Monday, January 16, 2006


Four little words I really need to hear

There are four little words I really need to hear right now. Four words that will probably save my sanity, if not the future well being of my sons. Four little words.

It's just a phase.

Please remind me it's just a phase, and tell me it's a short one at that. I was reading one of the blogs in the momosphere, I don't even remember which one, and she was lamenting about the terrible twos. She asked for advice, and her commenters said something along the lines of, you think two is bad, wait until three and a half.


Is anybody else finding the few months before the fourth birthday particularly trying? I think we're caught in a double-whammy, with Simon in his terrible twos (officially, less than 20 days from now) and Tristan coming up on four. It hasn't been pretty.

With Simon, at least I get where he is coming from. I understand, from a behavioural and cognitive perspective, what's going on in his world and why he is so frustrated. (For great insight into the two year old mind and how to work with it, take a look at Marla's post from last week.) And by luck and default, I've figured out some coping strategies. What I'm having a hard time dealing with is how he expresses his frustration - he hits or throws things or kicks things. What's most troubling is seeing my own bad behaviours (I don't always cope well with stress) coming from a two year old.

With Tristan, it seems to be more of an emotional thing. He's argumentative. And obstinate. And whiney - oh, the whines. I know it's all fairly normal; I think I read somewhere whining peaks around age four. But he's a meltdown waiting for a trigger lately, and I'm not so sure that's normal. Whenever he doesn't get his way, he says things like "Nobody wants me" and "Nobody understands me". I didn't expect that one for another ten years or so. Is that on the developmental curve for preschoolers, too?

I have to say, I'm quite pleased that I've figured out how to manipulate at least one of the boys in my house. I read a lot more of the 'literature' on parenting (everything from books to magazines to blogs to message boards) than Beloved, and I've been looking for a way to dial drag him into the conversation. I found out they have a lot of the more popular parenting experts on videocasette, and if it's on TV, Beloved will sit through just about anything! (kiss kiss, sweetie) In the summer we watched Thomas Phelan's 1-2-3 Magic, and last week we watched Sal Severe's video workshop on "How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too."

In the Sal Severe video, he was saying the parents who have the hardest struggles with behaviour often have children that are bright (check!), have strong verbal skills (check!) and are persistent. Well, if we define 'persistent' as 'stubborn as the day is long', then yah, I think we qualify.

So tell me, mothers who have been there or are there - is three and a half to four really one of those known 'phase' times? And how did you cope? And are there more minefields ahead, or have I done all the hard work once we get through this one and we'll just rest on our laurels from here on in?