Most of us by now have hit the reset button in our lives in an almost post-pandemic world, maybe even unintentionally.
In my case, I stopped working part-time, and my daughter started a new full-time job a few months ago. So I chose to babysit my 2-year-old grandson a few days a week. And after surviving the terrible twos, four times over with my own kids, I knew experience and confidence were on my side. I also knew that chasing a 2-year-old all day at my age was beyond exhausting but still doable. I think what I didn’t know or remember was how unimaginably remarkable a 2-year-old could be.
He’s daring but cautious.
But he’s only as daring as his grandma allows him to be. The last thing a doting grandmother wants is a scratched-up or bleeding grandson on her watch, but minor injuries are bound to occur, so you have to stop hitting the panic button.
A 2-year-old HAS to explore.
The key to him not getting hurt is to stay closely behind but out of his view. Plus, I get to watch his confident stride with his swinging arms, striving for independence, so far from being that one-year-old struggling to walk steadily for more than 20 seconds.
He’s so defiant but fiercely loyal.
He is difficult in every way possible some days, from refusing to nap to throwing the TV remote across the living room.
And that’s by far not the worst of it! The true test of standing up to a defiant 2-year-old is keeping him physically safe. Sure he can walk down a flight of stairs effortlessly, in his mind, but in reality, the struggle to hold his hand the whole time is real, and that, along with another couple of tantrums and mealtimes, and the babysitter is wiped out!
But then nothing beats the affection of a 2-year-old. My grandson walks into my house each morning, yelling Nanna and running to me with open arms like he hadn’t just left my embrace 12 hours earlier. That’s the unconditional, loyal love of a 2-year-old. Not much else compares.
My 2-year-old grandson thrives on our daily litany of repetition. Breakfast and lunch in a high chair, always buckled in, the daily walk to the vegetable garden, picking cherry tomatoes, (sometimes crushing them) flipping through the same scribbled-on book, and watching the same children’s video on YouTube (dare I say).
Sometimes, it’s a necessary evil, on the heels of a string of temper tantrums or a quick run to the bathroom. It’s all good, and no major harm done to my crazy 2-year-old, just like no harm done when his mom watched the “Little Mermaid” 30 years ago 300 times!!
A 2-year-old can be relentless in all ways trying to find their place in the universe, but nothing is as astounding as language development at this age.
Within the past four months, my grandson’s verbal or even nonverbal communication skills have grown at such an amazing rate. It seems like one day he’s barely calling grandma and grandpa, in Italian, no less, and several weeks later, he’s counting to 10. I no longer need to guess what he needs. He lets me know what he wants to eat, drink, and play with. He sings songs by stringing short sentences together, and again some times even bilingual. What a beautiful thing!
And the past couple of weeks, he’s reached another incredible milestone. Now I don’t need to guess how he’s feeling either. It’s not just his physical needs anymore. The other day his mom was quiet and tired, and he told her not to be sad. His empathy melts my heart! He says “I love you” in words and with his entire being, in luscious hugs and kisses!