Toddler Jekyll, Toddler Hyde
It’s crazy how much being two is like being a werewolf.
My sweet, curious toddler will be just standing there, carefully arranging her Playmobil people into a little made-up scene, building a “super cool tower” out of blocks, or even cooing at her baby sister. Suddenly, her face will change as her body goes rigid. Then she’ll lash out at anything and everyone in her space. Maybe she’ll just start yelling No, or she will run into the corner and kick, or she will push me or her sister or start throwing things.
“Mama,” she’ll say soberly. “I’m gonna do a time-out.”
Sometimes these little storms are completely random, other times they’re in response to situations, but they don’t at all reflect her actual feelings.
The other day, just seconds after a sudden and unexpected outburst of “No, no NO! No, no, NO!” in response to my suggestion that we go visit a neighbor, she turned to me and said sweetly “I am sorry about all of that No-ing, mama. I would like very much to go to D___’s house.”
I really feel for her. It seems to be very much out of her control. Not that I let her get away with it. But I know it wasn’t really HER who did it. I look stern, feel sympathetic and try very, very hard not to laugh.
Thankfully, she’s been getting more sophisticated lately, giving me an advance warning of her toddler storm.
“Mama,” she told me yesterday, with a toddlerish mix of glee and terror, “I am going to rush by and smash Ruby down!”
Thereby giving mama ample time to pick up Ruby before Toddler Hyde rushed by and tried to smash her. Phew.
Other times, she’ll just stop herself, hand poised mid-air, about to throw or hit or rush or smash. Her eyes twinkle, but they plead, too: “Mama, stop me before I do this thing I can’t help doing! Or at least move yourself/my baby sister out of harm’s way fast!”