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Feb 26, 2010

Loving the 2-year age

I had been thinking about the day Daniel would turn 2 with apprehension. Everyone talked about the Terrible 2s and how toddlers can drive their parents crazy. And it looked as though we were in for a tough time in January. Daniel had started showing signs of strong personality and bad character in December, when we were visiting family in Europe. We weren't sure if we should attribute this to a development phase or just the change in environment. We hoped it was the latter, and that things would get back to normal after coming back home.

As we returned, Daniel turned 2, and he showed us very well what 2-year old tantrums were about. Right in the first 5 days after his birthday, we had to face crisis for anything he decided he didn't like, from getting out of the car or cleaning up toys to brushing his teeth or getting dressed. He was questioning everything that used to be part of the routine and testing whether he could create his own rules. It was though! But we stayed consistent as much as possible, repeating that there was no negotiation around the routine. After 5 days, the tantrums stopped, and it seems that Daniel has learned the lesson: he has been pretty cooperative since then.

He even tries to "help" us a lot, even when we don't need help. It's cute. Also, he is really starting to use the polite words like "thanks" and "please".... and to say "I love you", completely unprompted! Definitely much easier to deal with, and all worth the couple of days of trouble!

So, we can now focus on enjoying the very positive sides of raising a 2-year old: the steep learning curve and the creativity. The learning curve is impressive, both in term of language development as well as understanding the world (e.g. how Daniel already understands the upcoming arrival of his little sister).

The creativity is so fun to watch too. It makes playing with toddlers so much easier: they drive the show by themselves. Recently, Daniel found the hose of a vacuum cleaner toy, and for the next hour or so, this hose became:
- a firefighter hose
- a doctor's syringe
- a cord to hold horses
- a tennis raquette
- a necklace
- a elephant nose (with Daniel making real elephant sounds... I should have recorded it!)
- a flute
- etc...

It was so much fun to watch, and we really didn't have to do anything to keep the game going. The perfect solution!

Also, this is a short extract of one of the daily summaries for Daniel's daycare. Imagination hard at work. I can see that the teachers are having a lot of fun with kids this age.

"Whenever Daniel is playing with pegs, his creative imagination is always working. His creation could turn into something else in an instant. Today he decided to use what he created as a flute. Last time it was a guitar. Anyway, he marched around the table making the sound of a flute and it really sounded like one. He was an enthusiastic musician. Noah was encouraged to join in. Max was also encouraged to join the jubilant group. Jun saw the fun activity that was going on. Although she was very engaged with Lego play, she took what she had created and joined in the fun. When Bryce came into the door with his mom Brooke, our jubilant band stopped in front of them and started dancing and serenading them.”

I wish I had been there! The 2-year phase is not that bad after all. Hope it continues to be as much fun!

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