The Terrible Twos

My son is bipolar. Not literally but more in the sense that all toddlers are bipolar. He’ll raise his hand to hit me one minute and the next minute he’ll stroke my arm as if to say, “I love you, mom”. He’s experimenting, I get it.
One of the most important things in caring for a toddler, I’ve learned, has been to care for myself. The more rested and hydrated and fed and groomed I am, the more patience I have. On the days I don’t have time to shower or even change out of my pajamas, where I’m exhausted from Van waking me in the middle of the night (a rare occurrence as of late, thank goodness), and where feeding myself becomes tertiary to feeding the two little birds waiting for me to drop a worm into their mouths, I’m not as good of a mom as I know I can be. I’m sure every mom would agree with this. It goes without saying that the more rested and more prepared we are, the better we are at, well, everything.
Back to Hooper being bipolar. This kid flips between hitting and kissing like a ping pong ball in play on a Japanese table tennis court. The other day he raised his hand toward my head to stroke my hair and I scared him when I flinched, expecting to be smacked. Instead, I got a slobbery hand caressing my newly washed hair. It’s inconsistent, to say the least, but it’s nice to say that I’m not always the victim of abuse.
We’re working hard this week on positive reinforcement and rewarding “normal” behavior.
What’s working with your toddler this week?

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13 Responses

  • LOL… Oliver is the same way. He’ll try to hit me and then hugs or kisses me or says “Sorry Mama.” And I completely agree with you, I’m definitely a better mom when I’m more rested and well fed and also I think it’s the fact that I know that I’ve showered, ate, changed clothes and look decent that all plays a role in me being patient.

    Thanks for linking my blog. Made my day when I saw that. Thanks again, Ashley! xo

  • He is so cute in those little blue undies. I’ve never seen Hooper’s “mean” side. I’ve only seen him being a sweetheart. I wonder if girls are worse than boys.
    In any case, it makes total sense that you will be a better mom if you’re taking care of yourself. You’ll be a better friend, employee, wife, etc too. I’d say you’d be a better sister, but I don’t think that’s possible 😉

  • Ashley, I read once the mindset of toddlers is equal to psychopaths. No sense of right/wrong or guilt only making ones self happy. They grow out of it, but its totally accurate ages 2-3. So don’t feel bad calling him bipolar- essentially, he temporarily is!

    • Oh, I have no remorse for calling him bipolar. Not afraid to call a spade a spade. He’s bipolar and that’s all there is to it 😉

  • We have gotten a little better at the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine but we rarely go an hour without some tears at our house. I know the NYT says bribes don’t work ( but we have had a lot of success bribing for extra story time. An extra book for being good was met with “oh boy!” today, which was super cute.

    Sometimes I don’t prepare properly (“We’re going to the bank” instead of “We’re going inside the bank and I need you to stay close to me and be quiet and not wiggle or else the tutu is coming off”), I get upset at myself for letting things spiral out of control. Deflection and not getting into the situation to begin with (I try very, very hard not to take him shopping ANYWHERE) seem to be working for us. There’s always a good tickle to lighten the mood, but sometimes the situation is already too far gone for that. I can relate, hang in there. Just imagine…. we both get to do it again, too!

    • Oh yes, not “we’re going to the grocery store” but “we’re going to the store. we can’t eat anything until we pay for it. you can’t have everything you want. and no, you can’t hit your brother over the head”.

      Why’d you have to mention doing it all over again… ugh…

  • I have a biter as well as a smacker Jarvis will one moment be giving me kisses, the next bites. How weird is it when you have to explain the hicky/bite mark is from your son? Sleep through the night, my biggest fantasy.

    • Oh yes, we went through the smacking phase. He bit once or twice, but that passed quickly. I hope it passes quickly for you too!

  • First I want to say how much I like your blog! Thanks for sharing your life!
    And I know what you are talking about. My now 4 year old daughter acted really crazy too when she was about hoopers age. And still does now and then 🙂 . Just two things that I read somewhere and always try to remind myself of: children often hit when they can’t communicate otherwise and don’t have the words. And children per se always want to cooperate with their parents. Sometimes they just can’t 🙂
    These thoughts help me dealing with my daughters crazies.

  • whats working? sometimes i feel that nothing works… hahaha…. she doesn’t sleep when shes supposed to. cries all the time practically. but i can’t imagine a world without her


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