I know why they’re called the “terrible twos.”

How is it possible that every request requires some combination of squealing, crying, whining, and jumping up and down? Eliza is 22-months-old and knows how to ask for things appropriately. (For example, she knows how to say, “Apple juice, please,” “shoes, please,” “crackers, please,” etc.) Yet despite all my teaching, she generally scream-whines “AP-PAL-JOOS, AP-PAL-JOOS!” or “SHOES ON! SHOES ON!!!” or “GODEFISH, GODEFISH, GODEFISH!!!” Where did she learn this? Please don’t say from me, because although I do raise my voice sometimes, I don’t jump up and down or scream requests and then continue to “fake cry” to try to get what I want. Not only that, but every time she behaves this way, I either 1) ignore it until she calms down, 2) correct the behavior by getting her to calm down and ask the way I’d like her to ask, or 3) ask her to grow up. (Okay, maybe the third approach won’t work.)

So, if I didn’t teach this to her, and it doesn’t work to get what she wants, why on earth does she continue to act this way? Is there an innate truth here about her age? Is she just in her “terrible twos” and there’s nothing I can do? I believe she is trying to learn boundaries and she is also constantly testing me to see how much independence she has. I personally think the behavior continues because she is incredibly strong-willed, so it will take some time to break the habit. But if I’ve missed something, can you point it out? If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. Because I can’t wait until she’s three to get through this. “HELP ME PLEASE!!!” (I’m stomping up and down.)

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