Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Terrible Twos - My Easy Fix

I can't remember a time when my 2.5 toddler doesn't scream and cry and toss stuff a couple of times a day. Actually it was probably last year, but with sleep deprivation and all the commotions that go on each day, that seemed so long ago. We've read books by psychologists and behavior experts and nothing really seem to help. While we await eagerly for the terrible two phase to pass, there are some things we did to provide immediate relief:

Use all plasticware. This seems obvious in retrospect, but you may be tricked into thinking that your cute calm little 1.5 year old baby that you have now will be well behaved in the future, and start using nice-ware. Then, one day, SURPRISE! Tantrum here, tantrum there, tossing of metal fork towards your face and breaking nice glass cup on the table. Lots of things WILL get broken. It's like Gremlins-- it's just a matter of time before terrible things happen, very fast, and you will feel overwhelmed.

No carpet. I'm renting a little 2 bedroom apartment now. I have no choice on flooring, but if I did, I would not opt for carpets. Anything that one can conceive of spilling on the carpet, WILL HAPPEN. In no time, your 2.5 year old will learn to open any drawer (even those with child-proof locks) and toss everything he can get on the floor. If you think spaghetti is hard to clean, imagine a toddler getting into the kitchen and pouring oil, soy sauce, vinegar, EVERYTHING. FUN FUN FUN! However you'll miss all the fun he just had because you passed out from a lack of sleep last night. If you have carpet, get good carpet cleaners (we use the Bissel cleaner, it cleans out 90% of the stains, 90% of the time-- that means you'll probably still see 100%-81% + 10%, or 29% of the stains. ARGH!!!)

Paint your room with a lot of colors. I'm renting a little apartment but if I actually owned a place, I would paint the entire place with colorful walls. This isn't so much as making it look child friendly, but more of serving the purpose of hiding mess. Just remember, anything that you can think of that can be on the wall, WILL BE ON THE WALL. Spaghetti sauce, check. Pen markings, check. Permanent marker, check. Oily, dirty, and muddy handprint-footprint-tongue print, check. If I had colored walls, I would save a lot of time by not having to spend so much time cleaning them. You need all the time you can get to rest/sleep/take a break from the terrible twos.

Wear glasses. My terrible two thinks it's funny to hit people in the face. I can't remember how many times I was doing something on the sofa/bed, and all of a sudden *WHAM* I see stars the next minute. At one time, my left cornea was scratched, leaving my eyes really red and inflamed and I had to go see a doctor who prescribed antibiotics. This happened TWICE. I've learned that wearing glasses around toddlers (especially ones that love to skip nap and get super cranky at night) is the best thing. My glasses makes me feel like a super Marines. I've taken many direct blows since then but haven't had to go to the optometrist. I love it.

Get a good gate and make sure to DRILL IT IN. A lot people simply rely on the friction/pressure of the gate to hold in place. It is just a matter of time before your toddler realizes that he has enough strength to rock them out of place. Also, there are fancy gates that you need to press/pull some special buttons/latches to open. FORGET IT! He will learn how to do these things by the time he is terrible. The only gate that works for my son, is the Dreambaby Gate, which requires a very subtle (imperceptible) upward pressure to open the gate. Even my parents think it's magical! However, I have a strange feeling that my son will figure it out by next week. Terrible babies tend to be clever.

Allocate an adult-only room. You may think you can place valuable and/or dangerous items out of reach by placing them high or by using gates or toddler locks or special toddler door locks (Monkey Door Lock). Forget it. He will learn to climb, get a box/ladder for height, and access anything and everything. My toddler shredded a bunch of really important family papers using the shredder and he thought it was fun. The only thing that kept him out of trouble was to just get a special No Calvin Room.

Get a good sitter before your kid turns terrible. It can feel draining at times to be with a terrible two, therefore you deserve to take a break. It takes time to find a good sitter. Do it early so the sitter can have some bonding time while your baby is still cute. That way, the sitter will more likely help you when your baby eventually turns terrible. If you don't do this early, you may find yourself going from one sitter to another. I mean, how many sitters are looking forward to baby sit newly minted terriblĂ©?

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