two year old shoutingHaving children is hard work. We’re underappreciated. They’re overstimulated. We want them to not poop in that really nice pair of pants. They want to eat pasta and cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ever since my daughter was born, no matter what phase of infancy or toddlerhood we’re in, all I keep hearing is, “Oh, just you wait until _____. It’s horrible!” So, you can imagine my fear and trepidation as my toddler turned 2 — especially since she had started “acting 2” early.

It’s become a cultural understanding that kids experience the “terrible twos.” And when they turn 3, they become “threenagers.” I seriously question how true this is — and I wonder if it might be a problem we’ve created.

Yes, age 2 is hard. I’ve survived my daughter’s meltdown after I ripped her bagel in half when she wanted to eat it whole (after she told me to break it in pieces). I’ve been there, in a hurry to get to work, when she decided she wanted to try to put her jacket on by herself, and then once she finally did it after the 27th try, she immediately took it off so she could try again. She is starting to resist naps, even though she is clearly exhausted. She is “helpful” by unfolding all the laundry I have folded. She climbs on everything and scares me half to death regularly. But does this make the twos terrible?

But, she is also discovering the world. She is learning numbers, colors, and shapes. She is engaging in make believe play by offering her toys some dinner. She is taking interest in those around her and reacting to our reactions, hamming it up, eager to be helpful and eager to please.

Yes, she doesn’t always know how to do it. And that’s OK. She’s only had two years of life experience! And how does labeling her or her cohort “terrible” make things any easier? If anything, doesn’t it set up the expectation of a difficult time, even before she opens her mouth? How is that fair to any of us?

Let’s make one thing clear — I am not in any way, shape, or form some kind of supermom. I raise my voice, and I get exasperated when my daughter tests the limits and sees how she can assert herself. And then I remember that she is learning the very skills I want her to have.

She is learning tenacity, independence, and perseverance. She is learning to fight for what she believes in. The very skills she is learning now are what will help her develop into, and hopefully remain, the strong, resilient woman I wish for her to be. So, yes, on some days we see the “terrible twos.” But this stages is not terrible! She is not terrible. She is terrific! My terrific 2-year-old!

And now, here’s to hoping I will read and reread this post after each and every meltdown she has this year!

Lindsay Goldberg
Lindsay Goldberg is a working mom who then comes home and works there, too. She loves finding quick, healthy recipes to make for her family and lives for her Sunday morning escape to the gym. She has given up on trying to find balance, and is, instead focused on surviving and being Good Enough. Likes- books, family dance parties, morning snuggles, and drinking coffee when it's still hot. Dislikes- recipes with more than 10 ingredients or 10 steps, winter, and deadlines


  1. Oh mama… Have you ever laughed about the mom who says “why is everyone complaining? My kid is four days old and sleeps just fine, I get plenty done!” … Right now you’re being that mom.

    • Hi N,
      Don’t get me wrong… I never said it was easy! My daughter is very challenging, testing, and tantruming…. but, not ‘terrible’. that was my point.

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