This is an open letter, from an about-to-turn-2-year old toddler, to everyone, who would really care to know, what exactly goes on, in the making of, the most infamous years of our lives – The ” Terrible Twos”.
Yeah ! they call it the ” Terrible twos”.
How can anyone possibly, call any stage of anyone’s life, as “Terrible”?
Do you call any of your life stage as -” Awful Teenage” or “Horrible midlife crisis” or ” Gruesome Thirties” or ” Disastrous 7-year itch” or by any other dreadful adjectives ?
You rather have very happy phrases for the milestones of adulthood –
” 30 & Fabulous“, ” Half- Senior- Citizen“, Naughty at 40“, ” Half a century young“, ” Fortilicious”, ” 60 is only 15 in Scrabble” and the list is quite long.
Is there any logical reasoning to this discrimination or is it just an outcome of the incapabalities of our parents, culminating into a frustrating naming of OUR life stage ?
If you know, what I mean, you would understand that – It hurts. It really is painful for us, little creatures, who just about a few months back, were called angels and now ” Terrible….”
What? You gotta be kidding me.
Call us whatever you may like, but don’t forget that, what you call as just-a-phase, is very much, an important milestone of the tender formative years of our lives.
Don’t you think, we just deserve a little more of your love, care, time, patience, attention, and creativity to thrive, and not sulk, during such a crucial period as this.
Because everything that happens now, is certainly going to make a real difference, to who we actually grow up to become in the future, in some or the other ways.
I also strongly believe that the only reason, why this phase possibly becomes, the most trying ones, for everyone involved in it, is the very way we all look at it – Our perspective. If we alter it in some way, things would change remarkably.
I know. I know. You are already raising your eyebrows for all the unsolicited lecture. Sorry, if I went a little overboard. I was just trying to bring you back to the very reason, why I am writing this letter – For you, to look at my life, from my perspective, atleast for a few minutes, while you read this.
The first year and a half of my life, like any other newborn baby’s though was full of ups and downs, yet primarily was quite a happy phase. We were all smiles for the most parts of it. Little did we know, that a storm awaited just around the corner, when i stepped into the second year of my life. We were all taken aback when my growth had begun to show up some dramatic changes in our lives overall. Though, we all coped up with it well in the beginning, yet the last few months have particularly been an absolute downer. Not for me( at least, that is what is assumed), but certainly for my parents. They don’t complain about it. Well, neither do I. But I do get it, you know. It’s so evident. They are overwhelmed, more than me, at times. I can feel it. I can see it in their eyes. It’s not that they love me any lesser. It’s just this feeling of helplessness, that makes me really worked up at times. I know, how they feel. It’s not intentional, but just a reciprocation of my behavior.
But, how can I help?
I don’t even know if I am capable of offering any help. I am so tiny.
After all, I am just TWO.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Did you too, just now, wear a frown, after hearing that number?
Are you also reminded of all those horror stories, that you would have ever heard, about children being mean to their parents, when they were in this phase?
Are you too, already, empathizing with my poor parents, without even having spoken to them?
Well! I don’t blame you. You are not the only one. The world has always empathized with the parents and villainized us- the little monsters, as much as they eternally have bad-mouthed this rapidly growing phase of ours. (Yeah you read it right. We are also called monsters at times, but with love.)
They say, its just-a-phase and this too shall pass – that’s, possibly the only hope for my parents.
But, what about me?
It makes me extremely resentful, anxious, angry, confused and unhappy. We have all, always heard a one-sided story. What we all know, is just the perspective of one. And the sad part is, that seldom does anyone care to know, the perspective of the ” others”- that is us – the children – the epitome of insignificant mind, body, and soul– though, just in the view of the adults. For us, we know what we are doing. At least I know.
I may still be pretty much smaller in size with a trifling physical presence, and no evidence of maturity, but as far as Intelligence and emotions are concerned, I am quite like you and everyone else. I may not be able to express myself very well as yet, but I feel everything that you feel or maybe more at times. Only due to lack of adequate words and understanding of a particular language, I fail to communicate. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish to. I hear various languages and try to make up one of my own. One that is very much derived from yours. While I absolutely love the sound of all the new words that I hear and try to imitate, I can barely pronounce just a few of them right. But trust me, I do understand most of what is being spoken. Well despite that, at times, I do end up staring right at the faces of the people who speak in any other language, that I have never heard before. Lol.
I know how to switch on and off anything, but my emotions, the way it is expected of me. I insist on doing everything on my own. But I also dread being left alone all by myself. I have my own imagination and an idea of a perfect world and life. Any deviation makes me vulnerable, fearful and apprehensive. I constantly look for adulation. But at times, I just want to dig my face deep into anything that comes my way, and assume no one is watching me so that I don’t have to keep acknowledging all the unsolicited attention. At times, I am told, I can’t do it, because I am small, and then the next moment I am expected to definitely do it because I am all grown up. It leaves me completely baffled.
I am a keen observer and a deft imitator. I have a sharp ear and an elephant’s memory. I put all my effort to comprehend a situation, irrespective of the language, but with respect to reference to context. Despite all this, what I get back in return is a straight face, a smirk, rolling eyes, or weird sounds made in despair, when I fail to behave or act in a certain way. In fact, I do not understand quite often, what am I supposed to do to not upset anyone. But I am also driven immensely by my own tangled emotions.
It affects me and my temperament quite deeply. This leads to, me becoming unruly, rude and uncontrollable. I constantly vie for attention. I repeat myself an umpteenth number of times. I drag and drop. I cry and howl. I roll on the floor literally. I become adamant. I become the one who is in the ” Terrible twos”, and is highly mishandled and misunderstood.
But there is definitely more to my life, than just what meets the eyes of a colored mind. I am growing by leaps and bounds – Not so much in size now, like the last year, but very much, in understanding, and being aware of my surroundings. I have learned to attach sounds. sizes, shapes, and colors to objects. I am able to map names to faces. I do recognize everyone in my family who I speak to very often. I can drink water from a glass, eat with a spoon and fork, wear clothes and shoes, all by myself. I run very fast and can lift to carry objects without dropping them. I understand cause and effect. I do know if I hear a honk, there is a car or a bus somewhere closer. I understand the series of events. I know I need a ticket to travel always whether its a bus, train or airplane unless I am walking or being strolled around in my stroller. I know the names of everything that I eat, and what my Mommy cooks for me. And yes, I too have ” my favorites” – toys, food, dresses, shoes, and everything that I know of. I love to read books and call out those names aloud when I see anything similar outside of them. I love trees, flowers butterflies, mountain and fountains. They make me super happy and delighted.
Sometimes, I wonder, why do I feel a certain way. For no specific reason, I get emotional and teary eyes. And the very next moment, I crack up with extreme laughter at the slightest effort of my parents. If only I knew, what is the recipe behind these, I would choose the ingredients with care. I mean, I would have managed myself better. And trust me, life would have been simpler but not as much fun. The truth is, most of the times, I don’t realize, why I do what I do. Mommy says, even if she is in her 30s, she too at times is unable to handle her emotions. She is still learning. And so am I.
So, how about calling this phase the ” Terrific Twos”?
I firmly believe that It’s the best time of our lives because our growth is manifold and we are constantly learning and adapting to our surroundings. This is the best we can ever be. The way we cope up with this phase, which is primarily overwhelming, is phenomenal. That makes us really proud. And we deserve a big fat pat on our back for being so terrific at it. Isn’t it?
Now, you know the only secret to converting the “Terrible Twos” into “Terrific Twos” is to let us be the way we are. We are just like you. Accept us.