Little A has turned two! With a vengeance. The terrible twos are real, man. Remember how he used to lie on the floor when he was sad? Those were the days. Now he screams upon the first hint of experiencing a negative emotion. If I thought non-reactive parenting was hard before, it’s an extreme endurance exercise now. Several times I’ve caught myself yelling, “USE YOUR WORDS!” (Smooth move, ex-lax.)
But he’s a joy, too. He smiles, laughs, and gives kisses like they’re going out of style. My youngest son has spent the last two years honing the cutest ways to gain the most attention. And I ain’t mad at him. Read on to get a peek at his typical daily schedule and the milestones we’ve been working on. And how a neurotypical two-year-old boy is wiping the floor with me.
DITL of Little A*
These are approximate times, as Little A isn’t the most reliable of schedule keepers. It isn’t so much that we do everything at the same time every day, but more that we always follow the same order and flow of activities.
- 7 am: Wake up
- 7:30 am: Breakfast
- 7:30-8 am: Play and get ready
- 8:30-11 am: Morning activity! Sometimes it’s the library, sometimes it’s the playground. Even when we don’t go out, there’s some kind of structured play activity or running around in the back yard.
- 11-12 pm: Learning time! We work on shapes, colors, pre-reading stuff, counting, etc. Sometimes Little Baby Bum or another kind of educational video does this for me.
- 12:oo-1 pm: Lunch, clean up, story
- 1-3 pm: Nap (if he wakes up early then its quiet time while I work)
- 3:30 pm: Snack time
- 4:00-6:00 pm: Play time! We try to wear them out before dinner—lots of wrestling and jumping. Josh and I will do a 15-minute HIIT workout to get the boys jumping with us.
- 6:30 pm: Dinner
- 7:15 pm: Bath, clean up, get ready, story
- 8:00 pm: Bedtime
*this was written before the COVID-19 outbreak and is mostly out the window. Ah, nostalgia.
Two Year Milestones
Most 2-year-olds have reached these milestones. I’m not a doctor.
- Stands on tiptoe
- Kicks a ball/throws it overhand/tries to catch it with two hands
- Begins to run
- Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
- Walks up and down stairs while holding on to a railing
- Begins to jump with two feet
- Balances on one foot
- Can pull or carry toys while walking
Little A has the gross motor stuff down! Kicking and jumping with two feet were the last skills added to his repertoire.
- Makes/copies straight lines and circles
- Starts brushing own teeth and hair (but grown-ups should help with teeth until age 7)
- Pulls pants up and down
- Turns on faucets and washes hands
- Practices snaps and zipping up
- Holds utensils and crayons in fingers instead of fists
- Scribbles at will
- Turns over a container and pours out its contents
- Turns doorknob/unscrews lids
Little A is doing most of these things. He has not been copying circles but will do straight lines all day. I’m not sure if he can wash his own hands. Even on a stool, he can’t reach the faucet. And he can stop pulling down his pants any time now. He is very interested in his penis.
- Copies others (especially other children)
- Gets excited when other children are near
- Shows more and more independence
- Displays defiant behavior
- Participates in mostly parallel play (plays near other children, not exactly with them)
- Has tantrums when frustrated
- Becomes aware of self as own person
- Fears things like loud noises/certain animals
- May be able to tell you when diaper is soiled/needs to go to the bathroom
Does Little A get extra points for tantrums and defiance? Cuz he should. His parallel play with Big A subsists of bossing him around. Little A is starting to understand that he can do more than Big A can do. And that he can…push him around. We have to monitor his play with Big A very closely.
- Points to things/pictures in books when named
- Knows names of familiar people and parts of body
- Says sentences consisting of 2-4 words
- Follows simple instructions
- Repeats words in conversation
- Starts asking “what’s that/why?”
- Begins using plural nouns
Do plural nouns exist in American Sign Language? Little A’s interaction with these skills is a bit skewed. He still doesn’t use much verbal language and relies on signing. Little A does say sentences in ASL and has started to verbally repeat random words. He has been able to point to pictures in books and name parts of his body (by pointing) for several months. Little A asks questions by signing “what” and employing a special grunt.
- Finds things hidden under 2-3 covers
- Begins to sort shapes and colors
- Completes familiar sentences and rhymes in books
- Plays simple make-believe games
- Build towers of 4+ blocks
- May start using one hand more than the other
- Follows 2 step directions
- Remembers and talks about past events
- Completes 3-4 piece puzzles
- Recognizes basic symbolism (nodding head “yes” and “no”)
- Begins to understand time words like “now,” “later,” “a few minutes”
Little A is mostly on track with the cognitive checklist. He has not been using one hand more than the other, and signs “yes” and “no” way more than using his head. I think he understands concepts like “later.” Or, at least, he sure screams loudly when we tell him he has to wait.
Delays To Possibly Be Concerned About
If you have any concerns about the milestones listed in this article, see your pediatrician. If your pediatrician takes a “wait and see” attitude, kindly and fiercely persist.
If the toddler in your life has not reached these milestones or is displaying these behaviors, get louder.
- does not walk “properly” (their word, not mine): walks primarily on toes, unsteady after several minutes of walking
- does not say 2-word sentences
- does not follow simple directions
- does not remember skills that were previously mastered
- cannot push a wheeled toy
- does not speak 15 words by 18 months
- does not initiate actions or words by the end of two years
- makes vowel sounds but no consonants
- does not engage in pretend play
- makes limited eye contact
Y’all Weren’t Kidding About The Terrible Twos
Big A was way easier at this age. We could tell him “no” once and he’d never do it again. Big A is much more…go with the flow. I don’t know if that has more to do with his temperament or autism diagnosis. Not the case with Little A. He needs to be told “no” a lot. Like, a lot. And needs constant attention. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
I worry that Big A doesn’t get as much of my attention. When I try to fit in some quality time with Big A, Little A screams and/or throws a tantrum (I continue the activity with Big A, regardless of his brothers’ reaction). This display of emotion is upsetting to Big A.
It feels as if I’m being torn between the two. I worry that neither is getting my full attention; or that they resent each other. What on Earth are we going to do when Baby #3 arrives in August? (Did you know I’m pregnant? Yeah, I totally am).
How did you deal with the terrible twos? How do you split your attention between siblings? Let me know in the comments. Mama needs help. If you found this article helpful, smash that share button.