Judah is not quite 21 months (I think...I sort of lost count around 19.5) but as those who know him well are aware, if you ask him how old he is he will proudly tell you he’s “tchoo!” For awhile I thought this little pronouncement was a product of two being the only number Judah could articulate to the point that anyone but the cat would understand him – I was wrong. 

It’s become clear to me that Judah really is “tchoo”, not in the chronological sense, but in the even more important attitudinal sense. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we’ve entered the “terrible twos”. I used to think the terrible twos were a bit of a myth- how bad could a toddler be? Not that bad... Right? Right? Right?.... Wrong again. He’s only 30 pounds and about three feet tall, but his willpower could fill a small football stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against strong willed people. I come from a long line of stubborn, opinionated, strong-willed people. Heck, I am one. Parenting someone with such a will, however, is proving to be a bit of a challenge. 

I can appreciate that Judah likes to choose what shoes he wants to wear for the day, what he’d like to eat for breakfast, whether he will take orange juice or milk with his snack. I like that he decisively picks the books he’s interested in reading, and focuses for significant periods on blocks or drawing, or any other task that he’s interested in that day. What is harder to appreciate is the same application of will towards diaper changes, for example. 

Scene one – The Diaper Change

*A terrible smell is wafting from the living room. It appears to be emanating from the diaper of the toddler hiding behind the living room curtain with a concentrated look on his face.*

Mommy: Judah did you pooh-pooh?

Judah: No.... poop. 

Mommy: Right. That's what I thought. Let’s change your diaper.

*Judah runs away from his mother shrieking with delight. 

His Mother captures him with lioness- like prowess (or clumsy desperation...who can say really) and lays him on the floor. 

Judah has a royal freak out, and begins to flail and kick*

Judah: No! No! No! 

*When no no no fails to stop his mother’s torture-in-the-name-of-hygiene...*

Judah: Ow! Ow! Ow!

Mommy: Judah, I’m not doing a frontal lobotomy here. 

Judah: NO! OW! NO! *continue ad nauseum*

The same scene has begun to play out around the daily brushing of the teeth, or as Judah affectionately thinks of it- water boarding, not to mention putting on a coat to go outside, having his hair washed, being denied hot sauce at the dinner table, having ambitions to ride the escalator at the library 115 times squelched and so on.

And so, Judah’s willfullness 

Has slowly begun to tip the balance into...dare I say it...bratty-ness. 

We don’t want Judah to be a brat. People don’t like hanging out with brats. Brats turn into entitled, not -fun- to- be- with adults. Strong-willed people can affect change, brats can affect the need for earplugs. Plus, a house fraught with bratty-ness makes everyone sleepy.

And so we have decided to “crackdown”. We aren’t exactly sure what form this crackdown will take, neither Luke nor I are very severe people. However, I don’t think severity is what’s needed here. I think the key to this little project will be consistency. Sometimes we follow through when we ask Judah to do something for us...and sometimes we bribe...and sometimes we ply him with raisins....and sometimes we take him kicking and screaming from public places...and sometimes he has a (forced) quiet moment of reflection on the bottom stair...and none of the times are we terribly consistent.   

Beginning tomorrow, consistency will be our middle name (not to be confused with any pre-exisiting middle names including Edward, Victoria and Danger).  Here’s hoping our new-found consistency will return our little stubborn sweetheart to us, and send the emerging screaming banshee back from whence he came.

Any tips, tricks or donations are welcome. 

Wish us luck!


  1. Jennie and Luke! Good luck! I am dreading the stage of crackdown and I know our son will become temper tantrum king!!! I will have to come to you for some advice!!! Do you think he would do a reward chart or jar? Fill it up with colourful balls when he does something good or give him a sticker, take a ball out when he doesn't? When he earns ten he gets a special dessert or something? Helps him count to ten too hehe :) Good luck!!

  2. Bravo. This level of candour is awesome and Judah is lucky to have such objective parents.

  3. AHG I just typed a big long thing and the internet erased it!!

    Ok, Consistency is the best thing you can do. Follow through on everything you say even if it takes half an hour. That being said, pick your battles. Some things are easier to let go than fight about for ages... and you don't want to just end up giving in after an hour long standoff.
    For hair washes i taped a picture of something Toby likes to the ceiling for him to look at and tell me about. It still takes A LOT of convincing, but i also find if i don't talk much about the hair wash he'll go in the tub, and then I just do it. And with diaper changes there's been many a time where i've had to have him on the bed with a knee across his chest to make sure we don't get giant poop smears everywhere. I counted to Ten really loudly and he usually calms down enough to listen and I hope like heck I can change him in ten seconds lol.
    I don't have a 'reward system' in place but i just constantly tell him that he's a good boy and I love him when we're just playing or in the car or in bed. If he throws a fit or is rude or hits or something I just leave the room and ignore him until he either calms down or asks me nicely to come back. I don't have a 'spot' for him to go because i think at that age it's too hard to enforce it, but leaving the room and not paying attention delivers the same principle. In extreme cases I tell him he's hurt me and it would be nice if he said sorry, but then I still leave the room and let him think about it. He used to get really offended and just cry, but now he comes out on his own and tells me, and then we go back to what we were doing without much more disscussion about it. Anyway, my point is that kids who are told constantly that they are good and they're loved will believe it and act that way. Kids who are told they're brats or bad or overhear you referring to them like that too many times will believe it and just continue to act out more for your attention. And I feel like if there's a constant 'reward' involved then they are behaving only for material gain and not because it makes them feel good. Like we go out for lunch if we've had a good week or i'll pick up a book for him if we're in Zellers, but it's not for EVERY kind act he does.
    Hang in there!!! Consistency will pay off!!