I was recently venting to a Swiss mom friend about my youngest graduating into the “Terrible Two’s.” She looked at me completely puzzled. Turns out, it isn’t even in their vocabulary here.

Whether it’s in your vocabulary or not, if you are a mom and you have a child that is beyond, say, 18-months, it’s likely you are no foreigner to the new behaviors that blossom as our little ones approach two. I remember when my first son hit that phase and most of our friends had younger babies.

I remember how they looked at us with wide eyes and then back adoringly at their own innocent offspring. And they didn’t know they were thinking out loud but I guarantee they were…at least in my mind. It was as if they were saying, “Oh my, they have lost control of their little one. Whew, we have this under control. Ours will NEVER be that out of control.”

And oh how shocking when theirs, too, embarked on the same behavioral detour. Luckily, they got to watch my child do it first and they had evidence that we were still living and breathing to laugh about it on the other side.

My youngest son, Owen, has been approaching the edge of the ledge since about 15 months. He is a strong-willed child, as we discovered at 10 months when he completely refused liquids for 7 days straight for no apparent reason.  So I can’t say I was shocked when he wanted to start exerting his will sooner than the big 2 year mark. Slowly, he has moved closer and closer to the explosive toddler insanity, and I would say, over the last few weeks he has arrived.

Certainly many of you know the scene: you are leaving the store with your load of groceries and your little one decides leaving the store isn’t his plan. So he arches, and screams like you have just pinched him or taken his treasured blanket. And he carries on and on to no avail.  Your blood pressure rises, you loosen your scarf (that you threw on to look more put together, ha!) and feel like it will never end. You do everything you can to distract your child and pacify the screaming while the general public look on in amusement.

God forbid there is a grandmother or older mom there because she might look at you with that look of “Oh my, that young mom…” If you ever see that look translate it in your mind into “My kids are way beyond this, and if I am honest, I forget all about how hard this was!”

If we are honest, we have all had those times with our kids, when it appears all of our hard work of bringing up amazing, brilliant, respectful children flies out the window. They temporarily lose their minds, and there is just about nothing we can do to steer them back to reality until their little brain hits that switch. And trust me when I say I have pulled out all of the stops.

It is often as if Owen hits the switch himself and the whole scene never happened.  I’ll be honest, when the flailing stops and the disaster is averted I am worn out! I promise myself I will never again brave the store with him or that he will have to weather the winter without a hat and gloves that we fight over each morning.  I remember with my first child I had a hard time even laughing about the fits; I now find myself much more able to anticipate the crazy and maintain my cool despite my utter humiliation in public.

But then, that giggling starts, or those chubby arms wrap around my neck, and somehow it melts away. The way he starts tickling every time he hears the word “pickle” because he is convinced there must be tickling implied! The way he runs toward just about everything he does with such enthusiasm and gusto. Who he is now, that bundle of exploding independence, brings so much joy to our family.  TERRIBLE TWO’s and all.

Are you able to laugh off the tantrums or do they bring you down? How do you handle the “crazy?”

This is an original article written for World Moms Blog by our mother of two in Switzerland,  Kristen Kolb of Seasons Worth Savoring.

Photo credit to the author. 


Kristen is a stay-at-home to two little boys, Jackson (4 yrs) and Owen (nearly 2 yrs). She was born in New York, but eventually made her way down to Texas. She and her husband, Seth, met in Dallas and were married in December 2005. Nine months into their marriage Seth received a call that he had landed his dream job, one catch, it involved world wide assignment. The adventure took them from Texas to Washington, D.C., on to Bogotá, Colombia and then back to Washington, D.C before bringing them to Bern, Switzerland! Kristen and her family have currently lived in Bern for more than 1 year, where her husband works for the US Department of State. Four moves and 2 children in nearly 6 years of marriage have made for quite the adventure in motherhood! Kristen finds motherhood to be one of the most humbling and character building things she has ever experienced. The responsibility of raising boys with integrity and respect at times feels daunting, but she couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Kristen is a Speech Language Pathologist but has taken time away from working to focus on her family. Although she enjoys the travel and adventure involved in her husband’s career, she often finds herself feeling far from home and working to make the most of time abroad! On her blog, Seasons Worth Savoring, Kristen writes about daily life with two little boys, including her experiences as she navigates a foreign culture and walks by faith. In her free time, or rather in her busy time with two boys attached to her legs, Kristen enjoys cooking, photography, antique and thrift store shopping, working on crafts, and blogging.

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