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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this in the multiple forum and not the toddler forum because it seems like all the advice I've been given is impossible with TWO two year olds. One at a time, parenting seems like a piece of cake, even if they're throwing tantrums or whatever. But put both of them in the same room... which is all the time really since I'm a SAHM with not much help in the ways of childcare, can't afford a mother's helper, etc. - and it's just chaos. I rarely venture out anymore because I'm always getting smirked at by parents of one single toddler. Or I hear the comments about how tired a mom is at the end of the day with just one toddler.

I know compared to MANY I'm so easy off. I'm not pregnant, I don't have a newborn, I don't have older kids to take care of. So why am I so bent out of shape with these two? At the end of the day when I put them to bed I am just so exhausted I go to sleep myself half an hour later. I try to spend as much time one on one with them as possible - they crave the attention - but to do that I have to put one of them in their room. I can't just set one up with an activity and leave - they won't do an activity unless I'm right there giving them my complete attention. And even that is hard. I can't even do an activity with the two of them because they just shout one another down to get to me. If I try to like, draw with them, one will be showing me their drawing, and the other will bolt off to draw on the walls. When I try to say no or bring them back, the other will be upset that I'm no longer giving unfocused attention to them and rip up the coloring book. And on and on and back and forth. Cooking time together, same thing. I'll show one how to do one thing while the other wanders off and makes trouble. I used to at least be able to put them in the bath at last resort but now they just splash each other and cry.

If they're not together, like if I separate them into different rooms so I can do SOMETHING alone (like go to the bathroom or something) they will scream and beat on their doors. If I leave them alone with each other they will then wrestle like wolf cubs and beat each other up. Or my son will want to "sword fight" (that's his new thing and he ALWAYS wants to do it, even with playsilks or blocks or whatever is on hand, a felt carrot is his favorite thing) and my daughter will sob because she hates it. And he.will.not.stop. The house is ALWAYS chaotic. ALWAYS someone yelling or screaming. Going out in public is a joke. I want a nice calm, soothing, "Waldorf-y" (for lack of a better term) atmosphere like how I grew up. There was no chaos, there was no mess, it was calm. (I was also an only child.)

The few times their father has taken one or the other out, leaving me alone with one, it's so different. Things are quiet. Everyone is happy. We can do an activity together. But those times are very rare, maybe once every few months. The rest of the time it's chaos. They do NOT listen to me, they egg each other on, and I'm panicking that they never will listen to me. If I could afford a mother's helper or baby sitter I would totally go down that route but I can't. I can't even ask a local teen or anything, literally there is no money here for that. I have no other family or anything around to help me out, and I can't do babysitter exchange because honestly no one would want to do that with me, and inviting a THIRD kid into this chaos is not my idea of a good time.

Is this just the age? Will they ever grow out of it? Will I survive this?

Sorry if I sound desperate, today was a very hard day.
 

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Yes, you will survive.

My are just two, but here are some things that have worked well

-high chairs for activities - puzzles, coloring, playdoh, crafts

-as long as no one is getting hurt, let them work out their differences w/o a lot of adult guidance. I might say, "dd is playing with that now, she'll be done in a minute" but I try to stay out of it as much as I can

-I only shut the door to their rooms for sleeping. They don't like being shut away from the rest of the house (unless they close their own door)

-stating expectations before starting anything. . . we're going out and we must hold hands and use quiet voices or we're playing playdoh, we need to keep it on the table and only touch with our hands or dd and I are reading this book now, would you like to pick a book to read next?

-I read that at this age it is developmentally easier for them to draw on vertical surfaces. Once I set up the easel and cardboard fort as coloring zones, the wall murals decreased dramatically.

And just to let you know you're not alone
-I panic that they won't listen to me too, that is really frustrating and I haven't found a good solution. I think it is an age thing.
-I am usually in my pjs by 7 and in bed reading/watching tv as soon as I put them to bed about 8
-my house is a big mess. I'm only one person and can only do so much. I try my hardest every (ok most
) days but my best is variable.

How about a MoMs club in your area? Is there a local ap group? Maybe if you could find a playgroup to attend?

As far as feeling like others are judging you or making comparisons, I try to remember that everyone has to fight their own battles and no one knows mine quite like I do and I can't imagine theirs either.

I just signed up for the "Scott Noelle" emails. Daily emails about getting into the groove of parenting. Maybe check that out.

Good luck, didn't mean to be so chatty!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh no, please ramble, I like it!


The vertical drawing surface seems logical - I sometimes set up cardboard boxes for them to decorate. (We don't have easels but would like some.) But they still like to wander. Play-doh doesn't work cos DD thinks they're yummy food and I refuse to keep making salt dough.
We don't have high chairs unfortunately - we got rid of them a long time ago cos they would.not.sit.in.them. and would scream bloody murder if they were strapped in. (I have no idea why, they're OK with carseats.)

The only problem with going out in public with expectations is that the consequence for not behaving properly is that we have to leave - and since I only go out for essential chores anyway, if I keep leaving when they act up, we never get anything done! And when one is acting up I feel bad to "punish" the other one by leaving. We tried a few playgroups before but my kids were so wild and crazy we disrupted the whole vibe. LLL even told me (really politely and nicely) to please not come again cos we were too much of a disruption.
The AP moms around here seem to be really nice but it seems their kids are all really calm and collected. There is ONE mom with a wild and crazy kiddo whom my son just adores playing with - but they hype each other up even more and pick up each other's bad habits - not the greatest idea, unfortunately.

ETA: And for the record, I just re-read what I wrote and it sounded pretty bad - I don't put them in their rooms for any long period of time. I know they're just babies and they don't want to be isolated. The only times they are in there is if I literally need to put them somewhere so they don't hurt either themselves (like say I'm cleaning up a broken glass or something) or destroy the house while I take a quick mommy moment (under 5 minutes). Or if one needs extra attention for some reason and I need to be able to give 100% of my attention to them without the other one climbing on me - like dealing with a bloody nose or something like that. It's certainly not that I'm putting them in their rooms for any length of time.
 

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I wish I could offer more than that but frankly I can see myself in your shoes very soon. My two are 20 months and every day seems to get more and more insane in terms of the tantrums, messes, etc... I had one day in public a few weeks ago where I felt like I just could not keep them safe and it kind of freaked me out.

I am sure you will survive though and I'll remind myself that I said that in a few months when I'm here crying
.

I hope others post some more ideas for you.
 

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I understand a little of what you are going through. Add a three month old into the mix on my end. I was talking to my mentor about this (she has 7 kids and 5 grandchildren) and she said that the only difference between two year olds and teenagers is that the teenagers can talk about their feelings with their friends, two year olds don't have the vocabulary yet.


When they started acting up, I decided to become a general - disobedience was not an option. There are very few rules in the house, but the ones that we do have are strictly enforced. We don't have high chairs either, but have boosters that strap onto regular kichen chairs. We really only use them for meal time for containment purposes, but if they have done something like broken a glass I will put them in there to keep them safe. What about putting one in a pack'n'play with some blocks while you focus on one and then switch? Would that work for you?

We also have a small child-size table that we use for things like non-messy snacks and activities. I find this works well because I can focus on both of them at the same time if we are all sitting together and sitting between them means that they have to go through me to get to the sibling.

In terms of physical fighting: we use the time-out method. Sort of. We take the offending twin and sit him down near to where the incident happend and let him calm down for a few moments then make him appologize to the hurt one. This doesn't stop them from going at each other half an hour or so later, but we know they get it. Part of it is also an age thing.

I'm sorry that you are going through this. I'm sure that with all of our ideas you will pick and choose the ones that are best for you.
 

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Hugs Mama! You will survive. In some ways I remember those days like it was yesterday. But I've also forgotten lots and I am having a hard time articulating suggestions to make your life easier. My twins are four now. Trust me the terrible two's will pass. But, twin toddlerhood is not easy.
I remember feeling like all the Moms with the one little girl were looking at me on the playground or at play group like I was crazy and I couldn't control my children ( I had a three year old as well). I would secretly wish their next pregnancy would bring them boy twins - mean I know.
I found places to take them that I felt I wouldn't be judged - local twins group play dates, family, close friends, and friends with multiple children (especially boys). I agree with the previous poster that you might want to let them solve some of their own disputes. IE don't be too quick to intervene. I had to learn to tolerate more noise and more chaos (I'm still working on this). We spent lots of time outside - somehow we all felt better with some fresh air. I live in New England so we would just bundle up during the cold weather months.
Like you I would feel bad if we had to leave someplace because one child was behaving badly, but I had a parenting specialist explain to me that this was part of being "a family". If you are consistent with your expectations and with your consequences it will begin to get easier.
I think around that age I found some parenting classes with and educator that had a philosophy that I agreed with. It helped to get out of the house with my spouse one night per week (they had on site care for the children during the class) - so that he and I could be on the same page with our parenting style. It also gave me hope.
Hang in Mama - It will get easier - I promise.
 

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You are not alone! Mine are in the Terrible Twos, too. THey fight. A LOT! One or both of them have bite marks pretty much for the last 6 months or so. I have no idea how to stop it, nothing works. THey fight, hit each other w/ toys, do things to make their sisters scream (I have 4 kids, boys are 2, girls are 5 and 7), refuse to stay in their seats at the table, throw food, destroy whatever they can. In other words, I have my hands full taking care of them. Some days I do nothing but comfort and boss. I try to have activities, and break the day into 'times." I think the only real answer is time. My older kids were a handful at 2, but by the time they turned 3 they were much better. There is something about the 2 year old phase... they can understand a lot, but cannot remember to not do things you tell them to. It's hard for them to mind, they have so much energy and curiosity. Just know that it will be better one day, andkeep on plugging along. That's what I do! I don't think there is any magic formula, and I think those who do better have less active kids. With active, spirited kids, you just have a lot of spirit to harness and channel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone. Today was a really hard day too and I didn't want to come back on the thread and be more of a downer. I'm sure things will be better tomorrow. (I hope, I think, I know, right?)
 

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I'm right with you. I feel like I should be on top of things, after all I only have 2 and they're both fairly light, well behaved girls. But they run in opposite directions ALL. THE. TIME. Getting them dressed to go out or got to bed, or anything is a huge struggle. I feel like almost every change is diaper rape. Not quite so bad, but after all the coaxing and cajoling and distraction, there are times when I have to just hold a girl down and change a diaper. Since they are hit and miss with potty training. Can't wait for that.

Anyway, I feel ridiculous that I struggle taking my two in public alone, and that I can get almost nothing done around the house when they are awake. And I take ibupropen by the handful because carrying 50+ lbs of squirming toddler is breaking my back.

But there we are! You're not alone.

And spirited kids are the best, right? I love my girls' defiance, but it can be hard on us now.
 

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My boys are 15 - trust me, it DOES get better! I remember 3 being a turning point, and 4 was like a whole new world - we took them on an 11-day vacation that we couldn't even have imagined a year earlier.

I think you need to change your expectations a bit. Don't get too hung on on alone time with them - when you are interacting with both of them, you really are first paying attention to one, then the other. You don't have to be alone in the room to do it - and it sounds like trying to do so is causing a big problem. I understand that it's really REALLY hard for the three of you to sit down and do something together, but that WILL change.

I have a confession to make - I don't think I EVER took my boys out by myself until they were 3 or 4, at least! DH and I traded off - one of us would go to the grocery store, the other would stay home with the boys. We didn't even take them out together very often. It's a pain in the neck, but again, it won't last forever.

I seem to remember that my boys were at least 2 before we dared leave them alone together for more than 10 seconds. We literally would "tag off" if one of us left the room, so we always knew who was in charge. If I was home alone with them, I would take one to the bathroom with me, or risk coming out to screams from a bite, pinch, or truck to the head. And my boys have always gotten along really well!

I sympathize with you, and I wish I could make it better! If you do know someone else with a toddler who could come over, it really might be better - at least you would have 2 adults to 3 kids, which is a slightly better ratio than 2 to 1!

The other comment you made that stood out was "I want a nice, calm, soothing atmosphere". I'm afraid you're going to have to let that dream go for a little while! I suspect that if you quizzed your parents, you would learn that you could create some chaos by yourself at that age too. Get the chaos to work for you - pull the couch cushions on the floor and encourage your toddlers to jump on them; play tag, throw Nerf balls, do somersaults - tire those kids out as much as you can.

Another idea - make sure your house is as toddler-proof as possible, so neither CAN wander off and get into trouble. Close doors to other rooms, and lock them if necessary (with a latch near the ceiling, that they can't reach). Put latches on the fridge, stove, and toilet seat. Get rid of everthing you can that isn't nailed down. We called it "Naked House Syndrome", and it saved my sanity (and my Grandma's antique mirror). We had toys and furniture - that was it. There was a heavy gate at the top of the stairs, and knob covers on every door.

Try to hang in there - this is the most difficult age of all, and while I know the days seem to last forever, it will end. One day you'll realize that you just spent 10 minutes on the phone without being interrupted by a scream!
 
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