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The Terrible Twos, Lockdown & Me

by Lisa Jones
14 comments
The Terrible twos and me

Oh. My. God. The day that I started writing this post was actually one of the worst days I have ever had with Little J. Honestly, I have the cuts, bruises and tear-stained cheeks to prove it. What has happened to my child? Is this due to lockdown or is this the terrible twos?

But before I talk about that, let’s go back. Before Covid-19 come into our lives, we were in a pretty good routine. We had Caterpillar Music, clubs, groups, playdates and family visits.

Little J would nap for around 2 hours a day and go down to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 each night without the need of settling. Yeah, his eating was pretty hit and miss but generally, he would eat to the table.

Of course, he would have temper tantrums. He would scream, cry, shout, stamp his feet, bang his head, scratch and everything else. I thought it was tough then. Good grief, if only I had known how much more difficult it was going to get.

Then Lockdown Happened

Where do I even begin? Yeah, the start of lockdown was hard. It was hard on everyone, I can’t imagine how children felt. At least we understood what was going on, it must have been so so confusing for them. One minute life is plodding along, next, we’re all stuck in the house seeing the same faces, day in, day out.

I think what I’m saying is, I expected some bad behaviour from Little J when lockdown started. Hell, I was bad tempered and confused, I’m not going to punish Little J for being the same!

We tried to keep a normal-ish routine in place. Up, breakfast, washed, dressed, playtime, lunch, play, tea, walk, approximately 1,000,000 snacks in-between (me and Little J). And things were sort of okay, to begin with.

Then there was this one night that we put Little J to bed like normal. We said goodnight, left the room and went downstairs. Like NORMAL. We hadn’t done anything different. After 5 minutes Little J stood up and started banging his head against his bedroom wall. What?? We went straight upstairs and tried to settle him. We had to sit in his room until he fell asleep.

He slept the night and we just assumed that it was a one-off. The next day he was fine. Until nap time. I put him down in his cot and left the room. He was having none of it. And that was it for nap time.

You have no idea how much I fucking miss that nap time now it’s gone. Naptime was my time to decompress for an hour. Do a couple of odd jobs/get some blog work done/have a hot cup of tea/stuff my face with chocolate/not have a child moan and whine at me. And now it’s gone.

But It’s Not Just That

oh no, far from it. Where he’s no longer napping, Little J is tired and cranky all day. Which means he’s moaning at me all day like it’s my fault. Then, he’ll try and fall asleep at 4pm which obviously is a no go because he wouldn’t go to bed until 11pm if he napped then so he gets annoyed at me for keeping him awake.

There has been the odd occasion where he would nap for a little bit in the day but when he wakes up he is the devil child! We can’t win!

No one is allowed to leave the room anymore. If I leave the room to go upstairs to grab some washing, a charger or go to the bathroom, Little J loses it! He’ll bang his head, scream, cry and all the other rubbish.

So, if I need the toilet I take him upstairs with me. That also annoys him. I am not allowed to go to the toilet. Sometimes he stands directly in front of me and tries to stop me from pulling my trousers down.

Talking of toilet business, Little J has never really liked having his nappy changed but now it’s impossible. He runs away, screams, arches his back and rolls over. That ain’t fun when you’re dealing with a poo, I can tell you.

Little J also no longer sleeps through. This week just gone there has only been 1 or 2 nights where I haven’t had to sleep on his floor. He’ll wake anywhere between 12am and 6am. I miss sleeping in my own bed.

Food, Glorious Food

Then we have the food situation. The food that Little J will eat is:

  • Cereal
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Chips
  • Snacks
  • Fruit
  • peas and sweetcorn
  • Sausages (sometimes)
  • Rainbow veg Salmon couscous

However, he picks and chooses when he wants to eat the above food. I DREAD tea times. No matter what I cook, Little J will moan, cry and push his plate away and push his chair away from the table as far as he can go. He’ll also scream, throw his head back and try and tip his chair over. So we have gotten into a slightly bad habit of letting him watch the iPad whilst eating. It doesn’t always work though.

One thing that Little J really REALLY doesn’t like is being told no. Now I know that no-one likes being told no, but he loses it! He growls, screams, cries, stamps his feet, throws himself around, scratches, pinches, slaps, deliberately smacks my glasses off of my face, pulls my hair and the worst thing of all….

THE FUCKING HEAD BANGING

Little J will find the closest hard surface to him and he will bang his head. Objects including, but not limited to:

  • Wooden doors
  • Oven door
  • Glass door
  • TV unit
  • Walls
  • Radiators
  • Sharp corners
  • Cot sides
  • Floors
  • Legs
  • My head

We previously called the Health Visitor and we were advised to ignore it and that Little J will stop before he hurts himself. I’m really not so sure. There have been times where Little J has used his whole weight to throw his head against the door. It is frustrating, annoying, terrifying and scary.

Just to be clear though, it isn’t just me that has to deal with all of this. Poor Daz also gets his fair share of getting hit, scratched, head butted and he also gets his beard pulled.

However….

Little J isn’t always this terrible, difficult child. Sometimes he is an absolute dream. He’ll eat the food put in front of him, he’ll happily amuse himself with his toys, ‘read’ his books to himself, give the biggest loveliest hugs, smother us in kisses, fart, then laugh and run away (this is a new favourite of his, he has recently discovered that he can push farts out!) and just generally be a joy. Like in the photos below of the last few days:

When he’s lovely it is so difficult to believe that he can be so mean and aggressive. When he’s being difficult it’s hard to believe that he’s ever good.

So Why Am I Telling You All Of This?

Honestly, I want to let other mums/dads/carers reading this to know that you are not alone. I know what you are going through. We love our son to the moon and back but it’s okay to admit that being a parent is fucking hard work.

I’ve also written this post to ask for help. Is there anyone reading this that has been through this already and can share some advice or words of wisdom? Is this due to lockdown or is this The Terrible Twos? Have you found anything that works well or anything I should avoid? I know that all children are different but I would love to hear your advice! I know that the Health Visitor says that this is normal but I am so worried that he is going to hurt himself. There surely must be a better way for him to vent his frustrations.

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14 comments

Pea Green 30/08/2020 - 9:05 pm

Oh the not eating! Or the selective eating. Both my boys have been through that, large boy sorted himself out when he was about 6 (sorry, it might be a long wait) and now eats really well. Small boy is still in the midst of it. Sometimes he’s fine, sometimes it takes him 45 minutes to eat a sandwich.
We haven’t had to deal with the biting or head banging, but there have been other things along the way. Small boy didn’t sleep through the night until he dropped all naps, just before he was 2.
I’d say, “it’s a phase, it’s all a phase” but also trust your instincts. You’re his mummy and you know him best. You know deep down when he’s being a pain to try and get his own way (like toilet blocking) or when there’s something really the matter. You’re the expert in little J. Remember too that before they can talk properly and express or even understand their emotions, they’ll do all kinds of crazy stuff to let out their frustrations. You could try makaton to help him? All you can do is be consistent, firm and supportive. DM me if you need to chat ever. Hugs Smell Xx

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Lisa Jones 31/08/2020 - 8:56 pm

Thank you so much Smell ❤️ Oh wow, another 4 years of picking eating?! I just can’t keep up with what he likes and what he doesn’t like. One day he’ll happily eat something, the next day he hates it, a few days later he loves it again! I’ve learnt to just put Little J’s food on his plate now and let him graze for a few hours. He doesn’t like sitting at the table for lunch for some reason?

I think a lot of his anger is coming from the fact that he isn’t talking yet so Makaton is a great idea! I like the part about being a Little J expert, that’s so true. I don’t feel like it sometimes to be honest! 🙈 xx

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Pea Green 31/08/2020 - 9:42 pm

It was so hard with my oldest to feel confident and trust myself when I thought something was wrong. I often out his picky eating down to being a pain in the ass, only for him to spike a 39°C temp a couple of days later with bad tonsillitis. With my younger one, I’ve learned that we know him best and we do much better telling the difference.
It’s not at all unusual for them to not like sitting, they’re just discovering that they have a say in what happens and what they do – that they can influence a situation. Its hard to know where to lay down the boundaries and it’s a personal choice. If you’re happy for him to graze, that’s a great opportunity to let him be in charge and feel in control, for him to start to learn about making choices.
Good luck and remember I’m here if you need a chat. Xx

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Lisa Jones 01/09/2020 - 10:23 pm

It definitely is easier to just to let him graze on his lunch. Everyone is a lot calmer 🙈 I do just need need to remain consistent with my boundaries! xx

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Pea Green 31/08/2020 - 9:43 pm

PS you’re doing amazing! What a lucky boy to have a mum like you

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Lisa Jones 01/09/2020 - 10:24 pm

Thank you so much ☺️😘🥰

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Shelly DS 31/08/2020 - 6:18 am

I think boys go through it worse than girls, so hang in there! My little one is also going through the terrible twos but she is so gentle when she tries to bang her head, and also just chooses to bite her finger (very gently) at times… It does end, so keep that in mind.

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Lisa Jones 31/08/2020 - 8:14 pm

Oh bless her! That’s so cute that she’s so gentle! My little one really goes for it, it’s so scary! I feel like I’ve still got years of this to come yet! 😫😫

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Shelly DS 31/08/2020 - 8:31 pm

Hang in there! It may be years, it may be decades, but it will pass 😉

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Lisa Jones 31/08/2020 - 8:58 pm

Decades! 😳😫😭

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Sarah 01/09/2020 - 7:21 am

Ohhhh, this brought back so many memories of Ted. Apart from head banging admittedly. He barely ate a thing, would scream till he was sick, refuse to do anything you asked and was not adverse to letting out his inner-thug and giving me a good wallop.
I remember a (childless friend) visiting and saying “are you going to let him get away with that?” When he threw a book across the room, hit the tele all whilst screaming “I hate you, you’re the meanest mummy ever”! I asked her what she expected me to do? Seriously!! Wait for the storm to pass, remind him then of boundaries and be ready with a loving hug.
So this was probably life up until he was four and it was only when he went to school that things slotted into place. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a child so net perfect (as no e of us are) but looking back I can see it was a phase th at we thankfully emerged from, slightly bruised, emotionally drained but all in one piece.
And I have to say, he’s the most loving, affectionate and funny boy that you could hope to meet. I hope Little J moves on from this phase swiftly, but know that his gorgeous parents will see him through with all the love in the world. 💙
Ps. Yes still slightly picky eater but will never have a weight problem! 😁

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Lisa Jones 01/09/2020 - 10:38 pm

Thank you so much Sarah ❤️ oh yes, we’ve had the screaming until sick once or twice too 😩
Yep, it’s practically impossible to reason with a child when they’re in the middle of a temper tantrum. I normally wait for Little J to calm down slightly then ask him if he wants a cuddle.
I’m hoping that once we get settled into our groups again and he starts nursery (in another year!!) that he’ll start to calm down a bit! xx

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Seth Kellas 18/09/2020 - 4:56 pm

Hey Lisa,

I’d have to agree with the Health Visitor. What I’ve learned(from my lovely ABA trained partner), is that most of the outbursts are to garner attention from anyone around. They’re usually the worst with parents because we’ve grown so used to the mild outbursts, so a monumental action is required.

And I feel your pain with the naps. My little dude chose to stop napping somewhere around a year ago. Here’s the thing though, we didn’t change his routine. He still gets the two hour window of what used to be his nap to have “alone time”. He’ll do the same things little J is doing; pretend to read or play with his toys.

It’s awful to do, truly it is, but leaving them be is the best thing sometimes. Whether that be during a tantrum or when they’re calm. It helps build resiliency and imagination.

I hope you survive the twos. The threes are slightly better, so there’s that to look forward to.

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Lisa Jones 21/09/2020 - 12:19 am

Thank you so much for your comment.

That makes sense about the tantrums actually, thank you.

Dropping the nap has been so hard and I think that’s where a lot of the issues have come from!

I hope I survive them too! I really hope that the threes get better 🤞🤞

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