Monday, December 20, 2010

Terrible Twos

Well, it has finally happened. Stephanie seems to have officially hit the Terrible Twos. It just took us a while to recognize the syndrome, because the symptoms are very atypical. The massive increase in tantrums, the screaming and wailing and crying and shouting and red-in-the-face meltdowns...just don't happen. She's not an angry character. She's a peaceful, easy long as she is allowed to set all terms. And have 110% of your attention. She won't have a fit if you don't pay attention, but you can bet she'll hop on the chance to get up to a mighty amount of mischief in a hurry.

She is an opportunist. It's like we have to baby-proof the house. She's into everything and using it in a the most devious ways. Although art supplies have been accessible since she was a baby, she is (for the first time) using them to draw on furniture, toys and books. Scissors definitely had to go out of reach, as did paint and glue. Toothpaste has been the #1 target for a few weeks now. We've had to be sure to keep all toothpaste well out of reach. She lets us know when there are weaknesses in our defenses. I thought my medicine cabinet was high enough, but apparently, the bottom shelf was not. One evening, while Markus thought she was with me and I thought she was with him, she was actually redecorating our bedroom with toothpaste.

The scene of the crime. Sigh.
Sugar has also become a major subject of adventurous pursuit now that we have a pantry. We moved the sugar pot to high ground, but she will eat it right out of my teacup before I can pour in the tea. A few nights ago, I was awakened after midnight to a loud crash from the kitchen, followed by Stephanie wailing for "Mama Papa Mama Papa!" I flew down the stairs to find her at the bottom of the pantry (on top of the thankfully unbroken wine bottles; ouch). She had dragged three chairs into the kitchen before finally scaling the shelves unaided. I'm not entirely sure if she was even awake at the time. It's crazy.

Stephanie is happiest when naked, and keeping her clothed in public is a real effort. She has also adopted the Aussie need to be shoeless. When she does wear shoes, they are inevitably on the wrong feet and there will be no correcting them. We have learned to dress her in the only two dresses she owns that zip up the back so she can't strip the moment she gets a chance. Of course, she now recognizes this property of those dresses and lets her extreme aversion to them be known. Fortunately, we are in summertime and it's usually warm enough not to fuss about clothes at home. A recent odd patch of cool weather really pushed us to our limits trying to keep her dressed and healthy, but other than that, we shrug it off and let her enjoy her "nackedei" status.

The only exception to the no-clothing rule is dress up clothes. She has gotten into that phase in a major way! She loves to dress up in princess or ballet clothes. But no underwear is permitted. Ever.

So what makes this abundant cuteness qualify for the "terrible" twos? It's not the behavior. It's the relentlessness. She never lets up, from dawn until well after dark, she craves and requires CONSTANT attention; without it, mayhem ensues and rapidly (Ellie is quick to jump on and increase the speed of the mayhem bandwagon once Stephanie gets it going). Though rarely naughty, she is very mischievous and she does delight in pissing Ellie off when Ellie presents herself as an easy target (her whining and fussing has taken off proportionate to Stephanie's new crazy).

Stephanie's days run from around 5am to 9pm, which is far longer than I like my own days to run. It doesn't leave Markus or myself with any real downtime during the week, and the weekends aren't enough to compensate much of the time. We're exhausted and it's getting harder to keep up. All the things I used to count on doing during her resttime can no longer be counted upon to happen at all. I'm behind on just about everything. The only reason I got this blog post done is that the girls were (mostly) playing together quite well, with the exception of a couple of minutes ago when they used my focus on the computer as an opportunity to try to invade Oma's room during her nap (I had to run at top speed to snatch up Little (naked) Monkeypants and intervene just in time). Oy.

The Terrible Twos are here.

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