My sweet angel daughter has been diagnosed with a common but often misunderstood condition known as: Being A Two Year Old.
Being A Two Year Old impacts millions of Americans and their loved ones each day.
Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
kicking, screaming, thrashing about and/or throwing oneself on the floor in utter despair when feeling frustrated because: your mother is singing along to your favorite song, someone put a bandaid on your owie, there is another person walking on the sidewalk, the swings are currently occupied, you are currently on the swing and and want to get off, you have just been taken off the swing and want to get back on, you are wearing sleeves, you are too big to fit inside the toy bin, your dad won't let you sit on your baby brother's head, someone said the words "macaroni and cheese" and a plate of it did not instantly appear, the big block will not fit inside the little block regardless of how many times you bang it, you saw someone blowing on your oatmeal to cool it off, you want to see the ducks but you do not want to turn around and face the river, the wind is blowing the bubbles too fast to catch them, someone either is/is not looking at you and you do/don't want them to, you are alive and the floor is there -- so why not?
Symptoms of caring for a two year old include:
extended periods of deep breathing, quietly counting to 10, gray hairs, deadness behind the eyes
Being A Two Year Old is a condition that impacts nearly each one of us -- even if you've never realized it.
If you've ever had to circumvent the frozen foods section of your grocery store due to the blood-curdling screams from the ice cream aisle -- that's BATYO in action. If you've ever been minding your own business on a train or a bench or in a church and had your peaceful quiet interrupted by a little voice insisting IwanttowatchaDowah! that's BATYO too. And if you've ever seen a formerly lovely human person reduced to a puddle of silent weeping than she is likely the mother of a BATYO.
Sometimes it may feel like the BATYO is doing it as part of an elaborate prank, just to torture you, or perhaps you ran over a puppy in your past life.
These feelings are perfectly normal. Don't be ashamed; it is not your fault and you're not alone. Hope is out there.
Is Being A Two Year Old Contagious? Will I catch it if I come in contact with one?
First of all, you can catch anything (including the plague) from a BATYO! Make sure your vaccinations are up to date!
Secondly, good question! It isn't uncommon for otherwise accomplished and self-possessed adults to begin displaying symptoms of Being A Two Year Old if they've been in the company of one for too long without a break. If you or someone you love becomes irritable when they can't ingest 50 string cheese in one sitting, expresses the futility of all existence when forced to say bye-bye to the ipad, or loses their mind completely at the first sound of the tubby... it's important to act quickly. Pick them up off the floor, shake the cheddar bunnies out of their hair, and immediately send them to a sensory deprivation chamber where they can be re-introduced into polite society by the calming lull of Carl Kasell's voice (or the movies. Or Target. Or a n y w h e r e. The point is to get them out of the house and away from anyone prone to weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth).
Is there any known cure for Being A Two Year Old?
Although scientists are engaged in compelling research, there is no cure at this time. Any and all behaviors associated with Being A Two Year Old (including every charming mispronunciation of the English language, every elated giggle at the sight of a puppy, every sweet kiss and gentle cuddle) will be replaced with behaviors congruent with Being A Three Year Old. The best "cure" is to buckle up and enjoy the ride; laugh as much as possible, vent when appropriate, and apply Twizzlers as needed.
How can I help?
The most important thing is to remain calm. A little BATYO is channeling the most primal part of the human psyche; in other words, they can smell fear and they will use it against you.
Being A Two Year Old is such an incredible display of raw humanity that it's only natural to stop everything you're doing and stare with mouth agape. This, however, is not helpful. The primary caregiver of someone Being A Two Year Old has likely read very many books on how to help her BATYO navigate this brave new world and although she's likely already meditated and prayed her way through the morning, she is likely feeling deeply embarrassed at the unplanned Spectacular Spectacular that is playing out before your eyes. Pointing and staring will only make matters worse. Additionally, shaking of the head, muttering parenting advice under your breath or trying to shout parenting advice over the screams of the little BATYO are also frowned upon. When appropriate, a word of comfort (I've been there) a gentle smile, or a well-timed eye roll may be offered if the screaming is too loud for other communication to take place.
Above all, it is important to remember that Being A Two Year Old is not easy. Treat them with as much compassion, patience, humor, silliness and kisses as humanly possible. Often a bear hug, a dance party, or a shiny object will restore unmitigated joy to their sweet little face (until they realize one of their socks has fallen off).
The most helpful thing you, or any one of us can do is to be aware that Being A Two Year Old is a real condition that should be met with tolerance and love. Although these behaviors seem annoying and disrupting to innocent bystanders -- try to remember that you were once a BATYO yourself (just ask your mama).
Just because you dont have a direct connection to the BATYO (or her mama) doesn't mean your attitude and behavior don't have an impact. These sweet BATYO angels will only learn how to be loving, tolerant, and respectful human beings if we treat them as such (even if they scream in your face when you try to give them an ice cream cone). It takes a village, people!
Although my darling daughter has an acute case of Being A Two Year Old, I feel confident that with love, patience (and perhaps a few Twizzlers) we will put this part of our lives behind us and go on to live ordinary and happy lives.
In the meantime, the next time you hear screams from somewhere near your grocer's freezer, light a candle and say a prayer: someone is Being A Two Year Old.