These Are the Times That Try Parents’ Souls

Jackson and his prize-winning LegosBefore anyone decides to leave a nasty comment, please know that I love my children. Cassie is an adorable, bright, charismatic, energetic bundle of love. She really is brilliant, and very articulate. I love her from top to toe, and I’m very grateful that she is my daughter.

But this weekend? This weekend, Cassie was the “terrible two”-year old.

Today was worse than yesterday.

It began with her randomly shrieking for no apparent reason, and yelling everything that she had to say, good or bad.

When it came time for her to get dressed, she didn’t want to get dressed. But she couldn’t go out in pajamas – it was actually rather chilly here today. I offered her the usual choice, “Do you want to wear a dress or pants?”

Cassie’s reply?


So I took out three random outfits, the answer to each a loud “NO!” that echoed off the 9-foot ceilings.

I picked out a red shirt that reads “Covered in Bees” (it’s an Eddie Izzard thing) and some jeggings. Max and I both had to put them on her, as she fought us all the way.

Thankfully, she wanted her hair done, so I tried putting it in puffs for the second time. I did it yesterday, and they came out cute, but lopsided. Today, they were all right. I need to work on it.

I had to spend the day creating order from the utter chaos in Jackson’s room. We allowed him to unpack his own room. Big  mistake. Everything ended up on or near the floor. The upper shelves of his armoire and dresser were not used at all. There were stuffed animals everywhere. His dress clothes were conveniently located on their hangers, lying on the floor of his closet.

Max was tasked with taking the children out so I could take on this monumental task.

But Cassie did not want to go grocery shopping, even if they were going to buy her favorites – yogurt and string cheese. She wanted to stay home and shriek some more.

So Max picked her up and carried her out of the house by way of the laundry room, where her “NO!!!!!” was stopped by seeing our upstairs neighbors, who apparently had their baby sometime since I saw them last week. Cassie very much enjoyed seeing the baby.

I worked on Jackson’s room.

About 1-1/2 hours later, the trio returned. Jackson came in first. “We have to eat lunch at home because Cassie didn’t behave.”


Cassie did very well at Trader Joe’s. However, she was the stereotypical toddler at Safeway. And, she ran away from Max in the parking lot, twice. (Her Moo-Moo leash is in the wash, having been used at the Fair yesterday.) She refused to sit down to eat lunch, even at her tea party table. So, Max took her for a nap, which prompted more “NOOOOOOO!!!!”

She never slept, though, to her credit, I think she did try.

After her non-nap, she did let me put her puffs back in. Max had planned to take Jackson to the library while Cassie napped, and he really wanted to get his library card, so he told Cassie they were going to the library.

“NOOOOO!!! NO wanna go to libwawee. Wanna play puzzles!” Jackson convinced her to bring a puzzle in the car.

At the library, Cassie kept pulling random books off of shelves, then sat down at the children’s computer and wouldn’t get up again. Max had to carry her out kicking and screaming. I always had to do the same thing at the library in Antioch, which is why I rarely took her to the library.

After they got back home, Max took the kids swimming. Our complex has a heated pool, and the sun was out, even if it was a little cool. Cassie usually LOVES swimming. It’s one of her very favorite things. But today? “NOOOOOOOOO! No want swimming lessons!”

They came back at 5:00. I was just about finished putting away Jackson’s Legos. (You have no idea what an ordeal this is. Jackson loves Legos and uses whatever money he can get to buy more. The boy has a crazy amount of Legos. He won second prize at the Fair’s Lego building contest yesterday, hence, the picture at the top of the post.) Cassie and Jackson wanted dinner. Jackson wanted grilled cheese. Cassie didn’t want grilled cheese. She wanted mac and cheese, so Max actually made two dinners.

I came out partway through the cooking process. Cassie was trying to get into the refrigerator to get food. (We have a child lock on it.) Max kept telling her that he was making her mac and cheese. She kept complaining that she wanted “square cheese” (American cheese). I finally got her to sit down and gave her some crackers. She wouldn’t stay seated, even though sitting is a rule for eating. Usually, she’s not the one who has a problem sitting down. But tonight, she just kept popping out of her seat. When Max finally got her the mac and cheese, she didn’t want it anymore.

Of course.

Jackson ate all his dinner, so he got dessert. Cassie did not eat all her dinner. She was given ample opportunity to do so, but instead decided to keep popping out of her seat and foraging around my desk (which happens to be in the dining room). She ripped up someone’s contact information that I got from BlogHer. She stole a pencil and started to draw on a piece of Jackson’s artwork, which got the two fighting. I finally got her to sit back down once she saw that Jackson had his dessert. She took about 3 more bites of mac and cheese, getting up between each one. I finally told her that if she got up one more time, it was bath time. She purposefully got out of her seat.

I took her to the bath, kicking and screaming.

She calmed down when she saw she could use the toilet. She was even somewhat cooperative for the lathering of her hair (when she goes swimming, she gets shampooed). But then she wanted to wash out the soap, which she simply can’t do properly, and flipped out when I ultimately had to pour water over her head. She screamed. She thrashed. I put the conditioner in her hair. She threw water out of the tub with one of her toys. She put her wet hands all over my jeans. She did not want to be washed. Max had to come and hold her up so I could wash her. The whole time, she was screaming bloody murder. He put her back in the tub to be rinsed off. I rinsed her hair out, then I put the olive oil in her hair, after which I must comb it through. That’s the part she always hates, and tonight, she really hated it. So, Max had to come hold her hands so I could comb her hair, while she screamed.

She wanted out of the tub, which was fine. I got the towel, she didn’t want to be dried off. Max had to hold her still while I dried her as best as I could. She ran into her room. I decided not to even try lotioning her. I got her into a diaper OK. I got her some pajamas, but “NOOOOOO I want nightgown!” She only has two nightgowns, and they’re both in the laundry, so she will wear the pajamas I took out. Lots of screaming.

It’s time to brush teeth. She ran into the bathroom and tried to shut me out. She’s pretty strong. I finally got in, and got her to stand on the stool to brush her teeth. There was some white substance stuck to the side of the sink. She licked it off.

Back in her room, I asked her to pick her story. She grabbed three. I tried to get her to tell me which one she wanted first. She just sucked her thumb and made the “No” noise at me. So, I put her in her crib. She flipped out. “I want my stories!!!!”

“No, you had your chance for stories. Lie down and go to sleep.”

She was wearing her sleep cap. “Don’t want my sleep cap!”

She threw it to the ground.


“I want my sleep cap!!!!”

I put it on her head.

I put on a CD.

I lied down.

She was asleep within two songs.

Because it was cool today, we had the windows open. I am seriously afraid that someone is going to call CPS because Cassie screamed so much.

I love her, but she is a willful, willful child. I look forward to the days when “terrible twos” are but a memory. And don’t tell me that “these days go by so fast” I’ll miss them sooner than I know.

I will not miss days like today. I may very well miss the days where she sits on Jackson’s back as he’s the horsie, and the days where she plays nicely in her kitchen, then comes up to me with a “snack” to eat. I’m sure I’ll miss the days she runs up to me, arms open wide, “Mommy!!!!”

But I will not miss the days when all she wants to do is say “no” and kick and scream and change her mind every five minutes, and destroy everything she touches. This is my least favorite stage of parenting, and I do look forward to the day it’s but a distant memory.

13 thoughts on “These Are the Times That Try Parents’ Souls

  1. It is so comforting to know that Arlyn isn’t the only one that does this kind of stuff. She’s almost 4 now and still has her occasional mind-changing “NO”-screaming moments. The mind changing is what frustrates me most.

    “What kind of yogurt do you want?
    “Um….” after pondering for 5 minutes “Blueberry”
    “Here’s your blueberry yogurt”
    “NO!!! I mean vanilla.”
    “OK, here’s vanilla”
    Takes one bite, sees brother has blueberry.
    “No, I want vanilla”
    “You already started eating the blueberry – finish it”
    Becomes enraged “NO I WANT VANILLA!!!!!”
    Sigh….”Ok fine, I’ll eat the blueberry one you just opened. Here’s vanilla”
    She starts eating the vanilla and I finish off the blueberry yogurt.
    Two minutes later she has a complete meltdown because I ate her blueberry yogurt.

    You just can’t win.

    • Oh, I know she’s having a difficult time transitioning. But knowing *why* she’s doing it doesn’t make it all that much easier. And no matter how hard a time she’s having, she can’t run away in a parking lot.

  2. I’m starting to think that 2 year olds are like babies all over again with their variations on Freud’s fort-da “game.” I’m glad you have Max, though!

  3. For my son, the “terrible twos” lasted from age 4 to age 6. Fortunately, we all survived – and you will too, … probably… 😉

  4. Oh Robyn, this post could not have come at a more perfect time. I am experiencing very much the same behavior from Vivie right now. It leaves me in tears. She says no to everything, screams at the top of her lungs, and doesn’t even want to enjoy the things I know she really likes. And friends keep telling me three is even more difficult than two – yikes! I may not survive it. At least your post brought a smile to my face because I know I’m not the only one going through this. Hang in there… And I will try to do the same.

    • Three was definitely worse than two for Jackson, and Jackson was not nearly as strong-willed as Cassie is.

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this.

  5. Baby Girls current thing is she hates all the clothes that are clean and wants to wear the outfit from yesterday. The very outfit the day before I had to fight to get her into. Each morning she throws herself limp on the floor as I put on the outfit that without a doubt the next day she will sob because she can’t wear it again. *sigh* One day we can laugh about these days… I think. I keep telling myself strong willed girls turn into amazing women- right?

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