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The way we see it, Julius, our 2-year-old, deals with many of the same emotions that we have as adults: anger, sadness, confusion, and frustration. So much frustration. Eardrum-shattering, end-of-day tantrums are the biggest hurdle we currently face in sharing a house (which now doubles as two offices and a playground) with our son.
Julius has mastered the tantrum. He falls to the floor with the weight of his entire body. Inconsolable, he pleads as though his life depends on watching just 10 more minutes of Cars or Toy Story or Brave or Frozen, or bringing every single one of his toy cars in the tub, or not wearing shoes to the creek behind our home. There is snot, red cheeks, and tears. Then, always and without fail, it all subsides as quickly as it came. Show me a tween or teen who recovers this fast.
Like most toddlers, Julius has plenty of wiggles he needs to work out (though not nearly as much as a 5-, 6-, or 7-year-old might), which means our trips into the woods behind our house are like little explosions of fun. They're fast, they're loud, and they're over quick.
Still too young to get bored the way older boys and girls do, a simple redirection or a shiny new focus for his attention is all Julius often needs. Move from one new object to the next. Repeat ad nauseam. All day. Every day.
Full of wonder:
Still too young to have grown oblivious to the wonders of minutiae in the natural world, a stick, a certain rock, or a solitary finger poked in a hole in the dirt might keep him occupied for minutes if not hours.
Not yet destructive or (too) elusive:
At 2 years and some weeks, Julius is still too young to do most things that could cause major damage. Sure, he's walking and running fast and furious everywhere we go, his little hands more curious with each passing day. But he's not old enough yet to escape the protective purview of his parents. Most of the trouble he can find can be mitigated by a watchful eye and some superhero-quick reflexes that apparently develop only upon parenthood.
Can be distracted for short periods:
We can drop him in front of one of his favorite animated films with a little bowl of fruit or granola or Cheez-Its and at least try to approach our lives with some semblance of normalcy.He can play quietly by our deskside with my old Hot Wheels collection while Mom works via Zoom all day and Dad pecks away at stories with looming deadlines. We can trust him with a little bit of space.
In having a no-longer-baby but not-yet-little boy, my wife and I have realized that, as tough as this age is, as turbulent as the twos can be, it might be the best for our culturally mandated sequester. And by the time our son gets to the point where we'll need to take into account those little boyisms that Julius hasn't quite developed, life in the outside world will have resumed as it was once before.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.