Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR

A PARENTING POST: Going Through the Wonderful Passionate Curious Happy Lovable Twos!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Elias’s journey through the “Terrible Twos.”

Well, he’s still two. And he’s still, on occasion–though I hate saying this word as it relates to my son–terrible. But it’s true. Twice, I’ve thought about sending him to live amongst a herd of pigs. But I love him too much to do that. Even when he’s being “two” and somewhat “terrible.”


But he’s not terrible. Even when he is terrible. He’s not terrible. He’s two. And when you’re two-years-old with the amazing ability to go from gut-wrenching laughter to an all-out screaming cry-fit in .12 seconds, learning how to manage those sensitive emotions would take time. Learning “limits” and “boundaries” and “how to interact with adults” is still difficult for me sometimes, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for Elias.

So one thing that Jessica and I have decided is that, while we navigate the sometimes troubled waters of Elias’s second year and help him to develop (hopefully!) good people skills (and the ability to share!), we are going to resist defining “two” as “terrible.”


Because, for every terrible moment, Elias has 10 wonderful moments: Moments full of laughter and energy. Moments when he’s curious and smart and funny. Moments when he’s being a tease or being creative or desiring to learn something new. Moments when he’s joyful and shy and passionate and sweet and lovable. And so many more…

And we don’t want to miss those moments. We don’t want to become so focused on the “terrible” moments that we forget to celebrate the moments when he’s “as good as gold.”


So I wonder: Why in the world do we identify this beautiful (yes, sometimes stressful-get-on-my-last-nerve-makes-me-want-to-drink) stage by the negative events?

Of course, we didn’t do that. Our parents did. Or maybe it was our parents’ parents. Or was it the Puritans? Or perhaps it’s somehow prehistoric or biblical or some strange combo of the two (biblically prehistoric?!) Even though the person or people who coined the phrase “terrible twos” or “threes” or “tweens” had (have) a point, I think sometimes focusing on the negative aspect of this stage keeps us from enjoying the truly terrific tremendous thrilling transformable totally touching “two” moments that occur.


So… though Jessica and I are still learning how to handle Elias’s crazier moments, one thing we have started doing is making a really big deal about his non-crazy moments–the simple when ones. When he brushes his teeth without a fuss–we get excited. When he says “tank uuu” or “peaze” without being prompted–we clap. When he’s excited about a book or a show or an accomplishment, we do our best to be excited with him.

Because thoroughly enjoying the good “two” moments–both big and small ones!–fills us up and gives us the strength to handle the not-so-enjoyable “two” moments with a little more patience, compassion, and wisdom.

And sure, the “terrible” moments still happen (last night!) but remembering there’s a “peaze” moment right around the corner (or after a nap) helps. At least, it helps a little…

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

Definitely don’t define twos by terrible.

Save that for when he’s three.

(Seriously, he’s gorgeous and none of it is exclusively terrible.)

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

I can SO relate to this. My Rylee is two and she is beautifully wonderful MOST of the time – but those other moments. Oh. My. Lord. I want to scream! (and sometimes do…)

But I have my “other moments” more than I like to admit and so I’m trying desperately to extend the same grace to her that I want others to extend to ME in those moments.

By the way, Elias is adorable…

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

So true! Good for you guys. Two is wonderful, really. (Despite the fact that my son had a 40 min. melt down just yesterday) 😉

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

My son wasn’t so terrible at two. He saved it all up for three and there were days where I found myself in my closet in the fetal position trying to get Dobson on speed dial. And now my sweet princess angel baby daughter is showing us what two is all about. She is so good most all of the time, but when she is showing out, it is terrible. Like the poem about the little girl with the curl… but she has had two open-heart surgeries and is getting ready for a third, so I feel doubly guilty for not cherishing every little second of her life, even when she is doing an impression of a tornado-warning siren.
I think the quote from Anne Lamott in “Bird by Bird” says it best- “Toddlers can make you feel as if you have violated some archaic law in their personal Koran and you should die, infidel. Other times they’ll reach out and touch you like adoring grandparents on their deathbeds, trying to memorize your face with their fingers.”

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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted October 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

    LOVE that quote. And love Anne Lamott.

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Lisa Johnson

posted October 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

Call them the terrific twos, if you need a name to describe this passage of time…both my boys drove me crazy when they were three and learned how to say the word NO louder than they ever had said it before!
They’re both teenagers now, and though it might sound trite, enjoy them now, because the time, the time goes so fast and I may have rolled my eyes when I heard it years ago and was ankle deep in diapers and messes, but it is so true.
(wow-that Anne Lamott quote is great!)

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Sara Taylor

posted October 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for sharing! I had a checkout woman at the grocery store encourage me to do the same thing! She said, “Don’t call them the terrible twos. They are TERRIFIC!”. It was such sweet encouragement because, while being incredibly hard to deal with at times, they are AMAZING little people just learning to deal with the world around them.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Matthew – I too can relate. And do I dare tell you… that our boys are 6 and 9! And I can STILL relate!!! That gives you something to look forward to! They are truly wonderful – and those wonderful moments do out-number the “not so wonderful” moments – thanks for the perspective – I’m going to try harder to focus on the positive!! (By the way – I’m Sara’s (Gitz) friend, Susie – she sent me the link for this post. She knows me SOOO well!)

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Brother K

posted October 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Glad to see you’re defining the “twos” for yourself. I’m at home with two year old twin girls (I’m the freelance artist, Mommy’s the Doctor) and for me the sheer amount of love, joy, discovery and pleasure of being FAR outweigh any stubborn pouts, even when the two decide to double-down in support of each other against “the man”.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm

So much truth here! I’ve always avoided using the phrase “terrible twos” because, despite the drama, two is such an amazing year of growth and laughter and discovery. I was so sad the night before my son turned three, knowing I would really miss two year old Bennett.

Not to gloss over the challenging times either…because they are reality too! One way I tried (and try) to keep my sanity during the most difficult limit-testing days is to remind myself that it is his JOB to test me. It is developmentally appropriate and one of the (frustrating) fascinating ways their little minds figure out this big, crazy world. And it’s my job to respond appropriately so he can learn what we want him to know about love, trust, limits, authority.

It also helps to give myself a reality check and realize I sometimes expect more in the way of self-control and automatic obedience from my preschoolers than I require of myself. It doesn’t mean I need to expect less of them, but maybe be willing to extend grace that I so desperately need myself.

Best wishes on your journey of parenting a two year old! It’s an adventure!

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Anne Blackburn

posted October 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Absolutely LOVE reading your posts about Elias – it’s the fun, so-serious side from the dad!

Keep the updates coming! And, good luck … such a journey, but SOOO fun!

Friend of Dan and Melissa’s :)

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Daryl Brewton

posted October 19, 2010 at 7:49 am

Great Post. My wife and I decided we would not classify our daughter’s journey through the two’s as terrible. Did we want to give her back a few times? Sure! Did both of us say “that is YOUR child not MINE!” We did all of that, but for all of that I’m still thankful for EVERYTHING God has put into making her. Gabby Rei is 3 1/2 now and a beautiful little tomboy who loves Dora and princesses. When I get exasperated or wore out I just always say that I would rather be chasing her down or whatever instead of sitting at a hospital bedside and praying that God would just let her move a little or just to live just a little longer.
I had turned 40 a month or so after she was born, so I’ve been able to see and appreciate her so much more than I know I would have if she had arrived much earlier in my life.
So, I thank God for ALL of the growing years and I always pray for God to minimize the mistakes I will make with her and to please magnify the good that we pour into her.
As always, enjoy your posts.

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