For the past 3 years or so I've referred to B's occasional outbursts and random crappy disposition as her "terrible twos" even though she's been between 4 and 6 1/2 years old. We never suffered through that urban legend of the second toddler year and I often thought "My, aren't we so lucky to have a toddler with such a sweet, contented spirit all the time?" As the years went by, however, we eventually came to a crossroads where we met "angry crying child" with her evil power of "the vomit threat" or TVT as it will be referred to from here on. Angry crying child showed up so often and so violently that I became fearful of ever doing anything to spark a crying jag. This left a narrow road as most things that can be displeasing to a child were the things that would eventually lead to scream-crying and TVT. The dubious beginnings of these 'episodes' were soon left in the dust as the crying escalated to screaming escalated to coughing escalated to gagging escalated to TVT escalated to actual vomiting. This phase lasted approximately 10 years during her 3rd and 4th years.
Eventually TVT was phased out when I learned how to talk her down before the escalation. But the crying jags continued as did the sour faces, scowls and general bad attitudes whenever she didn't get her way. I figured this was all normal and quite possibly pay back for the precious 2 and 3 year old angel I was afforded. My fuse grew shorter and shorter these years which only attributed to scenes of me dashing around the house shutting all the windows so the neighbors (in the brand new, expensive houses behind us) wouldn't hear her. I was coping, but I was also a mother on the edge. How long this really went on I have no idea, I'm sure it felt a lot longer than it actually was. Looking back it's funny to note that things have been steadily and vastly improving, a fact I seem to have missed in its making, but now I'm harvesting it's sweet sweet fruit.
I honestly can't remember the last time Bea had a good solid anger cry (maybe a year ago?) and I can, in fact, note with some assurance that her attitude has been rather marvelous (generally speaking) since she started Kindergarten at 4 1/2. It's only been very recently that I've stopped myself from mentally referencing the 'terrible 2' phase when she has a minor meltdown because, honestly, they're not really meltdowns anymore. I have to admit that even as her mother I have noticed an Astonishing change in her overall attitude in the past 3 days. She's been positive, gleeful, "yes mommy, yes daddy" every time we ask her to do something. When she's denied something only her face reveals her disappointment while her words seem to struggle to form some kind of acceptance. In short, it's amazing. I still find myself internally cringing when I have to say "NO" to her, but her reaction is so contrary to the one I'm used to that I might just start saying "NO" more often! (probably not though, as her sweetness just makes it easier for me to give in.)
I think I can officially declare the terrible twos over. I made it. I pat myself on the back because, holy crap, when I look back over the past 3 years it looks (from one perspective only, of course) like one hellish ride. Now when I call to mind the coughing/ gagging noises that were harbingers of the sheet-stripping to come I can easily laugh about it. B is an exceptional child. She has always been intense in every aspect of her personality, even as a baby. Seeing the little person that she's beginning to turn into makes me glad to have suffered through the intensity of those few years.