3 under 3: The terrible twos

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3 under 3

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy talks about her emotions as her kids are learning to cope without mum...

'OK, so I guess maybe the terrible twos weren't such a brief phase after all. This week, I discovered whole new undiscovered levels of tantrums I never knew existed...

G has always been more of a diva. T's tantrums are fewer and further between, and generally involve a lot of comedy jumping up and down. If something displeases G, we all know about it. She'd calmed a little since her recent flare up, but then we went to the farm... As well as animals, there are outdoor and indoor play areas, as well as a lovely café, and the girls were in their element. Then suddenly, G pushed T off a slide. She quickly calmed down and apologised, and the twins made up. But it had begun...

Soon, G was screaming again and was taken outside to calm down. This usually works as soon as she realises she's missing out. But this time, once she'd settled, I dared to open the café door without her permission. The stand-off lasted half an hour. G refused to let mummy be the one to open the door, and I refused to cave in. Eventually, I hooked her, rugby-ball style, under my arm and marched her screaming through the room to collect the car keys. With M flagging, daddy took them home while T got to stay and play. I did enjoy my rare one-on-one time with her, but nothing could hide the empty feeling in my gut. I missed G.

Back at home, it seemed being taken home had had an effect - until 2am. G decided she didn't want to be in bed, and screamed if we tried to leave the room. She would not be reasoned with, and in the end, she and I ended up in the living room at 4am, with her being banned from playgroup the following day. When she did eventually consent to go back to bed, I panicked. Will I be able to carry through my threat? What if she's an angel in the morning? How will I be able to leave her?

In the morning, she threw another massive strop about who was allowed to open the stair gate (starting to see a theme here?) and with daddy home from work, she was left in the house while M went to Granny's and I took T to playgroup alone. Luckily, it was my first shift as ‘duty parent' so T didn't have to be alone after last week's wobble, but I could tell she missed her sister. There are another set of twins there, and I had to swallow the lump in my throat as I watched them laugh and dance together while T played quietly. She was so much shyer than the boisterous toddler I knew. I know she's still adjusting to playgroup and this is the very reason I've enrolled the girls, to boost their confidence, but she shouldn't be facing it alone. When she was upset last week, G was there by her side. By punishing G, I knew I was punishing T too, and it felt awful.

I've given a lot of thought already about whether or not to put them in separate classes when they go to school in 2 years' time. But as much as I can spout the benefits of making different friends and building their individuality, I know I've made my decision. They're lucky enough to have a twin, why would I stand in the way of that? Despite all the hard work, if I could have made M a twin, I would have.

Luckily, the shock does seem to have worked on G. As soon as T came home, proudly displaying the caterpillar she'd drawn, I could see G had missed her desperately. As they sat, heads together, discussing what they'd been up to, things just felt right again. There have been far fewer tantrums since and when she has lost control, G has generally pulled herself back together. I think something's clicked. Yes, she doesn't want to miss out again (she has not stopped going on about making her own caterpillar) but what she really missed was her partner in crime. They fight, but they're a team. The twins' separation was hard for us all, but maybe just maybe, G's realised how lucky she is and what she has to lose.'

Are your kids going through the terrible twos? Tell us about it in our comments section below.

Continued below...

Amy's other blog posts... 


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