Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Tantalizing, Tremendous Far-from-Terrible Twos

In 2012, I became a Grandma for the first time. I swear, I was NOT one of those parents who is constantly after their kids to procreate. I thought I'd be well into my dotage before I became a grandma - if then. (My daughter, whose cousin-slash-best-friend had a horrendous labor, frequently expressed her misgivings about having kids.) In fact, when my son called to tell me his baby news, I flat-out didn't believe him. By the time I saw an ultrasound picture, I was in love.

My husband and I had been thinking of downsizing at some point, so it wasn't a difficult decision to pack up and sell our house in Cincinnati and move to Chicago, where I grew up, so I could help with child care. I started babysitting for Adaline when she was six weeks old and I love every minute I spend with her. My daughter Jessica moved to Chicago from Florida so she could be closer to Adaline, and she takes an active role in Adaline's daily life. In June 2014 Adaline started attending day care, primarily so she could associate with other kids. I had misgivings at first but she's clearly thriving there. She adjusted very quickly to the new routine. Nowadays, she eats lunch and takes her nap at day care and I pick her up (sometimes with Auntie Gecca, sometimes with Grandpa) and she comes back here to play until Mommy and Daddy pick her up.

Two-year-olds suffer the stigma of "Terrible Twos" and I remember my own kids exhibiting some challenging behavior at this age. From the standpoint of a grandma (and my daughter shares my thinking on this), I absolutely love Age Two.

The most fun part, for me, is listening to Adaline discover the power and joy of being able to express her likes and dislikes, and to ask questions - lots of questions. She's changing physically too, of course. Adaline has learned to jump and bounce and do somersaults. She isn't particularly tall, but she's tall enough to reach the kitchen counters now, and she can climb on chairs to see what's on the table, too. She's curious about everything, which means no one has any privacy in the bathroom any more. Potty training has begun in earnest, at her insistence, and she likes company when sitting on her little potty.

I raised two kids - a boy and a girl - so you'd think I'd have this parenting routine down pat. I'm the oldest of five kids and I spent a good chunk of my life babysitting and doing child care at home, so add on that experience. But every child is different, and so much happens when kids are growing, it's easy to forget. I'm something of a worrier - years of reading mystery books has me constantly imagining Worse Case Scenarios - but I try not to get bogged down in what-ifs. I try to use reasonable safety precautions without overdoing it.

Sometimes I learn from my mistakes, and other times I'm reminded how joyful life can be from a toddler's perspective.

1. When little girls want to play with lipstick, they REALLY want to play with lipstick!


2. When a two-year-old colors, he or she is going to end up covered in colors, too. The same goes for food and drink - no matter how careful they are, two-year-olds always end up wearing food and beverages.



3. If there is an opportunity for a two-year-old to get soaking wet, they will do it.






4. Two-year-olds are endlessly fascinated with potties


5. Two-year-olds are disguise artists!




6. Best of all, two-year-olds love to laugh (especially when Auntie Gecca comes to play)!




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