Yesterday I went to one of my toddler group's coffee sessions in a house that I've not been to before. The host mum just so happens to have been in the same secondary school as me, but a few years below, and it's been strange meeting up with her again. She has four fabulous children and is a marvellous mum, I've asked her advice many a time since the beginning of the summer holidays.
Chatting to her, we discussed The Boy's growing need to assert his authority and display of emotions (terrible twos? My child? Never! Ha!) and she was explaining that around this age, or just before they hit the age of three, they have their first surge of testosterone. Apparently, it's recommended that they spent as much time as possible with their father to a) have the male influence rubbed off on them, and b) be put back into their place like pack animals trying to assert themselves as the alpha-male.
I found this really interesting and thought about it all day. He has become more 'trying' lately, and I know that it's the stage of development. I know he's finding growing independence and confidence, this is apparent as he will now talk to anyone telling them "I'm (his name) and this is mummy!" or "Hello lady, what's your name?". I also know that he's becoming overwhelmed with a rush of hormones and emotions, so that when he's told 'no' it becomes the most traumatic event in the world and he will often have a mini-paddy resulting in tears. He becomes confused by this, if I ask him why he's crying he will tell me through the tears "I don't know" and try valiantly to stop it. I hold him close, wipe his face and kiss his tears away. With the odd occasional paddy, I've sat him on the sofa as a 'time-out' spot and had to walk away to breathe and remember that he is only a child, and I'm the adult.
Rewinding to the coffee session, The Boy picked up a toy rifle and brought it over to me on the sofa. He asked me what it was and I told him that it was a not-nice toy and he wouldn't be playing with it. Luckily the host wasn't around to be offended, but am I alone in thinking 'I don't want my two year old playing with guns'? I don't want him ever to think that guns are ok, I will never buy or allow a toy-weapon into the house. One of the other mums was sat next to me on the sofa and affirmed my actions by saying she didn't allow them in her house either (and she's a childminder too). It was at this point that The Boy brought over the toy highchair in the room, placed the baby lying on the floor in it and preceeded to feed it a biscuit.
(This is a post in two halves, the above was written last night, below relates to today's antics)
Today, has been a bad day with the hormones. It's not helped by the fact that he's poorly and knackered. If he will wake up at four o'clock and demand to play with the iPod what does he expect? (No, I didn't let him!)
We're both shattered as a result, but it's not helped by these tantrums when he can't get his own way. A friend came over for lunch and took too long leaving. It meant that he was late going to bed and as a result neither of us had any patience. I asked him six times to take his trousers and pants off and sit on the potty. He ignored me so in the end I did it. Which is when it all went pear-shaped. He kicked, screamed, shouted, hit, lashed out and sobbed hysterically. I remained calm telling myself that I am the adult and he is the child. But it's hard when you're little precious bundle is kicking you in the chest as you struggle to get his pull-ups on his moving feet. In the end, I put him in his cot sans clothes and excited the room to sit on the toilet and cry. I didn't, because that would have frightened him even more. When I went back in a minute later, he was astonished and apologetic.
I looked at him and I saw so much: my innocent and placid baby, my clever and inquisitive toddler, and me. I saw me with the teenage rage as I struggled with hormones. Not knowing why I was screaming into my pillow, just knowing that I had to. Only he's two and I don't want that for him. We hugged each other and his sobs subsided.
People talk about girls being hard-work, but no-one warned me about the testosterone! Anything else I need to know?