SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

June 2012

My Tantrum-y Two-Year-Old

Two weeks ago, we had a teacher-parent meeting at the girls’ preschool. The teacher of our two-year-old girl told us good naturedly, “All children who are quiet at school, are complete terrors at home. It’s confirmed!”

At that time, Rachel was the wallflower in class, but she had no problem communicating at home, talking and singing all the time, even fighting with her big sister once in a while. I was convinced all was normal, easy peasy.

Three days ago, two weeks after her second birthday, her “Terrible Two” phase officially arrived. I know I shouldn’t put labels on it, but what else would you call the sudden tantrums and constant bossiness my sweet little baby is now capable of?

Was it because she was born in the year of the Tiger? She does seem fiercer than her older sister, the Rooster. I have now became wary of her.

The first time it happened, above all the frustration from being unable to make her see sense, I felt broken-hearted. I was disappointed, because I thought we had a special connection. I thought we understood each other. I felt betrayed by her refusal to trust me, to listen to me and to her sister.

The hour-long episode of crying, screaming, and kicking all the way home was caused simply by her protest over my interfering, when she was absolutely sure she could have run across the busy parking lot by herself with no problem whatsoever.

A friend who has a boy almost exactly Rachel’s age, told me that the same thing is going on in her household. There is nothing she can do to quieten or distract her son from bursting out into another tantrum.

She ignores these episodes and just hopes that they will all go away with time. It’s quite easy to type (she said this through Internet chat), but not so easy to experience.

I have a headache every day and it tires me to have to tiptoe over my daughter’s eggshell, in case I accidentally step on a soft patch and cause a crack.

I know the point that she wants to make is that she can do it all without help. It’s amazing if you think about it; we too experienced this feeling when we were younger. That we can be whatever we want to be, do whatever we want to do. The younger one is, the stronger his or her conviction is.

These days I am delegating my older girl to communicate with her younger sister in most circumstances. “Come on Rachel, sister will help you change your clothes”, “Let sister tie your hair”, “Sister will get it for you”, and so on.

They have a four-and-a-half year gap between them, and more than 30 years with me, of course they would understand each other better. It saddens me to see Rachel pushing me away, but for the time being, I have to go with what works.

On the way to school this morning, she suddenly gave up all her laughs and stood rooted to the ground, crying in protest. She refused to let anyone touch her, and did not want to answer any question.

After a few minutes when no light could be seen from the end of the tunnel, I simply heaved her onto my shoulder, tuned out her deafening cries, and walked on.

After analysing the possible reasons with my older girl, I found out that the little one hated it when sister gave an encouraging push on her back while they were running happily towards the lift. Oookay. I guess, this is going to be another long day. And this year is going to be a very long year.

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My Tantrum-y Two-Year-Old