The Two-Year-Old

Teaching to Master Self

TwoAfter nine to twelve months, the “one” begins to venture abroad, outside of himself.

He identifies the “Mother” part of self as a significant other.

Self’s hands and knees can accomplish almost as much as Mother’s legs, making her less necessary.

Self begins to make decisions, some met with the reproof of slight pain coming unmistakably from no less than Dear Mother.

Self’s toys,pushed off the high chair, stop mysteriously reappearing.

Having only one flavor of nourishment becomes passe.

Eventually, self turns two.

Can you believe I’m not rolling my eyeballs as I think about this age? Some call it the “Terrible Twos”. I have noticed these people, quite often, also complain about the “Terrible Threes” and the “Terrible Fours”.

I suspect the terrible part of it is that the parents have not been meeting needs and blame all on the poor babe. This is not the tradition we want to adopt.

What is going on in the mind of this child and what are we teaching him?


The “two” is simply perfecting self.

Hours of playing peek-a-boo have taught that Mother is someone else, but is always near.

Attendance at Mother’s outings takes him places he either likes or dislikes.

Little spanks teach that Mother can inflict some of the pains of life, but she also comforts even these.

Introduction of solid food reveals that Mother knows more about nourishment than she originally admitted.

Us Two and No More.

Mother’s job is now easier at night, but much more taxing in the day. The homeschooling tasks have changed from teaching the babe that life is good, to teaching the toddler to fit into this life. For a while, then, it is only “Me and Mother”. Daddy and all others are suddenly banished. For a short while.

Yes! Or, no!

The “two” develops preferences.

Knowing which noises are his own and how to project his voice in a way that causes effects, he branches out into speech.

Gaining mastery of his own legs, he walks wherever he pleases.

Discovering that many things have flavors besides milk, and finding his mouth, he puts almost everything there.

In essence, this “two” has finally found the real self and found that Mother is another one, that he and she are two.

Having learned he has two hands, the “two” wants two cookies and sometimes can count that far. The “two” can easily begin a second language. This child also discovers sometimes there are two choices and sometimes the choice is his. Newly recognizing there are two answers to many questions, for a while, the “two” is confused about the appropriateness of the word “no”.

The Taming of the Two

It is the grace of God that teaches us “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts…” (Titus 2:11-12 KJV), a most important lesson. Again, we see how delaying a basic homeschool lesson can produce disastrously harmful results to spirit, soul, and body, in the future.

We could say that after having found himself, the two now needs to learn in infinitesimal increments, to deny himself and submit to authority. I need not tell you what is missing in the lives of our ever-increasing population of adult two-year-olds, who seem to need to learn the proper times to “just say no”. Some never learn it until they get to prison. Some never learn it at all.

More tomorrow.

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

3 thoughts on “The Two-Year-Old

  1. I love 2-yr olds; in my experience, 2 yrs is easier than bed baby age. I appreciate the new independence! Rather than crying because I left the room, the 2-yr old can walk with me as I put away folded clothes or take out the trash. We can talk as we walk and work together. He covets our reading time because he understands the books. He can feed himself and doesn’t spit up 🙂 And he can tell me when he’s sick and where it hurts!! Oh happy day– no more guessing about Is it an earache? sinus pressure??? And he can talk!! I love talking with 2 yr olds!! Yes, he is also ready to learn to OBEY– a very hard lesson, which requires clearly stated age-appropriate boundaries and expectations set by ME. And it is incumbent upon me to enforce those rules– the utmost self-discipline on my part is the first order of the day. Justice must be swift and sure; therefore, diligence is the name of the game for me. Yes, I’ll take a 2, 3, or 4 yr old over a tiny baby anytime 🙂

  2. Thanks for your reply, Abigail! And thanks for your diligence–you give my world one more mature adult to look forward to!

    Yes, the boundaries are essential, and although they press against them, the “two” really wants them and is only checking to see if they are real, if they will hold. If you make his boundaries stick, he will feel safer, will relax and just be his cute self. I am so glad you can see this.


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