My twins are two! I can't believe how fast the first two years flew by. I soaked in every moment of it but it's time to let go of them being babies. Although I really like this stage, all ages bring their own differences and joys! I think being two is really hard for a toddler, you don't know what to touch and what not to and it seems that anything that's fun is not allowed, right? The little ones are so confused sometimes, but it's real life and that's when discipline begins. They need to know right from wrong and how to obey quickly more then ever at this age, for their own safety.
For those of you who have kids that are or were once two, you know whats it's like. Some people call them terrible two's, and for twins almost everyone says double the trouble. But I don't agree because it is how you make it. All the toddler is doing is exploring the world around them, some are more interested and daring then others. But trust me, they are not getting into your makeup or shaving cream just to get you angry and ruin your day. They are curious and by nature want everything their way. (But don't we all) :)
My father calls this stage of life "Testing of authority" I honestly don't think it stops at three but in it's own way continues much later than that. We are the child's authority now but ultimately the greatest thing we need to teach them is that we all live and will always live under the authority of Christ.
As a child I would always watch other parents discipline their kids and now that I'm a parent and can compare the different parenting styles to my parents, I'm proud to say I haven't found any better way then the way they raised us. (Thanks mom and dad.) Of coarse they made mistakes but the foundational way they dealt with things and the unshakable love they shown I an now tying to apply in my parenting.
For example one time my mother had a friend over, she had her toddler with her, my mother and her were working on a project and he was watching a show. Later into the morning the child had a huge tantrum (everyone knew him and that he always did that) his mom was so embarrassed and had no control over him, she just sat on the floor next to him, holding back tears without a clue of what to do. She tried bribing with more movies and candy, threatening him to go home and even a spanking but nothing worked. My dad was in the office next door and when this was going on without an end in sight he came out to the rescue! First, he asked he asked her for permission to help, she said yes, he told her to leave her child and go sit back down at the table and proceed with the conversation. He also instructed her to ignore her child if he comes to her and keeps yelling. She agreed but was pretty much crying inside at this point. The boy did come to her as soon as he realized she wasn't over him, and started trying everything he can to get her attention. My dad sat at the table and kept reassuring her that everything is OK and that the child is fine, he just needs to know who's in authority, him or his mother. This went on for some time and by then the mother had tears running down her face as she sat there ignoring her child. You don't know this but she was the softest, most gentle and quiet person you would ever meet, so doing that was probably the hardest thing in the world for her. But as time went on the boy stopped crying and went on to play with some toys. His mom was the happiest person in the room that day. My dad went on to instruct her and told her to hang in there and not give in. All children test their parents and if you give in to the tantrums the testing only gets worse. Everyone knows their own child and knows what they need. If my kids are out two hours past bed time, with a lot of people they don't know, a melt down is most likely going to happen. It's my responsibly to leave at the right time and also be gracious, prepared and understanding. Knowing my children makes it so much easier to avoid trouble. If it's quiet in the house when they are not sleeping, what you want to do is sit down and enjoy the moment but what you should do is run and go check on all the kids! Usually I'll get there just in time to avoid all the lotion bottles being spilt out or having the furniture colored up with markers. But understanding that children aren't against you and being gracious to them is really important, even when they get into the bathroom sink and put soap all over each other and the mirror. Sometimes hiding all the step stools, bins and anything else they can use to get up unto things is also a huge help in avoiding issues. We had to tie up our bar stools in the kitchen, to keep the fish alive on the counter and for them not to get up into everything possible that they aren't allowed. That was the best idea my mother could have given me in this stage of the twins life. Oh they hated it, they screamed, cried and came to ask me to undo it but I just waited for the fit to end and then explained to them, that the behavior they were having was not appropriate and that the stools were tied down for their own good and safety. After they got over it we've been having much more peaceful days. :)
As a parent you should get lots of rest, it really helps to stay calm and have more control over yourself and the situation with your child. And make sure that your toddler isn't over stimulated all the time. It's a myth that they will sleep better if they stay up longer! The more they sleep- the more they want to. I know it could be difficult to fight them on nap times but it's a fight worth fighting and if they are determined not to sleep then have them just rest for an hour or two, alone. It will be worth it! Don't give up, they will get used to it and it will get easier as they get older.
The most important thing is to have consistency with discipline. Keep them distracted and occupied with things for their age. Put things away that they shouldn't touch. With my first I taught her to not touch and expected her to obey, she did and that's fine. But we should't forget that they are just kids and it's ok to not to have decorations at their level out for a month or two. This phase will pass, make as many fun memories as possible cause they don't stay little forever :( Be kind and gracious, apologize often. Try to laugh and play more then saying no and getting them in trouble because it is soo noticeable in the behavior. The kids that tend to get into trouble more, are the ones who need more grace, love and one on one time with mommy or daddy. And after they are all grown up they will love to hear their mischief stories so don't forget to keep a journal!
One more thing to remember is if you are doing your best and your child still acts up in public or at home, don't shame them and don't take it personal. Keep your peace and deal with it later when you both are calm. Also be understanding of other parents, please don't be quick to judge. Love on people, help them and pray for them. Blessings to you all and keep up the good work it's worth it!
And remember it's "Testing two's" and "double the blessing" (for those of us with twins.)