restrictions, and rewarding normal behavior – is to spend time with a family with an older child who is a terror. No kidding. We just vacationed with a family who has an almost 5-year-old that spends half his day in time out. Within a week, i appreciated my child’s good behavior SO MUCH, and realized that 2-year-old tantrums are expressive, and need to be worked through constructively. It really motivated me to be patient with my own child because I cannot stomach the thought of having a 5-year-old at all similar to the true asshole i just spent a week with. Now I find I am much more willing to sit down and hug-it-out than resort to the previous knee-jerk time out. Often my son needs affection rather than yelling… and a tickle “fight” with aremider not to kick seems to work better that getting angry – for now at least… keep your eye on the prize. You really don’t want to have a 5-year-old asshole. Trust me. That vacation was just the longest week of my life.

    • I’m glad you say this. I recently had an encounter with a parent proclaimed child terrorist and what I walked away thinking was, “this is the parents issue, not the child”. I thought her behavior was, like you said, expressive and even pleading for needed attention. So, I agree, it’s important to work through this phase as constructively as possible. Thank you for reminding me of this. I just needed a little perspective and thanks to all these great comments, I’m getting there. Ya’ll are really great.

      Also, Hooper started kicking the shit out of me while I was changing his diaper this evening and in turn I tickled the shit out of him. It ended in laughter and a game of hide ‘n seek so I think a little redirection could go a long way with him. Thanks for putting me in check, I really appreciate your words.

      • The kicking/tickle fight scenario is EXACTLY what works (for this week at least) in my house. It takes a bit more focus and patience on our parts, but when my son acts out, at least some of the time it is because he wants affection from me rather than scolding. And when its possible, the redirection works better than a time out. And its probably healthier for ME to hug than holler. Hang in there – this parenting thing is ROUGH. Drink wine. xx.

  • Yep Yep Yep. I’m staying home with my three year old and 7 week old. JESUS. CHRIST. I had a profound thought, after a bad moment where I lost it and maybe told my crying three year old to shut up (MAYBE THAT HAPPENED, no one can be sure), that the toddler years are major transitions for both them and us. We go from loving, nurturing, ‘aw look at her roll over’, where the baby is less her own person and more our little cuddle bugs. THEN. Two and three hits, and they start exploring what it means to have their own lives (ie screaming no, refusing to be obedient and generally being dicks sometimes), and we have to adjust to having negative feelings about our little darling bebes. I know I struggle with the rage i sometimes feel for the older child, and it leads to guilt, which leads to stress, which leads me to maybe lose it and possibly tell her to shut up.
    no one is confirming that that happened yesterday.

    • It didn’t happen if I didn’t hear it and I didn’t hear it, so it didn’t happen. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy. But you bring up a good point… It’s an important transition into being an independent being and as much as they resemble little assholes (figuratively, of course) I suppose it’s a good idea to support them as much as possible through this transition. I want so badly to be childish back and just stick my tongue out at him, so it’s a learning curve for him and for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • When Zoey, my oldest and now almost 3 year old was an infant, I was talking with a friend who had a toddler and was pregnant. I asked her “aren’t you afraid of having two and being able to love the 2nd as much as your first?”. For at the time I was completely infatuated and obsessed with my then 8 month old- who was the cutest, most adorable, most amazing baby. She told me that by the time I was ready for a 2nd, Zoey would be a toddler, and such a brat that I’d be dying for another sweet baby. I think of that friend every day since Amelia’s been born (14 weeks). She was so right. There are days I don’t even like Zoey (toddler terrorist) and Amelia is the sweetest, most easy going, smiley little girl…

    Zoey is screaming for me right now. As I try to nurse Amelia and put her to bed one room away. Sigh.

    • Haha, this gave me a good laugh Deborah. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s important to acknowledge that we will always love our children, but liking them may be a different story 😉 Fortunately, it’s all temporary… I gather some stay in the phase longer than others, but I’ve been going to bed with my fingers crossed and I’m sure you are too 😉 Amelia, by the way, is so freakin’ adorable! xo

  • I can barely catch my breath from the hysterical laughing crying fit I just had with my husband as I read this post out loud! Yes! This is exactly what happened to us at the start of the new year with our nearly 2 1/2 year old boy. I too was feeling smug about my sweet and sensitive toddler, than blam!, exactly as you just described, adding to the evidence that it really is a developmental phase that we have to grit our teeth through. In addition to a lot of the annoying behavior you described, my son has started hitting our little 15 mo old across the hall neighbor playmate while nicely saying, “no hitting.” It’s awful. Thankfully her mom is tolerant, but he will also say “no” or “go away” to them or to anyone who comes over and steals attention. I too put a lot of time into the nice reprimands and little corner time outs (which sends him into a happy dance, jumping and squealing in delight at the game of running in and out of the corner and loving being back in). So after consulting with a sage friend of two older boys, a friend who practiced a lot of attachment parenting, I got this advice: *put him in his room and close the door*. Seriously, after two warnings the first time telling him what would happen if he repeated the behavior, I put him in his room, closed the door, and despite all of the toys he could have played with I only had to wait 10 seconds or less before he was so upset at being shut out of socialization that he got the point. Then i calmed him down and explained that if he hits he will not be allowed to play with me, friends, etc. It sounds so harsh, but hitting is a non-negotiable and in the two weeks since I did that I have only had to mention putting him in his room to pretty much shut down the behavior. He even talks about how if he hits he’ll be punished and put in room. He also talks in amusement about how he cried, kind of funny. And if we are at a friends house, I would find a safe room, it’s seconds and you can stand right outside door.

    Sorry for writing a novel, but this post was the be all and end all for me! New to your blog and loving your point of view, sarcasm, humor, and photos. All 2 year old boys are a**holes, but only some of us admit it, so THANK YOU for this piece!

    • I tried the room thing today and it did seem promising. Your comment gives me hope, so I’ll keep at it. I just need to stick with something and be consistent… but I agree, the corner time out is nothing but fun for him. Thanks for sharing.

  • We just hit the asshole phase too. Fun stuff. My asshole has started the hitting me thing along with biting, kicking, clawing, and pulling hair. We try the time out thing and it works occasionally. I get down on his level and as calmly as I can (which is hard being 8 months pregnant and hormonal) explain to him that he doesn’t hit, kick, whatever he has done, me or anyone else. Works for a bit until he gets pissed off about something else. I have started trying to give him lots of praise and affection when he does something right, like actually listening for example, and it seems to help. I love him to death but sometimes I look at him and wonder what the hell is going on with this kid, surely he isn’t mine?! Honestly, I think it is just a phase and one that they will hopefully grow out of with a quickness. We may just have to deal with it on a day to day basis until they decide to return to their sweet selves. And keep the wine handy. I’ll have mine around in a couple of months for sure. Good luck! And thank you for your honesty!

    • Ya, probably just a phase… I suppose it’s all developmental… Congrats on your pregnancy and hoping your asshole treats you well in the months to come 😉

  • For real. The dad in the photo? When he bit his dad 28 or 29 years ago, his dad bit him back. That was then. Probably would get arrested today. Enjoy the Moscato. Glad I could introduce you to it. Want a case?

  • I can so relate to this!!! When my daughter turned two I thought “This isn’t so bad. Terrible twos – smoos”. Since turning two and a half I’ve been smacked in the face more times than I can count plus I’ve been bitten on the shoulder and on my chest so hard it has bruised and bled – all because a certain someone didn’t get her way. Sometimes it takes all my strength to stay calm and not smack her deserving little bottom.

  • So we are similar. Who’d have bloody thought it. I get a lot of “no, go away mummy” “naughty mummy” and then sometimes he says stuff like “you be sad mummy” likes he wants to upset me so he can then cuddle me after? All very odd. I don’t get a huge amount of physical violence, but Stan is not particularly a physical boy anyway. I just get tantrums and me being told to “go away” a lot. Like another commenter said for us the being left in his own room with the door shut works. Initially I was worried about making that a ‘bad place’ when christ knows I want him to long to go in there to sleep at night so I can get some peace! But it hasn’t seemed to affect anything, we don’t have to do it very often. And since carrying out the threat a few times just a mention of it is now normally enough to turn around bad behaviour. The joy too of having 1930s doors where those sensible builders put the handles up nice, and, high. No escape, a**hole…..
    Good luck, I feel for you…xx

  • I have to say, please let me know when you figure it out!! we have tried absolutely everything. time outs don’t work, he doesn’t get it. He has figured out that if I go to get his hand to put him in the corner, or in his room he just falls to the floor and laughs like it’s all a game. I do feel I had a break through last night.. I was trying to keep him from running back and forth through the hallway, (he runs freakishly fast, with bad cordination) so I put him in his bed, and tried to explain through the screams and trying to escape, that he will be given one more chance after he stops his tantrum, and if he runs he’ll be back in his bed with the door closed… I wait until he can repeat me and acknowledge that he understands whats going to happen. It actually worked last night!!! who knows if it will ever work again… but I was really excited at the accomplishment!! i’d also like to say I’m jealous that you just get slapped in the face… I think I’d rather have that, than being headbutt in the face, with a bloody nose to follow… I’ve heard they get worse, but I think the challenges just change. my 3 year old responds more to taking toys away or the tv… but the new challenge is getting him to flush the toilet and wash his hands. Parenting is hard… makes me wonder how we trick ourselves that adding another baby to the mix is a good idea?! do you still wonder why I was having anxiety issues?? I think I just answered that question for both of us!! 🙂 good luck!

  • wYou just described my situation! My little princess is 21 months but already in her “terrible twos”!! 🙁 plus, i’m pregnant and my second baby will born when she will be 24! i’m already freaking out!! i still don’t have advices but i really hope you’ll find a way to survive and blog about it for all the disperate mothers like me! Ah.. she’s also sperimenting the fase “daddy is better that you and i want sleep/eat/play/kiss just him”…

    PS: Just discovered your blog through Jodi’s project and now i HAVE to follow it!! 😉

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. Oh, I can now really picture out how my 7 months old boy when he turns two soon. That would be crazier I think. Well, just be strong and I am for sure your boy will shape up later on.

  • the best advice I got was ‘don’t negotiate with terrorists’ when the asshole behaviour appears its a dictatorship not a democracy around our house. Hitting, spitting etc are unacceptable (said in my best supernanny voice) and the result is instantly being removed from interactions with parents and siblings/playmates. My lot hate the shut in another room , silent treatment but its pretty effective. With my youngest I usually go through a little review when he comes out again, is it ok to kick the it ok to kick…is it ok to kick balls..yes…are balls the only thing we are allowed to kick? Sometimes it seems to help to give him something he can practice the bad behaviour on, kicking balls, hitting drums, spitting toothpaste out in the sink because I think to a 2yr old the sensation of doing these things is pretty satisfying, it just needs to be directed at the right thing. Good luck..this stage gets better…then they get their sassy smart mouths on

  • I’m sorry to say that I laughed through most of this post…only because I do exactly the same. I wrote an update about Theo a weel ago and said that the terrible twos hadn’t reached us yet, but then reading through this, I’m like oh yeh they totally have. He does ALL the same things as Hooper, and I’ve definitely called him a dick a few times. But I guess if they’re already here then it can’t get any worse right? right?

    I try all the same discipline methods as you too, sometimes it works, sometimes not, especially if we are out and there are toy distractions. I get nervous because I think that other people are closely watching my parenting skills…but we’re getting there with sorry, slowly.

    Just about to read on to your next post!


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