Two. It's Terrible.

Terrible Two's? Check.
Lately, we have been seeing a lot of this face around our house.
Kate didn't go through the terrible 2's, but Claire?
Oh my word.
She is MORE than making up for that.
Kate had her moments at 2, but with Claire the terrible 2's "moment" has been going on for months.
The past few months with her have been rough.
Really, really, really rough.
Claire is full of life...she is a fun little girl.
She is SO stubborn. And, doesn't listen.
She picks on her older sister.
She can be sneaky & disobedient.
You tell her to do one thing & she will look at you and do the opposite.
She likes to do things her own way & by herself.
Don't even think about helping her brush her teeth, get into her car seat, etc.
The world will come to an end if you cut her sandwich the wrong way or give her the wrong color sippy cup.
When she is upset, she can throw some serious tantrums.
It is really hard to calm her down & reason with her.
(Kevin does a much better job at this, she responds better to him mid-tantrum)
The past few weeks she has worn me out.
Since we got her the Big girl bed, her naps are short (if she even takes one)
It has been trying on my nerves & my patience because she just won't stay in her bed for naps.
When I get home from teaching 160 middle schoolers, I am worn out & have no patience left as it is. And, trying to deal with a non-napping 2.5 year old, just does me in and literally brings me to tears some days.
I would love some prayer for some patience because mine is non existent (especially on those non napping days) Come 5 pm on those days, meltdowns from both girls (and me!) are in full effect.
And, with summer less than a month away (Praise the LORD!), I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to be the Mom that Claire needs me to be. If not, it is going to be a long, hard summer. I want it to be a fun, easy going summer. Not a summer filled with Claire in time out for hitting her sister (again)
These books that I am reading:
If you have any other parenting books that worked for you, I would love to hear about them!
Seriously, I need all the help I can get with this one.
I love her with all my heart, but she is really giving me a run for my money and making me feel like a Mommy Fail at times.
I am hoping this stage will be over soon, but I am going to need a lot of prayer (and wine!) to get through it!
Even though Claire is in the middle of the terrible 2's, she really a fun kid.
Her sense of humor is beyond her years, she cracks us up.
And, she is so loving toward her dolls and friend's babies. She is such a nurturer.
Claire, I love you....But please, please, please start listening & obeying!
Love, your Frazzled Mommy


  1. She sounds a lot like my Ellie! I don't remember how I found your blog, but I'm enjoying it a lot.

    As to books, I am reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart" right now and though I'm not very far, but I've found the first few chapters to be helpful.

  2. I can so relate. 1, 2, 3, Magic for Christian Parents worked really well for us! :) Hang in there!

  3. Right there with you, sister. Hang in there.

  4. Claire is a lot like Ellie Kate was at that age! Abigail has her moments of being two but is just much more laid back and obedient than Ellie Kate ever was or is! Those are all great books (I haven't ready any of them but heard such great things about them all). A few more that I have really loved is "Don't Make Me Count to 3" by Ginger Plowman and "Raising your Spirited Child".

  5. I'm sorry! Being a mom is the HARDEST job E.V.E.R!!!
    My middle son gave us a run for our money when he was 3, another book you could check out is The Strong Willed Child.
    Hugs & prayers to you!!!

  6. We have a precious little one that is 5 and STILL going through terrible 2's, at times. Haha! We love the book, "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Kevin Leman and I also love "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. Both are excellent and have given me wonderful ideas on parenting stubborn children. I'll be praying for you! :O)

  7. I'm so there with my daughter. I think your doing everything you can do. You seem like a wonderful mother. Give yourself a break...I think all moms have days when their patientce is running thin but it looks like your girls know they're loved. Take one day at a time.

    "The days are long but the years are short."

    I try to just enjoy every moment...every beautiful chaotic moment.

    Best wishes!

  8. We are in the same boat! I loved "Love and Logic!" I have read it about 3 times now. I love my strong willed 2 year old but man she wears me out and it does not help that I am 9 months prego so I have no patience or energy left come dinner time. DEEP breath! Enjoy a glass of wine or 2 for me! Praying for love, patience and endurance for you!

  9. Oh sister, I'm praying for you. :) I didn't care for Dobson's "Bringing Up Boys" but maybe "Bringing Up Girls" is a little more modern and relevant. You know what book I really got a lot out of? "A Love So Big" by Shirley Walsh. It put a lot in perspective when it comes to Christian parenting. Let me know what works, lol. :)

  10. I'm not a Dobson fan at all, but I loved "1-2-3 Magic" and felt the concept was easy.

  11. OMG, we have the same daughter. Only difference is that she is my first so I didn't have one to compare her to!!! Would love an update on what books you end up liking. :)

  12. Right there with you on many a day! Wish I could carve out some time to read, but then after our quick conversation today, I'm just a tad bit preoccupied...this WILL be my reading summer! In any event, you are not a mommy fail and never could be! You are a fantastic mom and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, promise!

  13. How have you seen into MY world with such insight?!?! My little boy hit the terrible twos with a vengeance. I figured out he is a dreamer child after reading a book called Dreamer or Spirited child. Has helped tons. Hang in there, you are not alone!!!

  14. Oh Mel Im so sorry! Bringing up Girls is one of the best parenting books Ive ever read. In fact, its one I need to read again. Our kids change so often that reading something once just doesnt cover it.
    Imm praying for you!

  15. I swear by 1 2 3 Magic ALL THE TIME. We still use it. Love it.

    We had a rough rough rough ROUGH time with Nate in the terrible twos. (Alex was a horrific 1.5 year old!). I wrote this post when he was 2.75 because I was so tired of it:


    Anyway, for the discipline part, I swear by 1 2 3 Magic. For the napping part, I don't even care if I get flamed for this but we reversed his doorknob so we could lock him in his room for naptime and bedtime. He would NOT stay in, no matter how many time outs. And it was not safe for him to be wandering the house at 2AM.

    We used 1 2 3 with the locking. If he came out 3 times, he was locked in. We set an alarm to play music when his nap/quiet time was over so he knew there would be an end.

    Seriously the reason I don't care if anyone flames me is because it worked and we were ALL happier with some time away from Nate during that period.

  16. Oh, I feel for you. It is a hard age and I wish it got better at 3. 3.5 was another hard stage for us with Mara...she is the same way your little Kate is. I loved 1 2 3 Magic...it really does work, if you follow the steps. The other one that is very helpful is Raising your Spirited Child.
    As for napping...when the girls stopped taking naps or would not every day, I would take a drive for 30-45 minutes and they would typically fall asleep...not the best option, but 2-3 days a week, it worked. I would plan an outing around that time and then would nap until we got to where I was headed. Or, I would let them have TV for an hour, but they needed to lay down and rest...they might or might not fall asleep during that time as well.
    Praying for you!

  17. Oh Mel, I am so sorry you're having a tough time! Most of the time, the more spirited they are...the more difficult they are! Lots of prayer coming your way...always remember...this too will pass:)

  18. I have 3 kids. 2 girls and a boy. Alora is 6 and Lana just turned 4. You decribedmy two kids to the t. I want to encourage you.... I have my bad days too. What innate come to realize with my Lana is that her strength is ABSOLUTELY hr weakness. I often am so frustrated to tears.... Then I see the good days (or moments). When her stubbornness (or determination) is a huge strength and has helped her greatly. She has no fear, has learned to swim at 2 she is self sufficient in a lot of areas etc etc. By no means has it been an easy road but the lord has given us what we can handle. Some books that are on my shelf and that I have gone to are: the strong willed child by dr dobson. Raising kids for true greatness by dr. Tim kimmel, have a newkid by Friday by dr. Kevin leman and nanny tithe rescue by michelle larowe. Praying for strength and peace in your household. I love your blog and read often!


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  20. may God continue to lead you and your husband in wisdom, and may you be obedient to Him as parents, disciplining your children even though it hurts.

    believe me it was hard to follow through, but together my husband and i did, and we thoroughly enjoy the DELICIOUS "fruits of our labor" in our children.

  21. welcome to my universe. i felt like i wrote that post. but mine just turned FOUR!! :( praying for you friend. it will get better. it HAS to. {repeat} ;)

  22. Make sure you don't engage her during a tantrum. Let her be in a safe place if she chooses to throw her body around. Then let her cool off. You could say, "claire, I am so sorry you are not choosing to listen." Love and logic is the best with those trying twos. Just make sure you stick to your guns. Don't bow out because she throws a fit. Make sure she knows who is in charge and hopefully she'll come around. You could also say, "I'm not listening to your tantrum it hurts my ears" and have her go to her room and scream all she wants into a pillow. YOu can come back downstairs when you are done and would like to apologize. OR whatever. Hope it helps! (I teach two and a half - three yr olds and i know every one of my kids (10) can stop crying/screaming on a dime. it can be done, so try it out)

  23. i know exaclt how you feel ... my son is only 20 months but his tantrums and outburst have been going on since before one and only gotten worse. I'm glad to know I'm not the only parent that goes through this! My prayers are with you!

  24. I'm not a mom (yet!), but I have nannied quite a bit and I have to say I appreciate your honesty in this post. I hope things start to improve for y'all very soon. :)

  25. I don't know if it would help or not, but we recently introduces "Sassy Juice" at our house. We use it when she says, "NO!" or is using unkind words (including sassy and throwing fits). My daughter will be three in July and we wanted to curb that! She has changed a lot this week -- and even the threat of sassy juice makes her shape up! ;)

    I have a Wilton decorator bottle and put apple cider vinegar in it and squirt a little in her mouth and she works to avoid "Sassy Juice". My boys and several friends have gotten sassy juiced lately -- all these kiddos are shaping up! :)

  26. Addison and Claire sound like they could be twins!! Scott and I have about had it with the fits and crying! On top of the terrible twos, she is on her third round of steroids right now which just makes things worse! I have that love and logic book also but hVe really used Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood more. Good luck to you and PLEASE post again if you've found any solutions!!!

  27. I'm right there with you and my 4 year old. I'm going to read through the comments for some good suggestions. I did enjoy Shepherding a Child's Heart. I'll be praying for you.

  28. Oh goodness, I think we're living parallel lives!!! I really believe that lots of children these days come with strong personalities from our Heavenly Father so that they will examples of morality and faith to a world that has forgotten it. But dang, if they are HARD to parent :)

    At a church conference in April one of the speakers, "A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?" So I pray and breathe, breathe and pray.

    My friend recommended the book, "The Ephraim's Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, And Challenges Of Children Who Are Intensely More by Deborah Talmadge" and I'm thinking I need to get to it ASAP.

  29. I HIGHLY recommend 1-2-3 Magic. (and all the other books you posted-ironically those would be my top 3 recommendations-how funny!)

    I have used Magic since 2001. Used it with both my boys, currently in my classroom with my ADHD students and it works! IT WORKS!!

    When my boys were your girls age I'm pretty sure I also went on anti-anxiety meds. It's hard to lose control and it's exhausting. Things got better though, and it gets easier in many respects.

    Now they're 11 and 9 and they are such good boys! Hang in there Larsons :) You're GREAT parents!!


  30. Oh Mel, I have absolutely been there with my almost seven year old son. Sometimes I wonder where he gets it from! But what my mom always tells us is that when they act like this, it is important to correct and discipline and even though it is exhausting and frustrating, how else will they learn that kind of behavior is not acceptable? It just wears you down.

    And the three year old and naps- we are going through the same thing. She fights naps, but it she does not take one, by 5pm, she is a pill! It effects the whole household. It will get easier when they are just a little older and more independent.

    Until then, I think that it is important to take a break from them to recharge your batteries. Just a few hours always helps me feel not so overwhelmed. Hang in there, you are doing great- this is just hard!

  31. http://www.amazon.com/Making-Terrible-Twos-Terrific-Rosemond/dp/0836228111/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305429706&sr=8-1

    life saver.
    also his "parenting by the book" is stellar material!!

    praying for you, sweet mama. i am in the same boat, weary and worn.
    Psalm 86:6-7
    "Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
    In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me."

  32. I can very much relate to what you're going through! It makes you feel like a HUGE failure, doesn't it?? I read this quote on Life In Grace and I wanted to stand up and cheer:

    "I speak from experience when I say that having children who are compliant can give you the false sense that you are an extraordinary specimen of a mother. And on the contrary, having strong willed children will have you convinced that you are not capable of parenting at all. I have both varieties in my little family. Until you’ve parented a strong willed child, it would be wise to save all your statements that start with “Well, if that was my child, I’d….”. Give people the benefit of the doubt and spend the time you might judge them–saying a prayer for them instead. This is no task for the faint of heart. And grace and mercy need abound."

    Let us know how you like the books and if there's anything you find that seems to be effective!

  33. I will certainly pray for you...and little Claire. Parenting is so difficult, but so very worth it. My younger one is a spitfire, as well. He's cute as a button but would burn the house down with a big smile on his face if given the chance. I can commiserate!

  34. Oh, man.
    Hang in there friend.
    I know...the two's are HARD.
    My Colin was super tough as well.
    Dr. Dobson's The Strong-Willed Child
    was a good one for us.

    And keep plenty of wine and
    chocolate on hand. :)


  35. I am right there with you too Mel!!! Claire is exactly like my 4 year old Nicholas, he started this behavior at 2 & it has progressively gotten worse, maybe because I didn't handle it the right way when he was 2 & then Nate came along at 3....anyways, I will definitely be interested to see what works good for you!!! (((HUGS)))

  36. I have been there for those 2's and 3's. Now, that we are in the 9's and 6's, it is a whole new set of challenges. Prayer for grace, patience and direction is what I need EVERY day. And, 5:00 is still that time here, too! We did a parenting seminar at our church and Have a New Kid By Friday looked like a great resource. Parents who had similar struggles like you were reading it and loved the tips. Thinking of you....

  37. I think I could have written this as well! My two year old boy sounds just the same! And with me being pregnant, I dont cope well at ALL many times! Hopefully it passes soon.

  38. As L Said, Shepherding a Child's Heart. I have read it fully, and refer to it repeatedly.

    My girl is turning 3 this month and I have a 10 month old son. Both are strong willed and stubborn and independent. (Apparently my girl is just like I was at this age, or so MY momma says ;).) This is the only "philosophy" that has worked in dealing with a strong child-as it should since it is very Biblical.

    You will see an almost immediate difference in the child's willfulness-I did within 2 days. We are at the point that I can even just talk to her about what happens if she disobeys and it is her choice and the majority of the time she makes the right/obedient choice.

    I especially appreciate the guidelines of spanking the author gives-no anger and true reconciliation after the discipline has been given.

    I am getting into Grace Based Parenting right now. We'll see how that is soon here...

    Take heart and be encouraged. I work PT and definitely feel like you do at times. Take care.

  39. I am right there with you! My oldest has just recently turned 3 and thankfully outgrew those terrible two's. I fear my little one is approaching them early and he's got a fiery personality, so I am a little nervous. A book I really enjoyed was "The No-Cry Discipline Solution" and "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. She had a lot of great practical advice. Best of luck to you!

  40. oh how i can relate. let me know how you like the dobson book.
    wilder is 2 yrs 8 months and i think he's getting harder the closer to 3 he gets.
    deep breaths. it's tough.

  41. Thank you everyone for your comments, book links, prayers & advice!!! I appreciate all of them SO much. You are all so helpful! It is nice to know I am not alone!

  42. i'm dealing with my own little issues with O too. i think she just figured out she has a little sister (after 8 months) and her jealousy has shot through the roof! i have said over and over that O is my ultimate test in life. she is apparently JUST HOW I WAS when i was little. i like to think that i turned out pretty good.... i do have my control issues but i'm an only child, too, so i have double-"mine" issues. there is hope for us ALL! good luck and hang in there!

  43. Sorry Mel, I know the feeling, only Carter is four and should be done with the terrible twos. He seems to have gotten alot worse lately, mouthy, rough with the girls, deliberatley disobeys, the list goes on and on, I keep hoping that it will pass, but so far it's not. If you find some magic fix all, please let me know as it is I am considering moving out and just letting him run the place. <--- I say that only half jokingly. <3 and good luck!

  44. We're 'warned' about the terrible two's, but nothing can really prepare us! Though it's tough to be consistant with, what has helped me was being calm, using a quiet voice, getting down on their level & making eye contact. That really helps let them know I'm serious but that I'm also wanting to help them make a better choice. Correcting them in an room alone vs. around other people is a huge help! This keeps from embarrassing them and you'll have their attention more. I follow this Mom's Guide that is about how to care for your kids teeth & making the teeth brushing time fun. If that will help in any way, check it out!http://www.1dental.com/moms-guide/

  45. I HEAR you, girl! :) My (just turned) 3 year old boy sounds a lot like your little gem.

    I'm a huge fan of parenting with love and logic, but the book that's made the most difference with my ultra challenging tot has been without a doubt,

    'Raising Your Spirited Child' by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

    i'll be sharing a few little tid bits that i've taken away in the coming weeks at my blog - i borrowed it from the library, but it's been so helpful and encouraging i know i'll be purchasing it for continued future reference.

    as for the little-to-nonexistant naps - go for an early bedtime for her, mama! you deserve it, and she'll most likely need it.

    take care. :)



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