I have two little women in the house under the age of four. Some would say that I have a “terrible two” and a “terrible-er three” to contend with on a regular basis.
While I resent the term “terrible” in regards to my children, I can see where the term originates. Children of this age tend to be stubborn, opinionated and unafraid to let you know how they really feel. This can range from inconvenient to downright embarrassing depending where you are when a meltdown takes place and the severity of it. If you have children this age or ever have, I do not really need to go into more detail here.
For all of the terrib… um …. difficult times, children of this age group have some pretty admirable traits too. In fact some of the characteristics are one in the same if you look at them from different perspectives. Listening to my little girls interact with each other this morning, I realized that there are a few traits that I could use a little more of in my own life too.
Here are a few ways we could all use a little more “terrible” toddler in our adult lives.
Kids Tell You What They Want. Kids not only tell you what they want, they downright demand it. No amount of distraction can sway a young one from repeating something that they want over and over again. And then again, like two minutes later. This can be frustrating for parents and caregivers but kids are actually demonstrating something that adults tend to lack: determination. **my two-year-old stepdaughter is repeatedly crying “Snoopy Book!” from her bed because I just took it away so she would fall asleep**
The truth is that most adults back down more than they really should. If we want something, we should learn to have a little bit more determination and keep at it until we have it.
Kids Have Ingenuity. If you tell a toddler/pre-schooler that she cannot have a cookie, you can bet that she will start hatching a plan on how to get that cookie, no matter what you say. This relates to my first point but takes it a bit further. Kids do not just ask for or demand things — they think of their own plan on a way to get it. I can hear the sound of our kid-sized step stool being pushed toward a kitchen counter from four rooms away. So maybe the plan to get a cookie with a step stool ends up being an ill-fated one. Still. The wheels are always turning.
I think that as adults, we spend a lot of time waiting. Just waiting. For something to happen to us, or for us. We wait for other people or circumstances to determine our next step in life. We should take a hint from our kids and just grab the reigns. So maybe we won’t get the cookie the first time. That’s when it’s time to be ingenious and hatch a new plan.
Kids Are Emotional. If you want to know what two or three year olds are thinking, just look at their faces. Better yet, just ask them. “I’m mad” is a pretty common phrase in my house. I don’t hear “I’m sad” quite as often, but generally the waterworks and uncontrollable sobbing give that emotion away. My kids tell me when something is funny, or scary, or makes them happy. They do not stop to rationalize how or why they feel a certain way. They simply let the emotions flow through them and run a natural course.
Adults should acknowledge how they feel. Maybe it does not have to be with a pout and foot stomp, but saying how we really feel could go a long way toward understanding the implications of our lives and actions.
Katie Parsons is a freelance writer with background in news media and publishing. She is the creator of Mumbling Mommy, a blog with a community of writers from across the country with varied backgrounds. Katie got her start blogging on the Tribune Media Services blog “Moms at Work” and many of her posts were syndicated. Now that she has three young ones and another one on the way, Katie works from her home office on the sunny east coast of Florida and takes on a variety of writing, editing and research projects. She is near completion of a memoir that covers her first pregnancy as a single mother. You can contact Katie by emailing her at email@example.com.
Blog Readers: Let’s Talk…Doesn’t Katie raise such great points? How do you think your determination, ingenuity, and emotions have changed as you’ve aged? How about in your children…Any fun stories of how they display their determination or ingenuity?