Paying Attention to the Terrible Two’s

Just last week my sweet Madeline turned two.

100_2731Yes, this girl.  She is giggly, full of laughter, smart, fun, and, to add to this list, a bit of a whiner.

And a weiner, if you ask me.

Madeline had always loved her pacifier, a binky, she called it, and would happily take it any old time of day.  When we knew we were expecting again, we allowed her the binky only for naptime and bedtime, in order to begin a process to wean her off of it.

Although Madeline hadn’t seen a pacifier for almost 3 months before Clara was born, she knew exactly what it was, and she still wanted it.

Seven and a half months later, we are still fighting with Madeline over a pacifier.  During naptime or bedtime, she steals the pacifier right out of her sister’s mouth, then climbs back into her own bed.

Obviously this is frustrating.  Not just to my husband and I, but I’m sure to Clara as well.

I mean, imagine you’re cuddled up in a blanket with your soft bear, sucking away on a pacifier when, oh no!, something rips the pacifier from your mouth.

I can totally understand why she screams when this happens.

Ryan and I have tried a lot of different things to discourage this behavior.  We have talked it through with Madeline, pointing out how upset her sister is.  We have made her give the pacifier back.  We have flicked her hand.  When she laughed at me after I flicked her hand, I tried slapping her hand.

That is about as far as I’d like to go with a two year old.

And yet we still found ourselves refereeing “binky wars” each time the girls went down to sleep.

After doing a few internet forum searches (because where else would I find sound parenting advice?), I came across a poster who suggested to a fellow mother that perhaps her toddler just felt left out and needed some extra attention.

Though it seems obvious now, the thought hadn’t occurred to me before.

But how could it not be?

Nursing Clara takes up almost an hour of the day (four times at around 15 or so minutes each time), plus I have to carry her from room to room.  I spoon feed her about half of her miles, and I have to help her with her water cup at every meal.

Girl needs a lot of attention.

My Little Miss Bits, on the other hand, can do so many things for herself.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need my attention.

So tonight, after bath time, I tucked little Miss Squishy Bean into her crib.  I called Madeline into the living room where we enjoyed some ice cream together.  We read together for a while, then colored for a bit.  When Madeline announced “baby doll sleepy” (talking about the toy doll she had been carting around all day), I figured she might want to go to bed.

And with that my two year old happily walked into her room and climbed into her own bed…

To steal the pacifier only twice tonight.

But nonetheless it’s progress.

And regardless, if it’s a little more time and attention my little Madeline needs, then I am happy to oblige.

After all, that is why this physicist is domesticated.



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