Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the number two. There are many things that come in twos, which I love: jeans, for example. You’d look pretty ridiculous if you didn’t have a pair of them. Or double quarter pounders with cheese.
But there is a certain ‘number two’, which sends shudders down the spine of all parents (no- not that one…) and it’s one which we’ve not long entered. Yes, it’s ‘The Terrible Twos’.
Jude turned two in February and over the past few months he’s been slowly metamorphosing from ‘I’m just happy to be able to stick my foot in my mouth’ baby to a ‘Everyone everywhere only exists to do my bidding’ toddler. In the last week we’ve reached peak mayhem, where to the casual observer you might think the only word in his vocabulary is ‘No!’ Or to be more accurate, a short, shrill “NAAAOOOW!”
If he’s taken against an idea or suggestion, you will be abruptly made aware of Jude’s thoughts on the matter… “NAOW!”. Following this however, you can then ask him what you like, and you’ll get the same response:
“Jude, would you like to only eat sweets for the rest of your life?” – “NAOW!”
“Jude, do you want me to keep paying into your savings account until you’re 18, when in fact I could use the money to buy myself more double quarter pounders?” – NAOW!”
For occasions where Jude really wants you to know his feelings about something, you’ll not only get a verbal retort, you’ll also see a classic demonstration of the ‘supermarket’ paddy. You know the one, where the toddler throws themselves on the floor and pounds the ground in anger. Toddler tantrum 101 also dictates that this must take place in the most public place possible, ideally a supermarket, for maximum effect.
The other most prominent place I’ve noticed the birth of the terrible twos is on car journeys. I write this whilst on holiday in the Cotswolds. Our day trips out all seem to be about a 20-30 minutes long, which in children’s terms, I feel is an acceptable length. For the terrible two toddler however, anything more than pulling out the driveway and doing a quick lap around the block is akin to asking them to participate in Le Mans 24hrs. “You mean to say I’m expected to sit here with sweets to eat, beautiful scenery to take in and quite frankly, fascinating commentary from Daddy about the history of Blenheim Palace for a whole 25 minutes?! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”.
So in glorious 25˚C sunshine, with the sun pouring in through the windows, we put ‘Intense night rain’ from Spotify on the radio. Very soon the terrible twos toddler quietens down and peace is momentarily restored. It may be that he’s relaxed by the soothing rain sounds. Or perhaps he’s just very, very confused.
This blog first appeared in the July’21 edition of ‘The Fens’ magazine where Jonny writes a monthly column