I Have a Friend Who is a Mother of a Two-Year-Old
Is it normal for a two-year-old to blink excessively? Not to smile? Hit? Avoid eye contact? Throw toys and other belongings? Is it normal for a two-year-old to bite? Is it normal for a two-year-old not to eat and live on air? Lose weight? Oh, and to scream randomly and get out of control?
Depending on the latest behavior your two-year-old is exhibiting, the curiosity continues. I must be honest, some of these questions would make one feel rather silly even as you type them. But then again, isn’t it the beauty of co-parenting with google? There will be no judgment to your seemingly paranoid questions as it goes into MacGyver mode on your behalf.
If you have a two-year-old, I would bet you have your own similar moments of wondering, if some random thing your toddler just did or has been doing with a passion is normal. I am here to tell you that it is normal to ask these questions and it is imperative that you do so. Here is why.
I have noticed that most new parents’ preparations tend to be too preoccupied with the first year of parenting and understandably so. Take my friend Mek who is a first-time parent. She had it covered when it came to the first year of parenthood. At least, the theoretical part. She read the books, watched what felt like hundreds of YouTube videos on the baby must-haves and essentials.
By the time the baby was due, she was feeling like a professional home video critic as she would easily tell you which videos good and which ones were were outdated and downright dangerous. Apparently, some of them recommended the recalled products.
However, even after the baby arrived safely in her arms, there were still lots of on the job pieces of training she had to do as she needed to master one skill after another to meet the daunting tasks of a first-time parent head-on. Daunting but not impossible. People would usually compliment her for the smooth way she was handling herself and the baby. She would smile and say, “Thank God for Google-TGFG”. Although there is a lot to say about it, my intention today goes beyond discussing the role of Google and the first year of parenting. I am rather interested in reflecting on the second year.
The beginning of the toddler years has the potential to pass by quick and be a bit overwhelming as well. For some reason, and maybe an obvious one, most parents do not really think that far ahead into the toddler years. Of course, there is a lot to look forward to. The time your baby will be walking and talking….will learn to discover their surroundings more …say dada and mama…melt your heart with cuteness overload with every sound and word they utter. But did you ever imagine that baby would, one day this soon, before her or his teen years, would wake up and start throwing stubborn ‘NO at your face? Not one or two but a whole staring- index -finger -waving no, no,no?! I know my friend did not. That is why on a typical two-year-old toddler parenting day, you would find her googling “is it normal for a two-year-old to…?”
Take the friend I told you about earlier. She has a two-year-old baby girl. A super cute toddler, as both strangers and friends alike keep assuring her on several occasions. As a doting mother and an even more so father, the parents strongly concur with this assessment. But she is not without, what I would call, her stubborn toddler moments. Just these past few weeks, it looks like she has suddenly decided to take up sprinting as a hobby. Shoes not necessarily required. If she sees a space around her and she is on her feet, off she goes running. There also seems to be a certain pattern to the direction she chooses to take and it is always away from her parents. Something her poor parents can’t help but take personally. Also, jokingly taking it out of proportion as they also wonder aloud if this means she has a tendency to want to go away from them when she grows up …may be go to an out of town college?
She pedals so fast. At first, they used to spend some seconds just standing and smiling to themselves while appreciating her attempt to outrun mommy and daddy. She seems to be too sure of herself and her newly found skill too. But it won’t be long before they realize she is increasing the gap, and this could potentially get dangerous. So, they go into panic mode and run after her. This happened too often to their liking. Especially when walking with her outside. Made them wonder if it is normal behavior for a two-year-old toddler to suddenly develop an interest in becoming a short distance runner. Or is this her special skill? But just in case there is more to this, my friend googled her question.
Not only is it normal, but there is also a whole bunch of articles on two-year old’s running fad and why they do it. While at it you can also learn, ‘how to stop your toddler from running away.” Also, as she shared, one of the articles apparently advises having a toddler if you want to lose weight. Which says a lot about my friend’s current weight loss. An issue for another day.
My friend and her family also went through the most common ‘Nooooo’ phase of a two-year-old. The first few times their daughter kept saying NO, my friend squarely put the blame on her husband and convinced him that it was his fault. It was because he was saying it too much in the toddler’s presence she would say. But, regardless of her conviction that her husband might have inadvertently incurred irrevocable psychological harm, she also wondered if it is a normal thing for a two-year-old to keep saying no this frequently.
Some much-needed google research and surprise, surprise not only did she learn that it was normal, to her husband’s relief, but she also found out that there is even terminology for it called, ‘toddler refusal’. Basically, your two-year-old is affirming her or his independence and newly discovered autonomy. Sigh all around.
That is why I say there are many reasons that should make parents feel good about asking these “is it normal “questions. For one, you will know that you are part of a greater number of two-year old’s parents that are out there insistently asking similar questions.
How would I know? As my friend would say, how else would google know to automatically finish these questions for you if other parents have not already been asking the same questions before? Just says that is what she keeps telling herself.
In time, you won’t even seek comfort in number. You will learn that a two-year-old is more than just a tiny human that has just started to walk or is still learning to walk. As the closest onlookers to your two-year old’s critical cognitive, emotional and social development, you would be in the best position to ask such a question when you deem pertinent. You can’t help but wonder if their latest odd or borderline eccentric’ behavior is part of what is considered a normal developmental phase. This will most definitely be a thought-provoking year for parents.
Secondly, as much as the questions are endless and keep your mind occupied, they do more than inform and calm the nerves of seemingly paranoid parents. One of these questions may end up being the reason you seek the early behavioral intervention you did not think your two-year-old needed.
Some of these questions are downright lifesavers in that they will prompt you to seek medical attention. Imagine wondering if it is normal for a two-year-old to keep tugging their ears? Not to say any word. Pee a lot and drink too much water? Walk on tiptoes all the time, to shake their heads too much.
There is a lot to say about each of these questions but just to prove the lifesaving side of it, let me say a few more words about the too much water intake and frequent peeing. If a parent observes such a pattern and wonders if it is normal, it would most likely lead to discovering that the child could need immediate medical attention. If you have ever heard of Type One Diabetes(T1D), you would know what I am talking about. Rest assured, you have saved a life right there by asking that question.
In conclusion, despite the findings being normal or abnormal, please note that there will always be something you can do about the situation you may find yourself in. There is always something you can do about it. Be it help your tiny human channel their newfound energy in a healthy way or guide their independence into a constructive path. There is something you can do to address even what is considered medically abnormal. It is normal. That is why I say to parents, do keep asking. Keep up the good parenting!