Delighting in the Beauty — and Magic — of the Terrible Twos

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As the mom of a freshly minted 2-year-old, I’ve heard from many seemingly well-intentioned folks, “Welcome to the terrible twos.” While their words are meant to poke fun at the natural struggles of this age, I can’t help but look at my sweet girl’s face and think they’re wrong.

Because the twos are not terrible at all. They’re filled with magic. Suddenly, poof! There’s a real person in front of you. They are searching and exploring. They are discovering and taking notice of every inch of the world around them.

And you can feel their excitement. It lights up corners in yourself that you hadn’t noticed dimmed years ago. Because to a 2-year-old, everything is magical and bright.

Better yet, they’re also learning how to communicate. Finally, you get to hear their voice as they start stringing words together. And sometimes they let you in on their jokes. “Between ages 2 and 3, most 2-year-olds understand at least 200 to 300 words and add as many as 10 new ones to their vocabulary every day,” states BabyCenter.

This cognitive development also coincides with a burst of growth in physical dexterity. They begin to feel more at home in their bodies and discover how to use them. They quickly learn to jump and climb. To skip and hop. To pick up a crayon and put it to paper (or sometimes the wall). And they delight in each new skill.

Magic. Pure and simple. 

Will there be challenges? 

Of course. There’s a learning curve to everything — especially magic. And it’s natural for the twos to go awry sometimes. To test you in ways you may not have anticipated. To leave you exhausted and searching for answers.

"As I navigate the twos, challenges included, I look to find the beauty in each day."

It helps to remember that while our little ones are developing at a lightning-fast speed, sometimes it’s just not fast enough for them. They become frustrated — with themselves and with us. Can you imagine how hard it would be to tell someone you’d like a banana and have them give you an apple because they didn’t understand?

For a 2-year-old, this can mean complete devastation. Not only are they developing their language skills, but they’re also forming opinions as well. Occasionally, these are strong opinions about fruit. And like all humans, they want to know that what they think matters.

So, how do you see the magic when you have a toddler that’s in full tantrum mode over a banana when you thought they wanted an apple? When you’re in the thick of it, it can be tough. But it helps to take it slow and remember that you’re both learning. And learning always deserves a little extra grace. 

As I navigate the twos, challenges included, I look to find the beauty in each day. To memorize how my daughter’s face lights up as she discovers something new. As she finds her words. As she becomes a whole person. And I will eventually learn which fruit she wants each day. 

I will seek out the magic.

Tags: Motherhood, parenting, Toddlers

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Written By

Stephanie May

Stephanie is a communications consultant by day, writer by night and a mom always. See Full Bio

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