Oh, what a year! With one child on the verge of bidding adieu to the terrible twos and the other on the brink of welcoming them in, all I can do is quietly remind myself "I only have one more year to go."
The playpen diaries
However, I fear what I have learned this past year will hold no relevance in the year to come.
My daughter was, or is, a whiner. Everything she wants, asks for, or is asked to do is accompanied by a high-pitched whine or complaint.
As much as my husband and I do our best to curve this extremely annoying trait, our attempts are countered with an even higher, more annoying whine or cry.
Breathe - that is what you have to do when dealing with a toddler who just won't give up - just breathe.
Sounds simple enough, but when you are trying to be as calm as possible because your child is doing everything in their power to test your patience and no amount of reasoning seems to do the trick - breathing is no longer second nature but instead something that takes thought and concentration.
I love my children, but there are times I need to walk away and remember that one little phrase - just breathe.
However, with a birthday just around the corner, I can honestly say I have noticed a difference in my daughter's behaviour. She seems to at least be open to the idea of reason and bribes, which for any parent who has just endured a year of dealing with the unreasonable, is a step in the right direction. But, and this is a huge but, as my daughter moves into the next phase of her life, which I am sure is going to be filled with perfect manners, astute listening skills, sunshine and rainbows, my son is getting ready to take his leap into the world of the terrible twos.
I say leap because that is what he does.
He climbs on everything, jumps without looking and tries daily to show off his balancing skills, while at the same time trying to give his mother a heart attack.
With my daughter everything was a game of wits and reverse psychology.
With my son I have a feeling it is going to be more of a physical challenge and a test of my reflexes. I have a feeling there will be broken collectables, bruised knees, bumped heads, dirty walls and tears shed by both of us and that's not even thinking about potty training.
Everyone always says everything is easier with your second child, but I call bull-poop. How can it be easier when your second is nothing like your first? When one can be bought with a cookie and a movie while the other is climbing counters and table surfing? Perhaps when parents say things are easier with their second they are referring to how much easier it is to just let go, realize most of what your child does you will never really understand and that the best lessons come from a few simple but harmless mistakes.
When my daughter was my son's age she would eat her dinner no problem, the mess was minimal and she would always say please and thank you. My son on the other hand loves to wear his food, grunts when he wants more and by the time we are all done eating he has more food in his lap and on the dog, than in his belly.
At first I would let this bother me. I would sit beside him and gently scold him for playing with his food, or try and feed him to ensure it was getting in his mouth, but this would cause us both stress and anxiety.
After trying this a few times I realized it's just not worth it.
I would rather clean ketchup out of my child's hair than make him and myself miserable every night.
I'm not going to lie. I don't just sit back and watch with ease as my son makes a mess. I have to tell myself to breathe and let it go.
As I leave one year of the terrible twos behind me and embark on another, I may not be able to put to use many of the skills my daughter has kindly taught me. However, if I make it through year two and do it with my sanity, the next 10 to 15 years should be a breeze ... right?
Lyndsay McCready can be reached at 306-691-1255 or follow her on Twitter @Newsielou