Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is it ME, or HER?

I was reading a friend's blog, and was so taken back by one of her musings. Are the Terrible Two's a cultural phenomenon? She states that she thinks often times it is the attitude of the caregiver, not necessarily the child. Wow. That punched me in the gut.

That is soooo true. I've realized it's truth before now without ever actually putting a title to it.

Pyper is very schedule driven. She thrives off of routine, her routine, or her rhythm. If her schedule is altered, even in the tiniest way, she acts out. It's not tiny to her. It's BIG to a tiny one. I've noticed this with Raegan, too. Over Christmas, we were with my family in Northern Virginia. We had planned on leaving Raegan with mom and dad for a few days so they could have some exclusive Raegan time as they had with just Pyper. Raegan had other plans. At 3 months old, she knew she was in a different house, with different people, smells, sounds and a different bed. Our little baby that went from sleeping through the night (which I bragged about to my family) woke several times during the night crying. Basically, she made me out to be a liar. Her rhythm was off. She was used to sleeping with us. She didn't when we were at my parent's. So, we decided collectively, that Raegan wasn't going to stay. Pyper said SHE wanted to stay though. We left her for several days. My mom is VERY good about respecting routine and our parenting styles. Even if she doesn't agree with it, she will do it. I love that about her. However, even though Pyper's rhythm at my parent's was similar, it wasn't the same as here. When she got home, she acted out. I call it the Terrible Two's. Tantrums, screaming, hitting, pouting, etc. You get the lovely picture. We know it's because she was off her rhthym. Within a few days, she was back to our sweet child. Then both girls went to Shannon's family for a long weekend. Pyper and Raegan did ok, both were sick, and I'm sure my mother-in-law was exhausted by the time I picked them up on Monday. Pyper, again, acted out when we got her home. Nothing like Chuckie or anything, but just not her bubbly self. I then come to realize that we are the ones that are contributing to her meltdowns. Well, maybe not US, but the interuption of her rhthym. I can always tell when Pyper is stressed out. That is why we strive for organization, having a set routine, and preparing her in advance for any interuption. Shannon and I desperately need to have those weekends sans children. Now, we know to prepare Pyper for them in advance. When I am rushed, or feeling frantic, I try hard to tell myself to be calm because my children pick up on it. She picks up on my anxiety. She picks up on my moods. Our fights. Our happiness. Our chaos. Our life. She is a mirror to what is going on. Makes you really pay attention to what you say and what you do. Otherwise, Pyper and Raegan pay for it. Just my 2 cents on the matter...


  1. I've spent a lot of time wondering recently about "pay me now" versus "pay me later". Is it worth the tantrums now, so she learns to be more flexible and adapt? Or is she too young? What's the right age for that? Would you rather have to deal with her now at 2, or when she's 6?

    I don't think there's a right answer, but as a parent, these are the things that keep me awake at night wondering.

    -Paul R.

  2. Paul, I think it is all a balance. When she has the tantrums (while I'm screaming in my head to "BE QUIET!") I hold her to me, and in a soft, even tone tell her that I understand she is frustrated, to use her words or signs, and tell me what is wrong. Most tantrums I have found are based on fear and loss of control. I just try to reassure her. It then reassures me. :)