Two year olds cop a bad rap. Sure they’re wildly erratic and hyper-emotional at times. Sure they like to trash clothing, furniture, cars, siblings and well….pretty much everything. But there’s got to be some good aspects as well right?
I spent a big chunk of Focker #1’s terrible twos hidden away at the office. Perhaps that’s why I don’t have too many memories of major meltdowns or terrible tantrums. I do recall some of his little quirks, but only with fondness. Although, Mrs D-E-D assures me that he definitely had his moments.
On the flip side, now that I’m a SAHD, I’ve had a front row seat to Focker #2’s finest ‘terrible two’ moments. And she’s had a fair few. Rather than write about the horror of it all, I’ve decided to find the silver lining in this little storm cloud, and document some of the advantages of having a two year old for company on a daily basis. Here’s five of the best.
- Toddlers are fantastic for incidental exercise. They’re heavier than a baby, but still like to be picked up and cuddled. Except when they don’t. But then they do. And then they don’t. Up down, up down. Likewise they’re too big for the pram, but not strong enough to walk, ride or scoot on their own for any distance. Inevitably you end up carrying them, as well as their bike / scooter, their teddy, blanky, and the bunch of sticks and frangipani flowers that they’ve insisted you stop and collect along the way.
- You will never get lonely while using the toilet. There’ll always be a little helper there to unroll the entire toilet paper roll into a pile on the floor for you. Likewise the shower. While it’s lovely to have some company in this daily ritual, the fact that your nether regions are in her direct line of sight is slightly disconcerting – particularly when she slips on the soap and has to reach out and grab something to stabilise herself.
- Two year olds are great for reducing your own screen time. In moments of desperation, when Focker #2 is approaching DEFCON 5 and a full meltdown is imminent, I have been known to quickly YouTube some Wiggles on my phone in an attempt to create a diversion. It usually works. Now whenever I pull out my phone to make a call, read an email or just veg out, within seconds there’s a little person standing beside me demanding to: “Watch Wiggles daddee phone.” This has made me think twice before pulling my phone out when she’s around, meaning that she gets my undivided attention instead of my phone.
- You become exceptionally good at cooking macaroni and chicken nuggets. And not much else. I have a massive arsenal of toddler friendly recipes where the healthy stuff is supposedly so well concealed, that the toddler is deceived into eating it. This might work on your average two year old, but not our Focker #2. That kid can smell a vegetable from 100 yards out, and will stubbornly refuse to even sample anything that’s not laced with MSG. If there was a MasterChef series where they cooked nothing but chicken nuggets and macaroni cheese I’d be certain to take out the title.
- Two year olds give you a new appreciation for the comfort of your own home. They achieve this by making any form of travel that takes more than about 30 minutes a complete nightmare. I recently took both kids on a short flight to visit their grandparents in regional WA. What would ordinarily be a pleasant 50 minute flight- just long enough to quickly browse the airline magazine, throw back a beer and close my eyes for 10 minutes – turned into an epic battle of wills. To my horror and shame, Focker #2 refused to conform with every civil aviation regulation ever invented and instead screamed her defiance to anyone within five rows of where we were seated for the entire flight. I’ll spare you the gory details, suffice to say that the time we reached our destination I was mentally and spiritually broken. Too shattered to even walk off the plane. As the departing passengers filed past me and my little fockers, a surprising number of them threw me a sympathetic look, a quiet word of encouragement, a reassuring pat on the shoulder, and even an awkward hug from a strange smelling grandmotherly type.
And that I guess is another advantage to having a toddler. They promote solidarity with your fellow parents. Because we’ve all been there. We’ve all been that mum or dad with the terrible child on the flight. We’ve all been the one cooking a delicious new recipe only to throw the whole lot in the bin. Uneaten. We’ve all sat on a toilet wishing for five minutes of solitude while the toilet roll unravels before your eyes. Solidarity forged through the adversity that is raising a toddler.
On that note, Focker #2 is currently taking a nap (another advantage right there) and the house is blissfully silent, so I’m off to sit on the toilet on my own. Perhaps I’ll even get the chance to look at my phone…