Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to have two kids, or what the hardest thing about it is. Frankly, the hardest part is having a two-year-old. I’m not sure if everyone’s kids are this frustrating when they’re two, but sometimes I start wondering if I’m doing everything wrong. He yells at me when I’m on the phone, sits/lies on Duplo despite being told thousands of times not to, kicks me and Duplo (not hard, but, again, he knows not to), throws quite a few tantrums, usually doesn’t go to bed without a fight, wakes up at least once most nights (only for the time it takes for me to put him back to bed with a kiss, but still), and is generally disagreeable and disobedient. Plus, out of the blue, he’s become more shy around other kids, and he freaks out if I so much as lock the bathroom door when I’m in there. Aren’t most kids over their separation anxiety by now?
The thing that’s most frustrating is that I feel like we’re doing everything right—except one thing, which I’ll get to later. I don’t let him get away with stuff. If he starts doing something against the rules, I tell him to stop and count to one. When he gets to three, he gets a two-minute time out in the crib. Every time. Whether we’re in public, or I’m on the phone, or Grandma’s over, this is the case. When he gets out of bed at night, we put him back without talking to him. Over and over and over. We do a consistent bedtime routine (well, we just changed it this week because I suspected the old one wasn’t working as well as it could). I spend time playing with him and reading to him and doing activities with him. I involve him in helping with Duplo. I’m very affectionate, and I rarely yell.
The one thing we haven’t been that great about is being religious about his bedtime. We moved, so his nap got missed. Then it’s a week of weirdness before things get back on track, and meanwhile he’s freaking out about a new place to sleep and bedtime is always later than it should be. People have been visiting a lot this summer, or we’ve been on vacation. He misses naps sometimes, or he takes them too late, or too short, or too long. He stays up too late and then sleeps in and then won’t nap on time or at all. Whatever the case, it seems that Lego is often overtired.
On vacation last week, he was having such a hard time sleeping that he was getting about two hours less of sleep than he should per day. By the fifth day of that, he was a nightmare. He clung to me, screamed about the slightest things that went wrong, and was jealous with and rough to Duplo. That night, he went to bed on time and woke up on time. The next day, he was delightful. It was like Jekyll and Hyde, no exaggeration.
So this week, Jon Boy and I have decided to be as consistent as possible with bedtime. And do you know what? Lego has been extremely cranky and difficult. He’s getting a bit better about going to bed without too much fight, but that’s really the only improvement I’ve noticed. Today he resisted his nap so much that it got too late, and I gave up. Now he’s cranky yet again.
I’m just worn out and tired of being tired and tired of being patient. I’m tired of giving time outs for the same three things over and over. I want him to sleep better, but I can’t make him do it. And until he does, he and everyone around him are going to be miserable.