difficult phases

Dear Eddie,

Oh my little buddy.  We are entering a difficult time.

You are at that rough age of two-but-not-quite-three.   You want so badly to do things by yourself, on your own, without help.  You want things done your way, on your schedule.

You struggle to communicate your wants, and when we have to say “no,” you struggle with how to show your anger and frustration at not getting your way.

It hurts my heart to watch you go through this phase.

Sometimes the minute you come through the door after getting home from daycare our push and pull starts. I will ask you if you had fun and you will shout, “NO!”

I will tell you I missed you and you will yell, “NO!”

I’ll try to hug you and you will pull away and tell me, “NO TALK A ME, MOM.”

I know you’ve had a big day.  I know you were probably cheery and fine for 95% of that big day.  And I know you are tired.

So you will get your juice from the fridge.  And if it is not full enough, you will want to pour your own.  And I will say no.  And you will slap the couch or coffee table and take off for the nursery all the while sobbing, “I JUS WANNA JUICEY. NO JUICEY FOR EDDIE. MOMMY NO JUICEY. I WANNA JUICEY.  WAAAAAAAAAAA.”

You are so much like I was at that age.

It makes Grandma and Grandpa giggle.

It makes me smile too, because I can actually remember being an over dramatic, whiny child.

But at the same time, something inside me breaks when you just can’t find a good thing in this world to smile about.  I search you for my sweet little boy.  My Eddie Bear.  And he is not there.

He is replaced by a sad, frustrated, anger ball of a toddler.

I try to stay calm.  I let you stomp to the nursery, but I know you are also frustrated because all your things are moving downstairs.

I hate this that phase–and I know it’s a phase–is aligning with you becoming a Big Brother.

Things are changing and you both love and hate it.

You are so eager to help with Charlie and to know when he will be here and to tell people about him.

But you hate that you can’t sit in his infant tub or play with his bottles or lay on his activity mat.

You want to do things yourself and be a Big Boy.

But you don’t want to give up your spot as my Baby either.

This week, while daddy was in class, you and I rocked in the nursery before bed.  You asked me to sing the ABC’s, so I did. Then you asked me about some of baby Charlie’s things that are piling up in the nursery.

I answered your questions.  Then there was silence.

In that silence, you nuzzled your face closer to me and put Lamby up to your nose.

I leaned in and said, “Hey Eddie.  Guess what?”

And you looked up and went, “huh?”

“You are so very special to me, do you know that?”

And a smile spread behind your pipey.

“You will always be so special and important to me.  Do you know why?”

“Why, Mommy?  Why?”

“Because of you, I am a mommy!  You turned me into a mommy!  Did you know that?”


Of course you have no idea.  But you seemed happy about it.

The next day you were a bit of a grizzly bear again.

You have even yelled at Renae at daycare…something you have never done.

I know it’s hard growing up.  I do.  And I wish I could say that once you get past this phase, it gets easier.

But it doesn’t.

Life and phases happen all the way from two years old until…well…I don’t think it ever ends, bud.

But know this:  Your Daddy and I know you are a sweet, kind boy.  You make us proud in so many ways.  You are so smart and funny and amazing.

And while we know you are going through a phase, we want you to know that we will do our best to understand and guide you through it so you can be better for it.

That doesn’t mean it’s OK to throw things or hit when you are frustrated.  It means we will show you healthy ways to express your frustration.

Like knowing you need to go sit in the rocking chair for awhile, and being able to tell us, “I AM ANGRY RIGHT NOW, MOMMY!”

You are making good choices, my little friend.  Most of the time.

And we will get through this.

I promise.

I will love you forever, you know.  No matter what or who comes along.

Love, Mommy

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I remember my mom holding me and telling me about how I made her a mommy. Those are some of my favorite memories.

    I love how even when you’re writing about the tough times you capture the moments of sweetness.

  2. I have 2 boys 11 & 14 (and 2 stepsons 13 & 14) and now a daughter who will be a year old in March! My first born had a very strong constitution and a huge heart! At almost 14 he still gets himself worked up because he is so passionate and self assured, we are a lot alike. I remember these days so clearly and it is a time that tests all your best mama skills! I love your tenderness and can definitely say it creates a lasting bond that will be there in the years to come. My teenage son & I are very close even if he still has a tantrum or two!

  3. I have no idea what you’re going through. Oh wait….

    Hang in there, they tell me it’s a phase. No, it’s a phase, this I know.

  4. Sob, sob, sob.

    I have a 19 month old and I’m beginning to think about Baby #2. Oof, this post was so poignant.

  5. Thank goodness it was just a phase. Now adolescence? My older friends tell me that is not simply a phase.

  6. My third is that age, too (she’ll be three in July) and I see this exact phase in her. I’ve found that even if there are things she can’t do, like pour the juice, there are things she can, like hold her cup while I pour it. It always makes her feel like a big helper. 🙂

  7. I’ll try to hug you and you will pull away and tell me, “NO TALK A ME, MOM.”

    my 2 year old says that all the time. It’s both funny and frustrating.

  8. PS: This could easily describe yesterday afternoon with my 12 and 1/2 year old. He wasn’t whining about juice though.

    And there were a few expletives.

    And lots of crying.

    But then 1 hour later — he’s fine.

    Can’t wait until 13.

    *head desk*

  9. *tear* What a sweet post about a really difficult phase.

  10. we are going through this phase too, it’s definitely not an easy one, good luck!

  11. I’m going to play Dr.B…my psychiatrist today…don’t worry I will waive the fees.
    Chunky went through this and still does have days like this.
    The reason he retaliates is because A) he is declaring his independance and B) He loves you and trusts you enough to lash out…if he didn’t he wouldn’t…make any sense?
    It’s all a part of this phase. Just wait until he’s a teen…yikes.
    But Momma, you are doing just beautifully. Eddie is learning and loves you so much. He’s testing the waters to see how far he can push the both of you…totally and annoyingly normal.
    PS. Dr.B wants me to be a psychiatric nurse…do I meet the standard?
    PPS. He didn’t give me a job.
    PPPS. Cause that would be awkward.
    PPPPS. I love you

  12. I think Eddie is a month or so younger than GBear, yes? Well, we just came out the other side of this phase. It was like a switch got thrown and he was back. So hang in there – hopefully Eddie will pull that switch soon, too.

  13. *tear* I have 2 year old going through the same things. I loved the part where hnamaste you a mommy. I’m gonna use that!

  14. Someday, when Eddie is a fabulous young man (because he will be) he will read these posts.
    He will know what all of your words mean.

    Can you just imagine how loved he will feel?

    Oh my.
    So much love.

  15. Oh, my heart. So sweet…

  16. We are right there with you and some days it sucks and some days it’s sweet. Hang in there, mama.