Why 2-year-olds are cute

It’s clearly a survival mechanism. I don’t think the species would have survived without that adaptation. The 2-year-old spent big chunks of the weekend attempting to destroy things, or hurt himself or others. He is still waking up at 5:30 a.m. quite frequently, which is maddening (he did that Friday and Sunday, which were my days). We have put black-out shades on the windows to help with the summer solstice early sun, but to no avail. He also has a clock that turns green at 6 a.m., indicating it is time to get up. He does not care. He stands by the door howling “Open the door!” until someone comes.

There is no one thing that stands out, it’s just a lot of stuff. We have a mulberry tree by our driveway that’s dropping ridiculous quantities of fruit. The rest of us try to avoid the berries, but he trudges right into them, and then wants to keep his shoes on when he goes in the house, dragging purple juice everywhere. He wants to play with the hose, and of course after getting all muddy this afternoon he dove right into the pile of sheets I’d just washed. He pulled his sister’s hair hard. My husband was watching him in the backyard, went to get something, and returned to find him vanished. Where he’d gone? Eight feet up a tree. He pulled all the plastic plates out of the bottom drawer. He ate the marshmallows straight out of the bag of Lucky Charms (meaning no one else wants to eat the cereal now — because the proportion of Charms is pretty lackluster). He started plucking all the soon-to-bloom buds of the hydrangeas (with the explanation “because they’re green!” I guess green flowers must be heeded, but not green clocks…) He opened all my chapsticks and smeared them on his face. He tried to break my sunglasses. He tried to break his brother’s tennis equipment.

On the plus side, he didn’t demand I watch the Adventures of Chuck and Friends, so that’s something.

Actually, as I look back on the weekend, there were good things. That’s the upside of tracking time. I know that I read for a few hours, finishing the novel Lila (by Marilynne Robinson). I ran both days, as I do, though only 1.3 miles on Saturday. Sunday I got a good 5+ miles in, and it felt great. We went for a family bike ride on Saturday and the 2-year-old was relatively chill in the Burley (at least I didn’t hear him shrieking). He skipped his nap Saturday, but took a long one Sunday, so I read a book I needed to for work out on the back porch. Because he skipped his nap Saturday, he went to bed relatively early, and we had a nice dinner in the calm after. My husband made mussels with white wine and garlic cream sauce. So I can’t tell the story that I spent the whole weekend chasing the toddler. It felt like it — but feelings aren’t the same thing as reality.


10 thoughts on “Why 2-year-olds are cute

  1. Laura
    I can recommend “You can’t make me (but I can be persuaded)” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias which we were motivated to buy in an attempt to cope with the behavior of our 4th daughter. Now 15, she is an absolute delight. There is hope!

  2. Children are funny. I have 3. I have parented them all basically in the same manner. My oldest 2, are easy going. Some bumps, but nothing too major. (Although, we are heading into the teenage years so we’ll see.) My youngest is a whole different animal. And I do mean animal. This week, I found a 2 L bottle half filled with his urine in his bedroom. His bathroom is 10 feet from his room.
    This kind of thing happens so much with him I wasn’t even all that surprised.

    1. @Jennie – maybe he has a future as a comedy writer? I think that’s the part of Tina Fey’s Bossypants that stuck out most for me. She noticed that many of the male comedy writers she worked with had bottles of urine in their offices. Gross!

      But yes, I totally agree with you that children are different, and they kind of are who they are. You can enforce some things, but others are just going to go as they go. My 2-year-old is high energy and stubborn. He can be sweet when he wants to be and is shockingly verbal for a 2-year-old boy, so I just have to trust that all this is going to serve him well in his future life.

      1. When I found the bottle, Bossypants was the first thing I thought of. The really funny part was how proud he was of it! He told me he was recycling.
        You’re right. They are who they are. We have to have faith that the behaviors we find trying now will serve them as they get older. Maybe your child will be an explorerer or adventurer. Maybe he’s on Tokyo time with his sleep schedule and may end up in some foreign place doing amazing things.

  3. The Story Worth question for this week, which I just read, is “What is a motto tht you live by?” I won’t say I lived by this motto, but I often think we parented by this motto: “This too will pass.” From 650 miles away, I just want to hug that little guy and see his mischievous face! Easy to say when I don’t have to get up at 5:30 am with him! And when we did get up with him a month ago at 6:30 am, he woke up singing “Jingle Bells.” Now that was pretty cute!

  4. This was such a positive post to read! I’ve read your book Laura- I know how she does it, and love it! I have a 13 month old who is quite similar to your son in terms of energy and stubbornness and sometimes it feels like too much when you have to work full time too! But as you’ve mentioned in your post too, it’s never all just bad. She is adorable and funny most of the times and I also get time to read my books, watch movies, go out or have a drink or even catch a movie with a friend! Which is great! Thanks for putting this into words

  5. I once read of a study that did, in fact, report the “it’s a good thing they’re cute” syndrome. We (and other mammals) are designed to find features like big eyes etc on young creatures adorable so we don’t strangle them when they tumble all muddy into the clean sheets.

    My younger, who defines “second child syndrome” (if he’d been born first, there wouldn’t have been a second child). Just graduated from high school. Some things do pass, but they will still drive you inSANE with new things…like not opening their student email with incredibly important, time-sensitive instructions.

  6. I’ve definitely repeated this to myself a few times – it’s a good thing you’re cute, JuggerBaby!

    Ze is the same age and probably not so incidentally the same about stomping in all manner of disgusting and racing into the house despite having a no shoes in the house rule all zir life. Or squashing all zir food in zir hands and smearing it on the table, face, and head. Some days, ze loves bathing but some days washing zir hair causes a howling that you wouldn’t believe. It’ll pass. But oh my goodness it feels like it won’t 🙂

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