The terrible twos, toddler years, or threenagers . . . whatever you’ve nicknamed this stage of childhood, I commend you for going through it. And if your child has never thrown a tantrum, tell me your secret.
Each stage of a child’s life comes with its own set of struggles, but each also has the sweetest moments you could imagine. My twin girls are now four years old, but their toddlerhood looked a lot different than my son’s, who is currently two and a half.
For my girls, the age of two was an entire year of growth. Both of them started very shy, and I struggled to go anywhere with them. Around their second birthdays, they still had a young innocence about them, which made me hopeful and a little naive.
Just before my twins’ second birthdays, they started intense speech therapy. For one, or sometimes two times per week, we had a speech therapist come to our house to work with them. We tried speech therapy in a clinic, but that setting was not conducive for them to be successful because they were so reserved. At that age, they were much more comfortable working in their own environment hoping to yield more results.
When two and a half rolled around, it became increasingly frustrating for the twins because they realized how much they were not able to communicate their wants and needs. This realization caused tantrums to increase. For perspective, they had a total of two or three understandable words at this age. They were becoming so aware of their surroundings, but they could not communicate what they were thinking. I cannot begin to imagine how frustrating that must have been for them.
As a parent it is difficult to see your child struggle in that way. The times when I was unable to figure out what they wanted would send them into extreme meltdown mode. Over time I became increasingly better at realizing their needs before they asked, or if they attempted to communicate, I was able to determine it pretty quickly. At two and a half, they did not have the patience or understanding to be able to show or point to me what they were trying to communicate.
Presently, I still sometimes cannot understand them, but they are now able to show me what they are asking for or wanting. I have also gotten really good at guessing! I think as a parent you just have a natural instinct of something your child is trying to get across to you whether they can speak or not. The toddler stages are so difficult because they want to be so independent. On top of that, you may have a toddler who cannot vocalize his or her wants and are trying to be independent. It can be overwhelming.
Even though it was an obstacle trying to determine what my twins wanted on a daily basis, the most rewarding part was hearing them speak their first true words. One of them spoke two months before her third birthday. The other started speaking about four months later. At that time, the home setting was becoming too repetitive for them. We ended up switching to a clinical setting, which was the best decision for them. We are still there and they love it.
Even though I am out of the toddler years with my twins, my son is in the thick of it. He presents different obstacles than the twins. Every child is so different. I try to remember that “this too shall pass,” especially if I am having a hard day trying to get them to listen or not throw a tantrum. No stage is forever.