Terrible Twos? Please…

We have all seen the tantruming toddler at the grocery store, crying child at the park, and hard-to-calm kiddo at a restaurant and likely thought the same thing…oh, the terrible twos.  I know that I have uttered those words to clients’ parents, and the thought crossed my mind when around cousins, friends, or when babysitting. The terrible twos are to be expected, right?

Well, to the terrible twos, I say “phooey!” A the mom of an 18-month-old, I have officially decided that the phrase should be “terrible twos plus or minus one year.”  Who cares if it is a mouthful? It is true!

99% of people who know my daughter would, and do, say that she is a quiet, shy little angel who never puts up a fuss. Daycare has never had an issue, and babysitters report nothing but good things. However, just like many parents would say, she is a closet monster. I mean that in the most endearing, loving way. Little miss J is a very independent, smart, sassy little girl. This has resulted in many power struggles in the past four or five months. It is another case of the terrible twos plus or minus one year!!

Having already dealt with my fair share of episodes of plates of food being thrown or tears being shed over the wrong coat being grabbed (yep, we are already having wardrobe opinions), I can’t help but think…how much worse is this going to get?! I was (am) a stubborn, temperamental child who was perfect when around those outside of my family. My mother reports that we butted heads quite a bit starting from about two years of age. You know what I say to that? CRAP! It IS bound to get plenty worse! Karma is a b—-, right?

I am writing this not because I have words of wisdom to share with fellow moms, but more because I’m dreading the tantrums to come. I realize that it is a part of motherhood. Tantrums are a typical part of childhood and development. Tantruming kids are often typically developing kids. However, nobody WANTS this to be true. Tantrums test our patience, and after a long day at work the last thing we want is for our children to throw food on the floor because the spoon just wouldn’t quite work the right way.

To tell you the truth, I have never been overly annoyed with the kid who throws a fit at the store. Have I been annoyed with his/her parent and how the fit was handled? Sure, at times, but that is a different story. However, I now count my blessings every time I make it through a grocery trip without tears or screams, as I know those days are likely around the corner. Now whenever I hear screams coming from aisle five, I pick up my pace in hopes my kid won’t catch on!  Oh, the terrible twos…plus or minus one year, of course!


I give mad props to all those mothers I see with three kids under four, four kids under five, toddler twins, greater multiples, etc. etc. How you do it I will never know! For many reasons, having so many young children would be tough. However, knowing what I do now about how kids act so much differently when with only Mom and Dad vs. the babysitter, friend, or other outsider…eep! I hate to see what may happen behind closed doors. Good luck to you!

I love my little “sometimes monster’s” attitude, intelligence, and stubbornness, even if it makes my husband and I want to scream from time to time. I smile when I hear reports of how she was the sweetest girl at daycare, and I cringe when I strap her in the carseat and listen to the cries for bananas and applesauce the whole way home. Yay for those terrible twos!  And threes, and probably fours, and those teen years. Eek! There is so much (gulp) to look forward to!

Although I have no advice to give, nor am I really looking for any, I would love to hear words of wisdom from you women that have been through it! I really can’t complain, as Jessa has been an overall easy baby and toddler. I just expect that the most “fun” times are yet to come, and I am planning for some real doozies!


*Photo courtesy of Microsoft Stock Photos.


Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. My daughter is 21 months and right around 18 mos, she turned into a Satanic Toddler. The tantrums are the worst! I try really hard to keep it together, especially in public. Sometimes I just stand there and let her do her thing on the ground, writhing and flailing, but I do worry about what people around me are thinking of me. Many times I catch them giving me a sympathetic smile as we all step around the tantruming toddler… but sometimes, like at a restaurant two weeks ago, they glare at me as if I have some sort of audacity to go out in public with a toddler. It’s hard.

    Props to you for dealing with the tantrums positively and the best way we can — with gritted teeth, patience (as much as possible), and the resolve that this will all end eventually!! 🙂

    • We have mostly lucked out (mostly…) that she has been OK when we eat out. I’m just waiting for those dirty looks!

  2. On the bright side the wardrobe issues only last a little while. My daughter would only wear certain things when she was a toddler. From about four until now (eight) she lets me pick out her clothes each day.

    • Laura, I’m excited to hear that! I’m going to want to pick her clothes out forever. While I hate doing it for myself, it is so fun with a girl!


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