The tender, terrible, two-year-old blues

Sample of real life conversation between my kids:

Five year old: “Don’t point that at me!”

Pretend shooting noises from my two-year-old.

Five year old: “Stop it!”

More shooting.

Five year old: “Stop it! I’m tired of these Lego gun games!”

Two year old: “Stop it!

Five year old: “Stop copying me! These are my words!”

Me to two year old: Can I help you?

Two year old: “NO!! I do it!” (two seconds later) “Mama, help!!!!!!!!”

Actually, he is two years and eight months old.

Five year old: “You’re just getting coal for Christmas!”

Two year old: “Roar!”


Five year old, happy: “I’m Puss in Boots!”

Two year old: “No, I’M Puss in Boots!”

Five year old, frustrated: “I’m Spiderman!”

Two year old: “No, I’M Spiderman!”

Five year old: “I just need some space!”  He marches away. The two year old follows him while contentedly humming the “Ants Go Marching” song.


The two year old is crying because we have said good-bye to his big brother.

Me: Are you sad?

Two year old: YES!

Me: Why?

Two year old: Because Max no give Mi-nuls huggy in kindergarten”.

Good times. Can two years old be over now? Bring on three, please, or I might not make it.

angry max_nov

happy max_nov

9 thoughts on “The tender, terrible, two-year-old blues

  1. extechie says:

    Sara, I don’t know if you are looking for unsolicited advice or you are just venting. If it is the latter, then feel free to ignore this comment as the “assvice” it probably is. However, if you ARE looking for advice, I have to ask if are you familiar with the books by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish? The first book I read by them is called “How to Talk So Kids Can Learn,” when I was drowning under the weight of (not) teaching my Spanish-dominant students at PS 128 in Washington Heights. It was an absolute life-saver, and I assigned it to my students when I taught undergrads in the Elementary Ed program at IU. Since then, I’ve poured over “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk,” which is their first book, and I checked out “Siblings without Rivalry” from the Durham Public Library in preparation for the arrival of our newest daughter at the end of January — which I read in one night and have continued renewing in the hopes that just having it close by when the baby arrives will somehow magically ward off incipient sibling rivalry on Clara’s part. Magical Thinking, moi?

    All their books are loaded with easy-to-read and easy-to-follow advice on how to handle what kids say to each other without losing your mind (or allowing the kids to cause permanent long-term damage to themselves or others…)

    I HIGHLY recommend them to all parents/teachers I know who struggle with listening to their kids/students pick on each other.

    Lots of love,

    • skpadilla says:

      This is such a helpful message! Honestly I haven’t cracked a parenting book since I read way too many “what to expect” and then at least a dozen “how to get your child to SLEEP” books in those early years. I am putting the books you mention on hold first thing tomorrow. It really helps to have a referral from someone who knows what she’s talking about and someone I trust. Thank you so much!!!

  2. extechie says:

    PS — If you are just venting, I FEEL YOUR PAIN, sister! Listening to kids bicker saps energy faster than soaking in a cold pool.

  3. Sue Housholder says:

    Each year brings on different attitudes and behaviors. I know it is hard to fathom, but treasure each one. You will look back on them as times goes by and embrace all the memories that you are creating right now !!

  4. Sue Housholder says:

    P.S. I guess I really should have said, treasure the memories that your boys are creating right now !!

  5. Lauren says:

    “Two year old: ‘NO!! I do it!’ (two seconds later) ‘Mama, help!!!!!!!!'”

    Yeah, this is my life.

  6. evafannon says:

    Oh, good, I’m not alone…this sounds exactly like our place!!

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