Humor Parenting

A Letter to the Terrible Twos: You’re a Sour Patch Kid


By Beth Pugh

I have been waiting patiently for just the right time to say this. As the curtain falls on our time together, you have little more you can do to me that you haven’t already done. The right time is now. I can finally tell you what I think of you:

You’re a Sour Patch Kid.

In the days leading up to our meeting, I was overcome with emotion, much the same way I am now just days away from our parting. I was wrecked with anxiety and worry over how our relationship would play out. After all, people talk and I couldn’t help but hear stories…

They were true — the majority anyway. You came in like a twisting tornado and turned my baby into an uncontrollable heap of emotional distress exasperated by drowsiness, hunger, and exhaustion. You made his cries far more forceful and his heart exceptionally tender to the touch. I can’t count the number of times I’ve thrown up my hands in response to the fits you caused.

Then, there was the sudden surge of independence you brought with you. My boy, once gladly willing to let Mama put his shoes on, open his candies, and screw on sippy lids, did a complete turnaround. He’d cross his arms or run away, defiantly repeating, “Me do it all myself.” Initially, I was taken aback by this. My heart weighed heavy in my chest each time he refused my help. A mother’s greatest responsibility is to take care of her child, but my child wouldn’t let me and it was entirely your fault.

So was the mess you made of dinner time. I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow you made my picky eater even pickier. Not only could I no longer serve my son the go-to meals I had learned to rely on, but I couldn’t find any successful new dishes, either. I’m not responsible for the nights he ate Cheeze-Its for dinner. You are.

First, you’re sour. Then, you’re sweet.

When you were sour, you were really sour. You turned my family’s little world upside down. I hated you for it. You made me mad. You made me cry. You made want to scream and run away. But after a while, I made it through all the sour to reach your gooey sweet insides. Then, you were sweet as sugar.

You brought mother and son together in a way only you could. During the time we’ve spent together, you’ve filled me with joy so big my heart nearly burst. This joy greatly outweighs any frustrations or sorrow I could credit you with. If you ask me in the middle of one of those tantrums I mentioned earlier, though, I’ll deny ever admitting that.

You reinforced the potty chair. Finally, diapers and pull-ups were abolished, except for at night, just in case of accidents. You introduced pride through that. I saw it in my son’s eyes and couldn’t help but smile. It was a big step and he took it and ran. Not gracefully, mind you, but he did it and that’s all that matters.

With you came the communication I had waited so long for. I watched my child’s responses sharpen as his language skills improved. I counted on fingers as his sentences grew, enthusiasm building with each one I was able to hold up. Now that his longer sentences have become the norm, I’m past the point of counting. We carry on conversation daily. With those conversations, understanding is deepened, respect is gained, and love is strengthened.

Through the tears, tantrums, and time-outs, you taught lessons, for my son and for me. Though his pickiness is difficult to work around, I’ve come to realize it is one of the first ways he can exercise free will and control over a situation. The emotional madness you imposed upon our lives brought out the best in both of us once we adapted. You enhanced the nurturing ability residing within me and amplified my toddler’s sense of reasoning. At times I still fail to calm the storm inside him, but we can now walk together through his big feelings hand in hand.

Tomorrow, you will be but a memory. At 3:58 in the afternoon, our time together will officially come to an end. My son will blow out a number three candle with rainbow polka dots. He will then refuse the cake it sits on, but you know that already. He will open presents, run himself ragged, and that will be that. You and I will be over. I almost hate to see you go. Almost. Before you do, though, let me say this.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for the changes you brought to my life. You made a big boy out of my son, and though I miss the baby he used to be, I am over the moon in love with who he is becoming. The abilities and drive you’ve instilled in him amaze me. His once shunned independence will turn to self-sufficiency. His adamant persistence will evolve into determination, and who knows where that determination will lead? I don’t, but I can’t wait to find out. I owe that opportunity to you.

Goodbye, Terrible Twos. I’ll miss you.

P.S. I never cared too much for Sour Patch Kids before. Until now.


About the Author

I am a wife, mother, and daughter trying to find contentment in the world of chaos in which we live. I am striving to live a life like baby bear soup. It is my desire to share the life lessons I have learned with anyone willing to listen in hopes it might help in some small way. Follow along on my blog.