Posted by: Tricia | January 23, 2009

We’ve Arrived


Elliott is just shy of 18 months, and I think it is safe to say that after 1 month of temper tantrums, hair pulling, scratching, biting, talking back, and lots of time spent in time out…at 17 1/2 months, we have officially arrived…to the terrible twos, of course.

And, he’s not even 1 1/2 yet!

Where did my sweet baby go?

Every day is a challenge.  I have already learned that days begun with time in the Word and in prayer go much more smoothly than the days when I jump out of bed to begin catering to our almost-two-year-old.

I am also learning that it is a lot harder than I thought to remain calm and patient when dealing with a screaming toddler…especially when his first reaction to not getting his way is to throw something or himself on the floor.

David and I desperately want to handle this phase in the most Christ-centered and effective way possible.  I just wish it hadn’t arrived so soon.  Could we have been more prepared?  Probably.  Does that mean that we’ve already ruined Elliott?  Absolutely not.  Although some days I think I am the worst mother in the world and that Elliott has got to be the worst child in the world.  I have visions of him becoming a juvenile delinquent and growing up to commit horrendous crimes.  Isn’t that terrible?  Please tell me I am not alone in this.

Our pastor’s sweet wife, a mother of three grown children, offered some words of encouragment and wisdom.  In her opinion, when babies start this phase early, it means they are smart.  Cool.  I hope she’s right about that.  And, the best advice she ever received: Does the baby need the spanking, or does the mommy need the spanking?  I totally get that.  If we take a starving baby too close to his bed time out to eat with us we are just asking for a disaster to happen.  And, it did…numerous times.  The last time we tried to have dinner out with David’s mom, David and I vowed to never eat out again.  We’ll see how long it takes us to forget the embarassment that we felt at that last meal out.

I purchased and have begun reading Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman.  I’m only a few chapters in, but I have already begun to look at discipline a lot differently.   The book emphasizes that, as Christians, we should be more concerned with changing a child’s heart, not just his behavior.  A change in heart will result in a change in behavior.  Although I think the book is great, I’m not sure how much practical advice it will offer for dealing with a less than two-year-old who is already starting to throw royal fits.  I hope the author proves me wrong.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time “googling” “disciplining a toddler”, “how to deal with temper tantrums”, etc.  From what I have found, it looks like David and I are doing most things right.  I just can’t wait to see the fruits of our labor.  We are currently working diligently to teach Elliott to say “please” when he asks for things.  He is not a fan.  It is so easy for me to become frustrated with his stubborness, but David reminded me that these things take time and it isn’t going to happen overnight.  I just don’t understand why he won’t just say “please”!  Afterall, he loves to repeat just about any other new word we tell him.  What’s wrong with saying “please”?

David and I have started using the word “please” a lot more.  We’re two days into our mini-manners boot camp.


Here is a conversation I had while driving in the car with Elliott earlier today…

Elliott: JUICE! (Mind you, he is in no way dehydrated.  He just had his juice minutes before we got in the car)

Me: Juice, please.

Elliott:  NO!

Me: Juice, please.

Elliott: NO!

Me:  Okay, then you don’t get your juice.  All you have to say is “please” and I will give you your juice.

Elliott:  NO!

Me:  Say please.

Elliott: NO!

Me: Elliott, Mommy does not like the way that you are talking to her.  You are being rude, and God says that love is not rude.  Don’t you love me?

Elliott:  NO!

Me:  (a little hurt, even though I realize he has no idea what he is saying…I hope) All you have to say is “please” and I will give you your juice.

Elliott:  (10 seconds of silence)…followed by the sweetest little “please” ever!

Me:  (handing over the juice) Yay, Elliott!  You said “please”!  High five, buddy!  Hooray!  I love you so much!  Mommy loves it when you say “please”!

Elliott:  (all smiles and sipping away happily on his sippy cup)


Fast forward to the end of the day…

…not another “please” was uttered from his mouth.  I guess it’s a little early to think we’ve won this battle.  But, for now I’ll take what I can get!

And, I’ll take whatever advice and suggestions any of you might have to offer.  We could use the help!



  1. Oh, don’t I know. At this very instant I am trying desperately to ignore the monitor. Aggie is REFUSING to sleep these past few weeks and just woke Little Man up. I would never dare mention that the 3’s are not too far down the road…..;-)

  2. Um, yeah, good luck with that! I’m going to be content with my little 2-month old whose only form of communication is crying…with an occasional smile to make it all worthwhile.

  3. You are a wonderful mother and I’m sure you are doing everything the very best way possible!!

  4. I have also heard from our doctor and several other people that when this starts sooner it’s becuase they are ahead. Our pedi also said that means it’s end sooner!

    Mike and I talked long before we had Nadia that you always have to punish the attitude (heart) and the recognize that accidents happen and not freak about the accidents. Case in point – last night a bottle of yogurt went flying all over. Not in a fit of anger (which has happened before) but a genuine accident.

    I love that quote from Kaye and have thought about it a lot since you told me it last weekend. Mike’s cousin is a psych. with 5 kids and he said what is important with disipline is that you are consistant. The how is not as important as the way you do it. I thought that was good.

    But there are many times in the last few months that I have looked and Nadia and thought, “I didn’t teach her that.” But it’s their sin nature rearing it’s ugly head.

    Don’t worry my friend, everyone has been there and it does get better.

  5. Oh, friend, I can’t wait until we can get together and chat about this new phase of parenting. Some days I feel like I’m making it up as I go along.

    I have heard good things about that book. I need to check it out.

    When I get frustrated or discouraged I remind myself that Bennett is not out to get me, he is learning about himself and this world he has to be taught what is acceptable and what is not. I also have to remember that it is my most important job (over finishing dinner or cleaning up) to train his little heart and mind so he grows to be thoughtful, teachable and obedient to the Lord.

    No problem, right? Yikes!

  6. Wow! We are right there together…our boy can throw a fit like no other! I have learned to ignore, but I am still struggling with it.

    Time in the word before they get up is the best! However, I can’t remember the last time I did that…which means I am leaning on my own strength and not Christ’s! Which in turn, is probably where all our problems begin.

    We are blessed by your friendship! I love that we are experiencing it at the same time…maybe we should get them together and let them throw fits together…:)
    -This is Stephanie, not Chris, BTW…

  7. […] Mr. Nice Guy We went from this… […]

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