Coping With Terrible Twos

Sorry to interrupt the usual topics of DIY, decor, and recipes with my toddler issues.  So, if this isn’t your cup of tea, come back later for more awesomeness!

I think that coping with the terrible two’s is a right of passage for first time parents. It’s a test of patience and can seriously put your parenting methods into a tail spin.  For the past few weeks I’ve seen glimmers of tantrums and have been the victim of various violent outbursts.  Some leaving my face looking like an angry kitty attacked me in my sleep.  Well, sprinkle in a little sleep regression and separation anxiety on top of the terrible two’s and you’ve got yourself a full fledged ticking toddler time bomb.  Welcome to my life.

Don’t let that little smile fool you.  Girl can have an emotional breakdown like a champ!

I know Vanessa is missing Philip while he’s away on business because she is being peculiar, but cute. Clutching onto photos of him, kissing said photos, taking pictures to bed along with his water canteen. When the temper tantrums, days with completely sleepness nights and nap free days started, I immediately thought, “terrible two’s”. End of story, deal and move on.

I was wrong on so many levels because it’s her separation anxiety that is causing most of her emotional distress.  It took me rocking her the other night to realize that she’s scared of being alone and this was the trigger for the tantrums, sleeplessness, and constant crying.  As I sat in her room, rocking her back to sleep after she woke me up with blood curdling screams and tears as big as raindrops, she reached up and caressed my face while she slept.  She used to do this a lot while we co-slept as a way to make sure I was still close by.

I burst into tears because she NEEDED me to pick her up and hold her and I had been treating her how a few “experts” say to treat toddlers with regular temper tantrums.  The ignoring approach works well for the typical tantrum, but baby girl was having more emotional meltdowns than tantrums. I felt like the world’s worst mother. I still do. I’ve been showering her with lots of affection, constant praise, and holding her, A LOT.  I’m coping with this sudden change in her development with lots of hugs, getting her out of the house everyday, and having her play with other toddlers.  The constant crying and tantrums are far less frequent and I’m finally (sort of) able to decipher the types of tantrums along with their triggers. It’s not perfect and I’m no expert, but today was a better day.  She’s even napping while I type this post.

Photo courtesy of Jessica H.

I’m also coping with this stressful time by savoring every second (good and bad) I have with her, drinking lots of coffee, getting as much rest as I can, and reminding myself that this is just a normal phase most toddlers go through.   I know I’ll need to reassess the way I approach the tantrums after the separation anxiety dies down and we get back into a normal routine when Philip gets home. I’ve just been keeping in mind that being comfortable with how we deal with this stage is 1000x more important than doing what other expect us to do.

Raising a child really does take a village and I don’t know how I would’ve handled all this without my husband and friend Jessica.  You two are amazing!

I know I haven’t been posting many craft or DIY projects in the last couple weeks, but I sincerely have been spending every waking moment with either a little girl attached to my hip, scooping an emotional wreck off the floor, or trying to figure out what’s going on with my kid. Philip gets back tomorrow and hopefully (fingers crossed) things will get a lot better for everyone and I’ll be able to whip up an awesome tutorial for you this Monday.

Until then, happy crafting!


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  1. 1
    Jessica H. says:

    Oh I love that photo of Vanessa. Terrible twos are the worst, but I think she’s lucky to have such a sweet and patient mommy! And you’re right, you would never be able to tell from their sweet angel faces what kind of mischief is brewing! :D

  2. 5

    Great article Maria! You are so right to go with your instincts. Affection and understanding will never send your kid to therapy later in life. Fear is a funny thing with the little ones because as adults, we think “what do they have to fear?” But they are seeing how small they are in a huge world and sensing how little control they have…that is scary for adults to cope with, but a little person…must be terrifying. You are a good mommy! Just hold her close and reassure her!

    • 6

      Thanks Misty! We’re still dealing with toddler sized drama, but things are remarkably better with our new approach. Hope G & L are being good little toddlers for you!


  1. […] Vanessa has seen snow before in Canada and Lake Tahoe last year, but she was too little to play in it.  We bundled her up in mini sized snow gear and she loved being in the snow. Lots of laughing and smiling, enough to make me forget that we’re still experiencing the terrible twos. […]