Terrible Twos: A Sign Of What Lies Ahead?

Miss L, our 21 month old, has taken on a new set of behaviours lately. It has become most obvious in terms of her new bedtime antics. For a week or two now, our darling (said through clenched teeth) has caused us no end of frustration in her reluctance to go to sleep. Initially we thought it was the result of later day time sleeps over school holidays.

I now believe it to be a sign that the Terrible Twos are headed our way.

Bedtime is the new playtime in our house, with our little treasure not settling until anywhere between 10pm and midnight. Previously, she would simply get into our bed with a bottle, which she would consume then roll over and go off to sleep. Easy.But this routine seems to have been replaced with a whole new array of boundary testing of late, with the result being a smug little one and two overtired, grumpy parents. We find ourselves shaking our head at the ‘opinions’ being thrown our way – seemingly overnight.

Last night, Miss L drank her bottle, rolled over, and instead of going off to sleep, simply smirked at us as she sat up, pointed and demanded we put on ‘Emma’, her favourite Wiggles character TV show. Of course we didn’t, so she then proceeded to get up, reach over for the remotes and start pressing all the buttons to try and put it on herself. A tantrum ensued as we stripped these from her possession, so the persistent little Miss clambered over the top of us to try and reach them again. This ritual continued for at least another five or six times until the remotes were hidden from her, upon which time she attempted to reach for both our phones instead.

She would not lie still, and threw herself from side to side, kicking her legs out from under the blanket continually and refusing to settle. Both Lis and I took turns to place her back in her sleeping position, growing more and more frustrated and eager for sleep each time. Finally, in a very clear statement of defiance – she turned and SMIRKED at us as she flopped down on her stomach with her feet where her head should be and proceeded to kick her legs right near my face. As I spoke sternly to her, she giggled at me!

It’s all of a sudden a huge game to her. One that we have not the slightest inclination to play.

Thinking maybe she is growing and was hungry, we decided to give her another bottle. As I went to the kitchen to grab one, she bounded out of bed to follow me. Standing at the fridge, she pointed to the three bottles I prepared earlier, instructing me to reach for one. As I did, she started bellowing at me in a Hitler fashion ‘No no no no no no’ – in the same way that dozy old character from the Vicar of Dibley does – very quickly in succession.


It was clear that she felt I had made the wrong colour choice, so, overtired and keen for the easy option, I reached for another coloured bottle instead. The same response ensued. The game continued until I lost patience and grabbed one, slamming the fridge door shut in the process. I started making my way back to bed. Miss L remained in the kitchen roaring with rage. I waited for her to traipse in after me. She didn’t. Unwilling to concede her loss, the little mite stood there and howled, refusing to return with me to the bedroom. I went back out, picked her up and took her to bed. The battle of wills continued, with her then refusing to drink the bottle and resuming her position at the foot of the bed.

Finally after more kicking and clambering, she fell asleep on top of the covers, down the other end of the bed.

Both Lis and I were shattered at the end of this episode, and wondered how in the world our sweet little girl had turned into such a melodramatic monster.  If this, at the ripe old age of 21 months, is any indication of what lies ahead for us, I am viewing her teen years with great trepidation.

We awoke this morning to be greeted by our chirpy, cheerful, happy little girl. In true Jekyll and Hyde fashion, the monster had dissipated and the angel returned. The only monsters to be found were the two of us, who were completely foul after so little sleep the night before. Are the ‘Terrible Twos’ in fact Mother Nature’s crystal ball to give us the ‘Heads Up’ that great animosity and conflict await us in future? I truly cannot remember any of the other kids being quite so forthright at such a young age. Or maybe it is another of those ‘tricks’ our mind plays in ensuring the survival of the species – you know, the one where we instantly ‘forget’ the agony of childbirth and so go back again and again for more torture in subsequent pregnancies?

Not convinced, Lisa told me this morning that she understands why some animals eat their offspring…

For some reason, my own mother finds this story incredibly amusing.

I have no idea why…


One thought on “Terrible Twos: A Sign Of What Lies Ahead?

  1. Try an earlier bedtime, like 7 pm. if she persists in refusing to go to sleep put her in a cot in her own room. You will never win a control battle with a two year old. So do not negotiate or talk much about what is happening. Have a set routine and persist.


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