The Terrible Twos, Squaredby Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
So I’ve been in the twins game now for about thirty-two months - thirty-two looong, crazy making, longing for Xanax months. I’ve experienced colic - twins with colic is not for the weak of heart, let me assure you. If you are pregnant with twins, I’d like to tell you that colic is livable, you will get through it, blah blah blah but I can’t. It wouldn’t be right to mislead you that way.
If you have access to a prescription for Zoloft, I’d recommend popping your first one while you and your babies are being escorted out of the hospital in your wheelchair because that may be the last time in awhile that you will feel sane. But, hey, maybe they won’t be colicky. Mine cried day and night for almost five months - give or take a few weeks and then it just sort of went away - thank God. But now, it’s sort of back but in a different way.
The girls are starting to scream a lot, they refuse to go to bed, wake up in the middle of the night and refuse to go back to bed and worst of all, they are on day fourteen of a nap strike, which as you can imagine is a real treat. They are in the terrible two’s. Yes, they will be three in November - but I like to think they are two and a half since they weren’t born until the very end of November and they weren’t due until January so this gives me a little bit of padding when I defend their behavior as being so very “typical two” and not “burgeoning serial killer.”
The problem is that when they get sleep deprived they really lose their stuff which I can totally relate to. Sadie loses the already tenuous control over her emotions and lately has been given to melting down over getting the red cup over the “peenopur” cup. “What?” I’ll ask, while trying to understand what she asking for through her sobs.
“The peeeeeenopur!” she’ll shriek back at me as if I’m the jerk for not getting her obviously clear diction. I want to give her the peenopur cup. I’m dying to give her the peenopur cup, I’ll do anything at this point to stop her incessant screaming at a decibel that would make a dog want to run in front of a car, but I don’t know what the heck peenopur means. So I systematically go through all the cups we own until we’re out and through a series of pointing games it finally turns out that she wants not a cup but a bowl - a purple bowl. She knows how to say purple too.
This is not a story about Sadie or Matilda being hard to understand (heck they’ve had speech therapy for the past year and a half), it’s about them getting so upset they can’t even get the words or thoughts out so that I can help them. I know it’s not their fault and that all kids go through stuff like this but with two toddlers whose preemie nervous systems are not first rate to begin with, it’s been quite the challenge.
What’s even more challenging than just the behavior is learning to control my reactions to it. These kids, they try my patience to the maximum. When they haven’t napped and the whining and fit throwing starts up around four o’clock and continues straight through to bedtime and then sometimes on through the night it feels like it’s always been like this and it will always be like this. At some point I usually start yelling “shut up!” in my mind. I’m not going to lie: I’ve yelled it out loud once or twice but it didn’t have the desired effect. Matilda just said, “Mommy, no yelling!”
But it’s times like these I tend to lose all perspective. I can’t see the forest for the trees, I lose the big picture, all of that. It’s right now; it’s forever. My life is over, might as well give up working because I’ll never again be able to concentrate on work because how can I with these kids crying all the time? I’ll never read a book, make a phone call, pay attention to my other child. Why? Because my children have a major behavioral disorder and it’s probably all my fault for not being consistent enough or letting them eat their breakfast in front of the TV or not giving enough time-outs or not breast feeding them, the list goes on. It can get so dark in my mind when none of us has slept.
And then, out of nowhere, a miracle: Last night they went to bed just fine. They slept through the night twelve hours like it was some sort of zzzzz’s competition and today, I feel like this two’s thing…might just be do-able. But ask me again tomorrow and I may have a different answer.