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The wonderful twos

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Reel Mama: The wonderful twos

Monday, January 23, 2012

The wonderful twos

“Enjoy every moment,” said the lady who had been smiling at my daughter and me as we sat in the yogurt shop.

Babies are consummate icebreakers.  They elicit smiles on stranger’s faces, and draw parents into in-depth conversations with people they might otherwise hardly acknowledge with a greeting.  One day almost a year ago I found myself drawn into such a conversation.  When my daughter threw her spoon on the floor, the kind lady at the next table got us another one.  Her kids were already grown, she had told me, and before she left, with a wink and a smile, she gave me her sage advice about never taking a single moment for granted.

The time has flown by since that brief encounter made an impression on me, and now my daughter has raced out of “babyhood” and into toddlerhood, and we are navigating the stormy waters of the “Terrible Twos.”  And I hate to admit that I’m not enjoying every single moment.  I’m taking too many moments for granted.  A lot of moments I’m tearing my hair out.  I’m confounded by the behavior of my headstrong little one who is suddenly a person announcing what she wants to eat and when; what she wants to wear and when; refuses to potty train; has a pretty large vocabulary, including the word “cappuccino,” but doesn’t understand the word “no,” and runs around naked when my head hurts and my body aches and she should have been in bed two hours ago.  I could go on but you get the idea.  Parenting a two-year-old is hard, and I was unprepared for it.

Here is how my friend Jane, a therapist and now stay-at-home mom, described her memories of her twin daughters being two:

Oh, how I remember that period.  It was FUN, exciting, and also challenging for me, as I learned how to allow my girls to learn and grow "on their own.”  It is just such a journey, not just for our children, but for us, parents, also. 

Jane is right about the journey.  While there are the very challenging moments, there are also so many fun and funny moments.  Yesterday during a church service a woman quietly complimented Leilani on her dress.  “You like my panties?” Leilani’s voice boomed.  Everybody stopped…and luckily, laughed.  Like I said, babies are the ultimate icebreakers, and so, I now know, are toddlers.

And it is exciting.  Leilani is discovering who she really is.  She delights in the world around her.  She can walk around in my shoes for an hour.  She’ll say something charming that catches me off guard but makes me feel like a million bucks, such as, “I like your nose!”  She runs up and hugs me from behind when I least expect it.  She has quite an imagination, and it seems we are always “off to see the Wizard” (or the “Lizard,” as she prefers to call him) and “looking for Oz.”  She’s even asked me, inspired by the Cowardly Lion’s request, “Can I get you some courage?  Do you need some courage?”

And the answer is, yes.  I need all the courage I can get, to face each day bravely, and with infinite patience.   And I need courage to face the reality that time is passing more quickly than I want it to, and Leilani is growing into a little girl before my eyes.

And I need to remember the lady’s sage advice.  I don’t want those little moments to get lost in the unpredictability of my life.  There is a lot to enjoy, and to treasure.  When the “Terrible Twos” aren’t terrible, they really are wonderful.


At January 25, 2012 at 6:41 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Toddlers say the funniest things. I agree that the terrible twos can be wonderful.

My daughter is almost 4 months old. I don't even know where these months went. It feels like just yesterday we were heading to labor and delivery. My son is almost 21. Time just flies.

At January 26, 2012 at 2:13 AM , Blogger Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

Thank you for the lovely comment, Dree! Very touching, I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. The time is flying by incredibly quickly. It's great to write everything down.


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