Sunday, July 8, 2012


This is my 400th post. I had plans for a celebration-type thing. Instead, I'm here with a plea. Those of you who have a two-year-old or have ever had a two-year-old - better yet, TWO two-year-olds - I need your advice.

My first child wasn't much of a tantrum-thrower and, being number one, she had no-one to fight with. The pair, however, love to chuck a good wobbly, and fight with each other and their big sister and their parents over pretty much anything. Colour of bowl. Method of getting into car seat. Order in which shoes go on. You get the picture.

I'm a reader, so hit me with great parenting books you've come across, or links to websites, or just your own pearls of wisdom. They don't have to be twin-specific, though that would be helpful. And nothing too scientific, please. Just good commonsense advice, tools and techniques to help me get through the day with less screaming and crying and flailing of limbs and tearing out of hair (and that's just me).

I've googled a few titles that I think will help, but 'Parenting Through the OCD Years' and  'Knit Your Way to Sanity' haven't been written yet. I need something that sheds light on what's so bloody important about the purple spoon or the pink stockings (but not the pink stripey stockings, the ones with the flowers, unless they're in the wash, in which case the spotty ones...)

You can see the glint in her eye, can't you? And she's just half of the problem. A large half, admittedly...


  1. I finally had a chance to flick through my latest Frankie mag the other morning. There was an interview with a muso about his loves and he mentioned his two girls and how delightful they are, how they delight in everything and see the world in a whole new way and how wonderful that is as a parent and how at the same time they can be a complete pain in the arse too! I had to laugh. He summed things up quite well I thought! You love them, but they have the power to drive you crazy in a way you had never imagined either.

    One thing I always try and remind myself is that this is probably a phase and will pass. It doesn't feel like it when you are in the middle of it, but this too shall pass.

    Could you go and chat to your local health nurse? They have been a great help to me over the years. I was struggling with a few issues with Cohen recently and just sitting and having a chat about what is normal, getting a few things off my chest and getting some non-judgmental, practical suggestions and advice was just what I needed to help me get things back on track again. Just hearing someone say "That's normal and this is why he is doing that," helped me to understand the my little man better.

    I also pick up 'Raising boys' by Steve Biddulph every now and then. It's simple, insightful and reassuring. He has written a 'Raising girls' book which would probably be worth checking out.

    Apart from that, pick your battles, take time for yourself and complain to a very good friend over wine from time to time! xx

  2. I've a little girl with fire in her we have tears and tanties here too. Some days are pretty good, some days are terrible. I find the highs and lows exhausting. On those terrible days I just feel like I'm doing such a hopeless job of parenting. I like what Christina's normal and it will pass. I use star charts and distraction techniques (ie. hey, we are going to gran and poppies tomorrow!) Sometimes I just have to let her feel these BIG and upsetting feelings and keep on breathing. I'm in the same boat with you Greer. HELP! ;-) xx

  3. Oh my goodnesss....have you been in my house recently? We are exactly the twin HAS to have a certain EVERYTHING even if there are two of them there is a certain one that is hers and i can't tell the difference...however her twin can and steals it running away with glee at every opportunity...cue meltdown!
    I'm working on my old childcare training of distraction and more distraction...just have to keep distracting the blighters...or go outside! it doesn't always work and i don't think there is any magic advice really....but i do know that it doesn't last and that is my mantra at the moment 'This too shall pass!' . The teen was an only child for many years but she went through it too so i have hope as should you!
    From a twin mummy perspective i am finding having little areas in the house set up with activities/books etc they can escape to on their own helps a little and also marking their 'special' toys in an obvious way is helping a little but they (and me) still have the meltdowns....i know though from when i used to run a class of 16 of this age that it does pass and all you can do is distract and try to stay will get through i promise...hopefully i shall see you there!!! My girls turned 2 today and let's just say they certainly expressed their personalities! Good luck...we are right here with you xx

  4. How about we bundle up your toddlers and my one toddler and leave them to their own devices... Honestly Greer I'm having the same problems here. The days are long, the tantrums and the crying and the whining are frequent and even Luca wants me to take Kian somewhere tomorrow so that the two of us can 'have some fun on our own'. I've recently been doing a bit of reading on here ( All jokes aside, I have no idea what to suggest. If you come across anything, seriously please tell me. x

  5. Hi there,
    I have absolutely no words of wisdom. But I wanted to tell you that I have been there. I swear my just turning 3 year old was/is the worst acting toddler in the world! No kidding... I have a one year old who is easy. But my older daughter and I battle all day, everyday for the past year and a half. I am dying for a solution but cannot find one. Well, I did enroll her in school three full days a week just to give me a break before I lose it! Hopefully this stubborness will suit them well when they are older! Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging!

  6. My children are grown but I've really enjoyed revisiting childhood through the program Politically Incorrect Parenting...just a lot of common sense stuff. One of the things he says is that behaviour is communication and its all about relationships. Getting down to their level on the floor and just playing with my kids regularly, having picnics and walks to playgrounds and through parks with large grass expanses were great ways of just relating. I always loved two year olds as they could express themselves....babies were frustrating for me. I guess we all have our own strengths and weakenesses in the parenting department.

  7. I've been there, although a bit later than 2. I had the audacity to boast that we had missed the tantrums with our #1. But at 3.5 they hit with a vengence. At first I was upset all the time, with him, with me etc but a blog I love happened to post a bit on tantrums being about the child being in distress not defiant. And it made it so clear to me that not only was I having a hard time, so was he... The blog is called The Parenting Passageway, and it has great articles about all aspects of parenting, but the best part is it is broken into sections so you can search by age or issue etc. It took a solid 4 months to see the end of it all but by approaching him in my new calmer self (or putting myself in timeout until I was calm), I felt like we came out of it much closer and with a better understanding of each other..

  8. Oh Greer, I feel your pain! And I only have one toddler, just turned three and showing no signs of leaving the trantrums behind...

    My advice would be: pick your battles. If you can say yes to their demands, say yes, as we have to say "no" to so much during the day. These battles are about control - they want to see how far they can push you. Also, if it makes you feel any better, they only do the big tantrums with those they know love them unconditionally, so we should be honoured! ;-)

  9. Oh yes I have been there with the tantrums, I'm the mother they open another isle in the supermarket for and check my stuff out for me so I can deal with my tantruming child - yes true - rates as one of my most embarrassing parenting moments - all over my refusal to buy the expensive chocolate yoghurt - yes pick your battles. Can recommend a book called the science of parenting by Margot Sunderland. It basically divides tantrums into two types - those that need comfort and a cuddle and those that are a manipulation and you should ignore. For two year olds many are actually their inability to cope with things unexpected eg you run out of favourite cereal and they just have no means to deal with this. This book gave me some new ways to deal with tantrums and we had a lot less but oh I feel your anguish .

  10. Oh Greery - sounds like they have been giving you a work out. I am looking at this from a different angle and asking the question "when was the last time you did something just for you?". You are an amazing mother, wife, sister, friend, knitter, worker, crafter, cook, did I say sister! You give of yourself to others nearly all day every day. Take some time out - go for a walk, run,yoga class, movie whatever and know it is all going to be ok! If that fails come and hang out with your sis for a while so I can give you some loving! xxxx

  11. Oh what a great photo--really captures it! My little one also has strong (and often completely baffling--to me--)emotions, reactions, opinions, demands, etc, too, so I am right there with you!! It's been helpful for me to read all the thoughtful comments. A couple books you may already know about--Happiest Toddler on the Block--not my all time favorite, but very specific to toddler mindset and behavior. I thought Raising your Spirited Child had a lot of good insight. And my favorite general parenting/discipline philosophy book--Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson--original title was not specific to a particular age, but it looks like there are now other books in the series geared toward specific ages.
    Good Luck!!!!

  12. Our first four were an absolute breeze but boy has Kaizer given us a run for our money. He has major meltdowns at the slightest thing and if he doesn't get his way look out! Challenging is what he is.
    I am at a loss as to how to deal with his tantrums and keep reminding myself that this stage will have an end. As hard as it is at times, I always try and keep my cool or remove myself if I feel like I am about to blow.
    Would be interested to read any strategies that you may find that works.

  13. Oh yes I had a son first off and he never threw a tantrum at all, so imagine my surprise when my daughter turned nearly 3 and used to have major tantrums. She threw herself on the ground in a shopping centre once, kicking and screaming and I walked away. She didnt get up, I went back and she was still going. I was so embarassed at the way she was acting that I picked her up and took her home and never forgot that. She is 10 yrs old now and still loves attention but doesnt throw so many tantrums, just has yelling matches or pretend crying ones when she cant have her own way. I tend to ignore them now as that is what she wants is lots of attention. I think when they are younger though you have to remove them from the situation and distract them with something else otherwise they learn that the tantrums drive mummy crazy and they will eventually get what they want. My SIL has twin boys that are nearly 2 and she hasnt had the tantrum phase yet, but I do know they go to playgroup every week to mix with other children and get out of their normal routine. I do hope you find a solution to the phase!

  14. Haha, as soon as I saw that photo I thought 'wow, her eyes say it all really' and then i go on to read the post!!
    My 3rd, my little Rouge (who is 2years 5months) is by far my biggest challenge. (not sure if there is truth behind the firey red head.....but its got me thinking) She is so hot headed and unbeliveably loud when something doesn't go her way (someone at the shops once told me I needed to gag her before i left the house next time...NICE!) but I have found that giving her jobs has helped imensly. All my kids have jobs that are age appropriate (set table, make beds, empty dishwasher, feed animals etc) I have found that getting her to help me gives her somethiing to focus on, and not what shes NOT doing or getting if you know what I mean.
    Everyday brings new challenges, but just keep focusing on their strengths. Give them oportunities to play to those stengths and use those strengths to your advantage :)
    p.s we also have a saying in this house which has worked wonders "you get what you get, and you don't get upset" - simply means I'm not playing to their games and by being consistent they know it's not worth even trying!
    Hang in there xx and happy 400th post!!

  15. Oh I can see that glint! Our number one was a bit OCD when it came to things like that, but wasn't a huge tantrum thrower. Number two is more of the tantrum type and of the same lovely are as your two! It is so tough, isn't it. I have enjoyed reading everyones responses. I find that taking the time to explain to them 'what comes next' really helps in reducing tantrums and just making sure I follow through with any threats I make! Good luck my dear! x

  16. From experience it is all for you!!!! Walk out of the room and don't get involved. ( but keep and eye on them ) if they don't get you involved then the fun of it for them isn't there. Don't let them suck you into their battles. It's a lot about attention . You give them the reward of attention by entering into their battle. Try and give no feed back for the tantrums etc and see if it improves.

  17. Firstly congrats on your 400th post!!! I can see the glint in your little ones eye I've seen it before with my youngest, I adore her, she does prove to be a little 'spirited' at times that's for sure. It's really hard but I find they go through fazes good and bad but what I find with her is to be consistent and to have a routine, it makes it much easier for toddlers to predict. The other think I've found is just give them a couple of choices that way they feel like they are in control which is part of the battle with toddlers. Walking away, making sure they don't hurt themselves or others and just try and be concise with what you are telling them, still my biggest problem even now I tend to waffle a bit. I hope that helps and that your little girls get over their tantrum faze:) xx

  18. You are not alone, and it is a phase and will pass, like everyone has said already. I found if I had had enough sleep(!!!) I dealt with the situations better, if they had had enough sleep they were less fraught and I also factored in 'tantrum time' to everything so I got less stressed and just let them get it out of their systems. Good luck lady!! x

  19. I'm coming Greer!! Can't wait to see you and possibly (definitely) get a bit of time out with you. I agree on making some time for yourself a priority, definitely. I have 'raising girls' and 'raising your spirited child'...and a few others - grasping at straws myself sometimes ;). Will bring suitcase of books. Hang in there and remember, it's never too early for a G&T or a block of chocolate ;). Xx Aunty B

  20. Prayer! :) I say that with humor but also with humility and sincerity. We had a little bit of terrible twos - mainly with my daughter...and let me tell you, it wasn't just at age two either. I don't know why they give it an age, really. I think perhaps it's the child's inability to express what they want in words and they get frustrated and have little fits? Who knows.

    A book that helped us a lot: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. The author talks about how we (as parents) are trying to 'shepherd' the heart of our children, not just correct a behavior. It really is a heart attitude for our children (and us). Hope that helps. Can't remember other books at the moment.

  21. Ha ha - I had to laugh reading your post and the comments on it because I'm having exactly the same issues as you! My first two children - both boys - just didn't bother with tantrums and my third - a girl - spends half her life saying 'I no LIKE IT' or 'NO!!!' and hitting me/the floor/a brother or whatever's closest at hand. I've left her lying on the floor in shops before in the vain hope that she'll be so shocked by me leaving that she'll stop stropping. Wrong... With her I think it's that she can't cope with not getting her own way and I agree that you do have to picky our battles, but when it's things like not having chocolate five minutes before tea, I stick to my guns and just pray that the phase will soon pass.
    Good luck! And if you find a magic solution, please let me know!!
    Emily x

  22. I would recommend the blog Joyful Toddlers. It has helped me become a much mre patient mother. Good luck.


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