Two Year-old kids get a bad rap.
Oh sure, I’ve seen the meltdowns in the grocery store, the toy wars in the sandbox, the frazzled parents trying to get a tot cooperatively moving in the direction and speed they need to go. I also raised a few two year-old kids myself, although, admittedly that is ancient history.
I suppose it’s a case of the squeaky wheel when it comes to two year-old behavior. What most people see and experience is the negatives, of which admittedly, there exist quite a few.
There are redeeming qualities in two year-olds, apart from their general cuteness, and their adorable options in the clothing department. What is up with that anyway? How come little kids have such fun, bright, practical and comfortable pants, shirts, shoes and even sock options? Can we please just design a few of those in adult sizes? I have a particular fondness for Osh Kosh B’gosh styles which I think I’d look great in. Or not.
Sorry, I got sidetracked.
That right there is a two-year-old trait. Easily sidetracked. It’s one of those plus/minus categories. It can work for you or against you. Distraction is particularly important as you maneuver past any grocery items that might not be healthy choices. If I could distract my attention away from the donuts, soda and ice cream I’d leave the store with healthier options and a bit more cash left in my wallet. Dropping some niggling problem like a two year-old changes gears could help out my stress levels. Worry, worry, worry, oh look, something shiny, no worries. If only.
Two year-olds are usually a friendly sort. They’ll wave and smile at most people who say hello or smile at them. They’re eager to play with almost any willing playpal. I’ve seen two’s dance for an hour at a wedding reception without ever exchanging names or phone numbers. They were just happy dancing! That distraction thing then kicks in when punch and cake show up and the evening plays off as a massive success.
Here and Now
Two’s live in the moment. This very moment. There is no “in a few minutes.” Everything is now. That’s an enviable trait to copy. This right now takes all my attention. No yesterday haunts me as I do what I’m doing. Tomorrow doesn’t loom because I’m living the moment I’m in. Sure, that leans to the negative if taken to extremes, but so can overplanning, over scheduling and overdoing.
One particular two year-old I know acts quickly to literally wipe away tears when her mom or sister cry. If the tears last long enough she’ll run for the tissues and bring some to help staunch the flow. Then she gives a wonderful full on hug and a kiss on the cheek. What a perfect response. Twos get it. They feel that full range of emotion loud and clear and when they hear or see it in someone else their empathy sensors kick in to high gear. “I see you’re sad. Let me help, even if I don’t understand why you’re sad, I’m gonna do what I can right now to give love, attention and solace.” Perfect. Those Two’s notice, care and respond to grief, sadness and unfairness with a quick hand.
Honest to a T
Honesty abounds in two year-old, mostly. They let you know when something is “yucky” or they “don’t like it.” There’s no fudging around, wondering what the correct response should be. Yes or no rule. Maybe doesn’t exist. Count on them for a real answer. I’d like the bravery to act and speak so definitively.
It’s MINE! Except when I share it
Amazingly, the mine, mine, mine mindset that two year-olds often operate from can sometimes magically morph into sharing. Fairly generous sharing if you don’t mind half a mashed cookie or squishy banana bites. They don’t wonder if the gift they’re offering is good enough, measures up to your expectations and standards, or even if you want or need it. They just give and let it go at that. Good idea, I think, to apply to my life.
And surprisingly, there are times when the “mine” mentality needs implementing. Getting adequate sleep, eating well, meeting our basic emotional and physical needs so we can give from a position of strength rather than giving until we fizzle out.
Simple things easily entertain a two year old. No need to buy elaborate toys when they’d prefer the box the toy comes in. The top of a soft drink cup can keep some kids going for a good fifteen minutes, popping and unpopping the “bubbles” for coke, diet, and other over and over and over. This is another two year-old trait I’d like to emulate. Not that I’m simple minded, but I’d like satisfaction to come by simple, pure sorts of things that require imagination and activity rather than sitting and being spoon-fed couch potato food. I don’t need or want bells and whistles and flash and bang. A great book, a walk in the woods, a discussion with friends, music, bike riding, art, thinking. The more basic, the better.
Wall-e and Two’s
Recently, while watching “Wall-e” my daughter pointed out that little robotic dude behaves in many ways just like a two year-old. She was right. Focused, and yet easily distracted. Curious and driven. Playful and loyal. Simply entertained, generous, direct as possible, happy to help.
I’m lucky to have a two year-old in my life. She’s teaching me to be a better, calmer, generous, happier, responsive, more in the moment me. When I access those great traits I find a simple joy in life. It’s something to keep in mind. Food for thought.
Two-year-old’s: worthy of emulation.