She’s Just a Two Year Old

Photography: Poppy Peterson Photography

By Alla Zaykova

My two year old is very verbal, very perceptive – a smarty-pants. She asks a tonne of questions and gives unexpectedly thoughtful answers. And because of that, I catch myself forgetting how young she really is.

And forgetting means I sometimes get frustrated when she acts like a two year old. This includes meltdowns at the need to get dressed, not taking “no” for an answer and worst of all – trying to bite me or pull my hair! It hurts and I get upset. And I think: If she’s capable of coming up to me and saying ‘I’m sorry mummy, I won’t do it again!’ completely unprompted, surely she should be capable of not doing it again? At least within the next half-hour?

And then I remember that she’s only been on this planet for two years. Just two! And in those two years, she had to learn every human skill from scratch.

So no, she shouldn’t yet be capable of the complex cognitive processes required for regulating her own emotions and behaviour, and it’s silly of me to expect it.

And then I remember that she’s only been on this planet for two years. Just two! And in those two years, she had to learn every human skill from scratch.

And I remind myself that I’ve been on this planet much longer than her. Twenty-seven years longer, to be precise. And I’m still only learning. I still snap at my husband when I’m tired. I still refuse to do something I know I should when “I don’t feel like it”. And I have the occasional tearful outburst when I’m in a desperate need of a cuddle…

But in the situations when my little one is going through big emotions, I need to be the adult. I need to get my act together and lead by example, no matter how many times it takes. As that’s the surest way for her to learn – when she is developmentally ready to do so.

So I apologise to my girl if I’ve lost my patience with her and try my best to find a solution to her little tragedies of the moment. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all only human. But she’s had so much less experience at it than me.

She’s just a two year old.


Alla Zaykova is a communications professional, a working mum and a storyteller with a newfound passion –  gentle parenting. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband and daughter. You can read more from Alla over at her website Midnight Mommy Stories

1 Comment

  • The photo is absolutely adorable!
    It is really incredible when you think about all the skills a human baby needs to learn whilst also grappling language and emotions. Mind-boggling!

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