May 18, 2012

Terrible Two.

Oh, hey, two weeks ago I wrote a post about how awesome two-year-olds are. This week I'm going to retract that and say the exact opposite thing, OK?

This week with Tessa has been terrible. She's made me mad before, and she's worn me out and she's frustrated me, but she's never actually said or done anything that hurt my feelings to the core ... until now.

It started with a quick road trip that we took to Memphis last weekend to visit Nekos's 95-year-old grandfather. We thought it would be good practice for future road trips with her because we'd decided we want to travel more with her, and dream of taking her to Grayton Beach in Florida, to Louisville, to Charleston, and on and on. She didn't nap on the way there, and also, she didn't want me to nap. As soon as I would doze off in the passenger seat, she'd command me to wake up. By the time we got to Memphis, she was in a rage, was mean to Nekos's grandfather, and threw a fit so heinous, so loud and so hysterical at a BBQ restaurant that Nekos and I both embarrassed ourselves by losing our cool with a two-year-old. We had to take our food to go, and we let the incident put a damper on our whole weekend. Who is this little person? we wondered. Why is she so pissed off? 

And then, on Monday, when I told Tessa, "Oh, Tessa, I love you," like I do 95 times a day, she looked at me and said, "No. I don't love you." I told her to never say that again, and she must have seen the hurt in my eyes because she's pulled the same sentence out for use over and over again this week. It's her artillery, and when I get pummeled with it, I have to pretend it doesn't hurt. It does. It hurts so bad. And she only says it after I tell her I love her so I guess I should just stop that for awhile? She also started saying that she doesn't like me this week. And she repeats herself, just so she's clear about it. 

Other things have happened throughout the week. There was a tantrum in the car when I was driving on the interstate. She started slapping herself in the face and screaming and there was nothing I could do but bite my lip and cry. 

And for the first time, there was a time this week when she preferred that my mom hold her instead of me. This didn't bother me too much because I adore my mom and I love the relationship she and Tessa have. But when Tessa fell down last night at a playground and started howling and refused to let me comfort her--instead going running into the arms of one of my girlfriends--I felt totally dejected. 

And then there was today. I always have a babysitter on Fridays so that I can go get some work done at a nearby coffee shop. But this week we had to have a new girl come, not her usual 'sitter. And Tessa wasn't pleased with the personnel change. She threw the worst fit I have ever seen her throw, and that's saying a lot. She was kicking and hitting the babysitter. And when I left, I could hear her hurling herself against our front door screaming bloody murder. 

I drove only a block away from house before I pulled over to cry. Again, who is this little person? Why is she so pissed off? And, of course, What am I doing wrong?

Tessa's feelings scare me. But so do my own. This whole week I've felt terrified by the thought that I don't like my own kid. I love her, but I haven't liked her, not this week. I really, really hope next week is better. 


  1. Funny, because teenage girls are the EXACT.SAME.WAY! One minute the most loveable and fun EVER and the next there is a lot of "I don't love you words, looks and body language"
    I've seen this with my stepdaughter and with all these hormonal pre-teens that I teach at middle school. So...what I'm saying, is it doesn't really get better, it just changes. And adore and embrace those good moments, those good days,and the kind words that are surely to make their way back sooner or later. And, trust that she loves you despite her not saying it or showing it.

  2. This post right here is why your blog is one of my favorites. You share the good and bad. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time with Tessa. I'm not a mom but my nephew went through a phase where all he would say whenever I went to my sister-in-law's house was "I hate you" "I don't want you to be here" and other various atrocities, and it was so hurtful. I tried to remind myself that he was just a kid and he was only saying it because he knew it would get a rise out of me and he thought it was funny, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. Here is hoping this weekend and next week are better for you <3

  3. Don't will eventually pass! Some times with toddlers the only thing you can do is ride out the phase they are going through. :/. Just do your best to keep your cool and remember what an amazing mom you are! Tessa is an awesome kid...she's just trying to figure out her place in this crazy world and assert some newfound independence. Hang in there! :)

  4. No, you should definitely NOT stop telling her you love her.

  5. I read somewhere that the fact kids fall apart in front of us means that they trust us not to leave them on the side of the road.... great... thanks for trusting me kid. ;)
    When my kids do stuff like that it usual means they are hungry, tired or their world is changing and they are a little freaked out. I read some of the Positive Discipline books and it really helped me understand a lot and I think it helped my relationship with my kids. My kids also acted out a lot more when I was pregnant because I think they felt a change was about to happen - hang in their mama!

  6. I agree with Anon. Definitely don't stop telling her you love her. If anything, come back with a "Well, I love YOU whether you love me or not!" and a big smooch. I know it's gotta be hard but, I maybe she's just feeling you out for reassurance. It's so tough to suck in those tears and be strong for a toddler! Hang in there!

  7. Dr Brazelton (I love him!) says that if they don't behave like that when they're two, it will come out much later...which would obviously be much, much worse! I remind myself of that when my Tessa is doing this kind of thing.
    By the way, the photo is totally hilarious!

  8. wow mama... ok.
    first let's remember that she is only two. they are not quite in control of anything they are going through. their emotions are all over the place.
    sometimes i tell Lily i love her and she too tells me "no". whatever. it hurts a bit but she's only two. do they even really know what love is? not really.

    also, does Tessa know you are having another baby? if she does, i think this is where these new tantrums might be coming from. she already feels a bit replaced and not sure about the whole thing.
    you have not been feeling that well and maybe have been communicating with her that it's because of the new baby so right away she feels like you have been taken from her a bit.
    it's totally normal for her to feel that way. from what i hear from parents who have two kids, it's what happens for a while.
    just keep telling her you love here and keep doing the normal things you do with her.

    as far as car trips. we are a bit of experts with those because we have been driving from miami to west virginia since Lily was a month old. reading books, coloring books and a laptop filled with movies with a battery you can plug into the car. seriously with a 16 hour car trip, i have no problem letting Lily watch 3 movies at a time.

    hang in there mama. remember, she is only two....

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