Today alone, she has had meltdowns over:
1) being buckled into her car seat for Forrest's preschool dropoff without having her shoes put on first
2) seeing Forrest get out of the car when we got to preschool
3) being put back in the car for preschool pickup 2 hours later
4) not being allowed to lock herself in my closet
5) locking herself in my closet and not being able to get the door open by herself
6) putting on a pair of my shoes and tripping while trying to walk in them
7) not being allowed to dump nail polish on the bathroom floor
8) having to share a tablet with her brother
9) the tablet's battery getting low and needing to be plugged in
10) finishing her cheese at lunch
For the sake of everyone's sanity I'll stop the list at lunchtime. But believe you me, there was plenty more before bed. The attitude is unreal. So much sass packed into one tiny body.
Despite the twonager attitude, though, I do think this phase isn't as bad as it was the first time around with Forrest. I can't decide if she is truly not as extreme and defiant as he was, or if I've lowered my expectations and am just less blown away by the difficulty of living with a 2-year old this time around. It honestly could be either.
But one thing that is definitely a change from when Forrest hit this frustrating stage, is that I've learned to stress a little bit less over how frustrating it can be, and soak up her smiles when they come. Because there are always some smiles, even during her most terrible and frustrating days.
Like today? Despite all the stress of the morning, she was beyond thrilled to be handed a toothbrush and her Orajel Kids toothpaste. She was nothing but smiles and giggles while she tried to brush her teeth all on her own. Sweet moments like this one help me power through the difficult moments. And having some Baby Orajel teething gel on hand helped provide some extra smiles a few weeks back when she sprouted two brand new teeth--that gel is a total sanity-saver for rough, uncomfortable teething days.
One perk that comes with a second child (that I'm sure sinks in more and more if additional children come later) is that I've gained a little perspective. No matter how frustrating and all-consuming and exasperating a stage may be, I know now that it will pass.
I remember thinking during Forrest's terrible twos that I would never survive and would never recover from it. Now it's hard to even remember the specifics of how difficult it was day in and day out, and I know it will be the same with Darcy. I find myself worrying about her a bit less, giving her more freedom before little issues turn into enormous power struggles, and trying to focus on everything that's fun about her at this age.
Fun things like:
1) her tickle fights with Forrest and how they both end up lying on the ground, laughing their heads off
2) snuggling with her in her rocker before bed
3) the way she clings to her favorite stuffed bear and offers him to me for a cuddle, too
4) how she stands at the window to wave goodbye and blow kisses whenever a visitor or family member leaves
5) how she nibbles all her food straight off her plate like a puppy
6) her big, earnest smiles and adorable belly laugh
7) her strong and stubborn fashion sense
8) her wild hair that always looks like she's just woken up, even after I've brushed and styled it
9) the way she shrieks with excitement when daddy gets home each night
10) her insistence on helping Forrest brush his teeth every night (something she has done for over a year now--bless him for being so patient with her!). We've been using Orajel Kids toothpaste for as long as I can remember, and she gets so excited to help squeeze it onto the brush, and help her brother brush his teeth. Slightly less cooperative when it comes time to turn the tables and brush her teeth, but she's getting better.
And when worse comes to worst and I simply cannot deal with the 2-year old sass for a single second more, I put her to bed early, collapse on the couch, and scroll back through photos of her smiling happily on my phone, to remind myself that there is indeed a happy girl in there somewhere, even if she's currently hiding beneath layers of sass and defiance.
I highly recommend keeping a stash of smiling photos on your phone for this purpose.
As difficult as the terrible twos are, I know that this is just one of many milestones my kids will face as they grow. From early teething pain to brushing new teeth to helping kids learn to brush independently, there's an Orajel product to help make the milestones easier and healthier. And Orajel knows that every milestone deserved to be captured and preserved forever, from the screaming baby photos on Santa's lap to crying in their Halloween costumes. Not every moment can be picture perfect, but they are all worth remembering.
Orajel Kids is offering one lucky winner a chance to turn their milestones into Smilestones with the Smilestones sweepstakes and a grand prize of a $1,000 gift card and an Orajel product prize pack to help you keep that smile healthy and vibrant for their next Smilestone. To enter, share your Smilestone photo that you wish you could re-do HERE!
Enter the sweepstakes today for your chance to win big!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Orajel™ Kids.