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True Tales from the Terrible Twos

True Tales from the Terrible Twos

We’ve reached toddlerdom on the Growing Good Dads blog, and this month we’re jumping headfirst into the Terrible Twos.

Why are they called the Terrible Twos? It’s obvious to any parent who’s had a 2-year-old. This period in a toddler’s physical and mental development is generally marked by increased tantrums, crankiness, assertiveness and defiance. Pediatricians and parenting experts say these unpleasant attitudes are a symptom of a latency between your youngster’s desires and their ability to communicate well. In other words, your 2-ish-year-old has needs but doesn’t have a good way to voice them.

This week on the blog, we collected real stories from dads who have gone through the Terrible Twos. These dads can look back on these tales and laugh now, even if it was far from funny at the time!


Chewing on Contaminates

When our daughter was two, she was always eating things that were not for consumption. She’s our second child, so we were already a bit lax with her, and our oldest wasn’t big on eating things he found on the floor.

We were on a first-name basis with poison control during our daughter’s Terrible Twos: She ate a whole mini tub of Vaseline. She downed a tube of ant poison. And for her grand finale, she convinced her brother and cousin to eat mouse poison. It’s laughable now but was SO not funny when it happened.

Thankfully, our daughter was very resilient. She was big enough that the ant poison didn’t affect her, and neither did the Vaseline. Both kids had to get their blood drawn following the mouse poison, though. For some reason, our daughter didn’t have any major traces after her levels came back from the lab, but our son had to do another blood draw to make sure the toxic levels were trending in the right direction after the fact. It was nerve-wracking early on, but funny looking back on it.

Both are healthy today and don’t like “crunch berries,” lol.


Bawling at Bass Pro

One Christmas we went to get our picture taken with Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shops and I learned a valuable lesson on staying controlled as a parent.

As we were waiting in line, my son was refusing to sit on Santa’s lap and causing quite a commotion. I was growing more and more irritated with his behavior, so I grabbed his arm and pulled him up from the ground. My son pulled down at the same time, and as a result I pulled his elbow right out of place.

So instead of getting our picture taken with Santa we were meeting a doctor friend of ours in the parking lot to put my son’s elbow back in place.


Bonked & Bleeding in the Bath

During bath time my daughter kept standing up and splashing. As a neatnik, I was growing more and more frustrated with her splashing water out of the bath. My strategy to get her to stop was to tell her that she would fall and hurt herself if she didn’t stay sitting.

I guess I spoke a bad thing into existence because the next time she stood up, she slid and hit her chin on the side of the tub. When she hit the tub, she bit her tongue and split it right down the middle. She looked like she had a snake tongue—with blood everywhere. My warning was accurate, but it’s definitely not the way I wanted her to learn her lesson. After several popsicles, we got her to calm down. Thankfully, there was no scary scarring.


LEARN MORE: E300– Saying “NO” to your toddler

Googling “How many eggs are enough to kill a small child?”

As you start introducing more and more foods to your kids, their tastes and preferences seem to change with the wind. One day they love carrots, the next day they will only eat cucumbers. Or maybe yesterday they loved grilled cheese, but today refuse to eat anything but macaroni and cheese. And sometimes, even though they have tried and liked certain foods, they will eventually refuse to eat anything. That happened to me with my son.

He was doing a good job expanding his palate for a while, but one week we hit a snag: He decided he only wanted to eat scrambled eggs. For every meal.

For almost three full days, he would only eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I got a little worried that we were going to give the kid some sort of heart or artery disease only seen in people above 50. I asked a physician friend who laid my fears to rest, and he reminded me that, “This too shall pass.”

He was right. One day my son just decided he was done with scrambled eggs. He wouldn’t eat them for a couple months as he moved onto a balanced diet of fruit snacks, macaroni and cheese, and applesauce. But hey…that’s show business!


The Granddaddy of all Messes

I left our daughter unsupervised for only a couple minutes. (Famous last words, right?) She got a bottle of chocolate syrup out of the fridge, opened it, set it on the carpet in the living room, and used it as a trampoline!

I came back to find a huge puddle of fudge sauce all over the floor. And she’d used the TV screen as her canvas for her artwork, smearing it all over the glass.

It was truly a mess of epic proportions. In addition to needing to scrub down all the walls, I also had to rent a carpet cleaner. I cleaned it as best I could, but I remember there was still a faint stain. I wonder if we ever got charged a cleaning fee after moving out of that apartment.


American Ninja Warrior, but for Babies

My oldest once climbed out of the freaking window of our apartment, and a complete stranger had to bring her back and ask if she was mine! I was so mad: You turn your back for five seconds and then …

I guess the screen on the window was no match for her. I took our oldest to the park basically every day, and she got to be a good climber! Very good at monkey bars! Unbeknownst to me, I was actually training her for the big escape. Thankfully the window was only about two feet off the ground.

There was a lake near our apartment complex, so it’s pretty scary that she could have fallen in.


Lego Language

We were in the kitchen when we heard our youngest coming up the stairs, except he had some choice language with every step. He was still young enough that he had to take the stairs one step at a time, so I still remember the distinctive pattern:

Step, step “dammit!”

Step, step “dammit!”

Step, step “dammit!”

We called down to our son to inquire what the problem could have been, eager to learn the source of the “dammits”.

“My Legos are stuck together!” he explained. “I can’t get them apart!”

After the initial laughter, we had to have a conversation later about what was and wasn’t appropriate language.



We hope you’ll join us all this month for practical tips and advice for surviving and thriving as a dad during the Terrible Twos! 

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