Kate and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad two's!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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Sure, she looks angelic but Miss Kate has morphed into something I am a bit unfamiliar with....a "terrible" two year old. Let me share just a few of the things she does every day:

1. Kate takes her shoes and socks off a million times a day (often throwing them or taking them off one second after I have put them on because we are walking out the door.).  She also tries to change clothes (even f I let her pick them out).  

2.  She climbs out of her crib at every nap and bedtime (okay, so it is not a crib but a pack and play in the closet of our corporate apartment but you get the drift). I would put her in a bed but we won't have hers for another few weeks. Also, I am afraid she'll never nap in a bed! And she needs a nap (well, I do anyway cause that is when I blog).

3. Kate refuses and I mean refuses to walk. I cannot carry her all the time because a) she is heavy and weighs about 1/4  to 1/3 of what I weigh and b) the car accident has really injured my back and neck. So, she will just plop down in the middle of the road/sidewalk/store etc. and refuse to budge.  I have tried everything from asking her kindly to walk, to gently dragging her, to counting to 3, to speaking very firmly, to plopping down next to her and waiting (if it is safe). The problem is that I do not always have the time to wait her out.

4. She will throw a screaming fit like nobody's business.  Last week we were in Whole Foods and I bought some yogurt.  She immediately began screaming for the yogurt which I was not going to give her in the store (not to mention that I did not have a spoon).  So, I calmly told her she could have it at home.  Well, she screamed so loud the entire store was staring at me.  And she screamed for at least 10 minutes while I finished shopping and stood in line.  Will and Harry were so embarrassed (so was I).

Now here is where I must digress....People, when you see a two year old throwing a fit PLEASE do not make Mom feel worse by giving her nasty looks.  We are struggling here people.  I am a good Mom.  I do not spoil my kids.  I set limits.  There is nothing I can do to make her stop screaming.  Please don't make me feel worse!

I will say that the young men behind me in line at Whole Foods were very sweet and they flirted with Kate and did get her to stop screaming.  I thought the whole store was going to applaud when that happened.  But I  have been on the receiving end of some unkind looks and I feel so small.  Lately, when Kate misbehaves in public, I hear Dave say (very loudly), "Oh Kate-- you are so two!"  I think he gets embarrassed too.

5. Kate insists on doing everything herself (socks and shoes, buckling the carseat etc...).  I am all for her gaining independence and doing this stuff herself but sometimes she needs help and that usually results in a  tantrum.

Harry and Will were busy boys and they challenged me when they were toddlers but I can tell you that they were NOTHING like this. They did not throw tantrums.  I am not sure if it is because I am older or if girls are more dramatic. Maybe it is because of all of the changes she is experiencing with the move.  Did I mention that her bedroom is a closet? But little Miss Kate's temper tantrums are killing me.  They really are.  By the time Dave gets home, I feel as though the life has been sucked out of me. This week he is out of town and I don't know how I am going to do it.

A year ago I would have described Kate in one word...sweet. Now she is extra spicy! I do love my lil Katie Ru more than words can express and she can be so sweet and so funny and kind. But she is going through something right now and it is not pretty.  PLEASE tell me that this is normal two year old girl behavior and that it will pass quickly.

P.S. I was very hesitant to post this because I believe that kids live up to our expectations of them.  Therefore, I try to only say, think, and write about all of the good in my children as much as possible. Kids tend to live up to their labels. Also, Kate is very sweet (deep down) and I don't want y'all to think she is a brat. However, I really am struggling with this phase and I know others probably are too.  This is our "scrapbook" and this is what we are going through now.

111 comments:

  1. Oh I so can re;ate! I know I have told you that before! I too could just flop down at the end of the night of exhaustion! I prayed it was a 2 year old thing but it has carried into the 3's as well. Praying that Kate is just adjusting to all of the changes going on in your life. Hopefully when you get settled into the new houe she can relax a bit. So many times I cringe at Myah's behavior, I do not approve of it at all but sometimes I just have to tell myself she is just going to be strong willed and is very particular and I need to embrace that about her instead of trying to make her more like I want her to be. Tough to do though! Hang in there girlfriend and remember we can always color the grays!

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  2. Kate is SO sweet and this
    "two" shall pass. Of all the sweet little girls I have meet on this journey - Kate is affections and kind. She has beautiful role models and she will morph into something that is more beautiful than a butterfly :D

    I do understand what you are going through and hopeful the terrible two means no ferrous three's like we are having :D
    Ladybug hugs,
    ;D

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  3. Yes, oh yes. . . do I understand! I, however, do not think Mia's behavior can totally be blamed on the terrible two's - I'm sure you remember reading about my "screaming mimi" and Mia's fits like no other I have seen (now maybe Kate's can compare!).
    Mia also removes her socks, shoes, pants, etc many times a day. I did a post on her "collecting" the contents of my pantry, she has also confiscated (sp?) my makeup!! I could not find it for 2 days and finally did under the sofa cushions!! She draws on the walls and has tantrums like nobody's business whenever she doesn't get what she wants, when I do not understand what she wants, etc.
    My two boys never had tantrums like Miss Mia's, they never drew on the walls, they never climbed up on the window sill - maybe it is the dramatics of girls? Maybe it is that she was confined to her crib for 19 mos? I'm at a loss Kim!! I am curious to see what others comments may be -
    Sorry I wasn't much help, but boy did it feel good to get it out :)
    P.S. and I do keep a good eye on her most of the time, except when I cooking, in the bathroom, helping one of the boys - she sees her opportunity and "runs" with it!!

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  4. P.S.S: Mia can be the most darling, loving and affectionate little girl - do not get me wrong - she is a dear, but when her "screaming mimi" side comes out it is . . . scarey!

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  5. This is exactly how Eliza behaved for a couple of months after turning two. I think cutting her two year old molars played in to this significantly. It was a rough patch, but just that...we are past it and have moved on to a lovely phase.

    Tiffany

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  6. I too wonder if it is because of your move and she senses the stress and is reacting to all the changes. I remember reading in an adoption attachment book that some part of children "remember" the first separation from the mother and will always have some abandonment issues. I don't know if I believe that or not but all children react to a move. I'm sorry you're having a hard time. This too shall pass...

    (Just ask me next year when Sarah is two haha)

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  7. It must be extra difficult to go through this while moving at the same time! My personal opinion is that it's probably a combination of things. Age, different invironment and a total change in lifestyle. She's probably not getting the same amount of or kind of time she's used to getting with you. Her life has changed drastcally. I have to believe that on some level she relates that to the major life change she had when you adopted her. No matter how good for her it was, it was still traumatic. Any time we have a crisis we draw on our past experiences even if it is on a subconsious level.

    Children need security as much as they need love. We moved here after Joe had been home nearly 2 years. His behavior was similar to what Kate is doing. He took out his feelings on our home by nearly destroying it!

    I think it will take time. She will learn that her world is not changing that much...her family is not going anywhere. It may not all go away because, after all she IS 2. :)

    Do you do holding time with Kate? I would highly recommend it right now. I think she really needs it as a safe way to get her feelings out. Feelings that she knows no other way to express. I'm praying for you that you will have wisdom. I know you will get a lot of advice but only God knows what Kate truly needs. I know you are seeking Him and He will show you. Hang in there!!

    ~Lynn

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  8. Oh thank you so much!! It's nice to know I'm not alone in this, except Hannah is 3.5 yrs. When I dropped her off yesterday at Preschool her teacher was telling me how sweet she is. I smiled and thought to myself, "Oh if you really knew what goes on." This strong willed child can be exhausting. Hannah's favorite words are "pick me up, my legs are not working."

    I know we love these little girls to pieces but I do look forward to the days when this will pass.

    Hang in there!

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  9. I highly recommend the book, "The Strong Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson. It is a wonderful, Christian book that deals with independent and strong willed children. It teaches you to discipline and work with them on their behaviors without breaking their spirits. It is normal and you are not a bad mom. Don't let others make you feel bad. Hugs - it will get better.

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  10. I just have to agree with all the wise advise you have been given. It is good for me to hear as my "little angel" is 27 months old tomorrow and you described her to a "T"!

    Hang in there - I always say children become just like their parents and so Kate will be "sweet" in the end :)

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  11. Oh boy I can relate too. Our Emma is very sweet but she had a mind of her own and if she has a thought in her little head she is not easily distracted. She changes her clothes over and over each day and will tantrum if told "no more" Emma is strong willed and I would say it's more a girl thing as our son Kyle was a very easy child (until recently-13) but our Kira was also much easier then our Emma. I too thought it was just going to be during her 2's however she will be 4 in January and if Emma is happy everyone is happy and she is REALLY happy but if she is ticked off about something look out. Chinese do have very strong personalities from what I have been told so maybe this plays a part of it. I do feel for you as it's really hard when in a store and you get those glares etc. and people think your child is a spoiled brat which is so not true in a lot of instances. Hang in there while your hubby is away. I am so glad you wrote about this. Parenting is so hard and we get no instructions as each child is so so different.

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  12. Kimber I feel what you are going through. Our little one can be the perfect angel, flirting with everyone, laughing and smiling and then the "terrible twos going on three" attitude will suddenly appear. Bruce is doing almost the exact same things as Kate (started a couple of months ago). When we're in the store he likes to start screaming or play crying very loudly, and at the same time with his eyes he's laughing at me (if that makes sense) and seeing if I'm going to react. I was getting those looks from other customers too until I started saying just loud enough for others to hear that if he thinks he's embarrassing me he's not and then found that other customers would laugh a little bit or tell me they can relate to what I'm going through. His speech and occupational therapists told me this is normal behavior for his age (almost going on 3). I don't know about that because nobody else I know went through this with their children. Hopefully this stage will pass for all of us soon.

    Take Care.

    Linda
    Bruce's mom
    Gotcha Day 4/1/07

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  13. Well, the bad news is..I don't think it is the Terrible Twos...it is the Three's!! Annslee was like this a little at two but three really brought it on!! Hey, she will be great in two years LOL

    I know it is hard and I totally can relate to the drama queen! Annslee would fling herself on the floor over not "loving" a shirt or whatever....such a pain to deal with.

    Others do make you feel bad and I sometimes felt like asking them if seriously, their kids Never did this?? I think we have to remember in the long run standing our ground will make it better than giving in to avoid embarassment.

    I hope this passes quickly for you : ) YOu are a great mom!!

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  14. Okay.. just to say one thing..
    YOU are a Great mom and there is not a child in this world who has not gone through this.. but I know when my kids went through this stage.. I held my ground gave them two choices.. and if they choose to shape up and act normal.. they got a reward.. if they choose to do the same thing. .then they got a different not so good reward..
    You are no different then any other parent going through this stage..
    And off the record.. Kate is way toooo sweet.. lol.
    Have a Great Day.
    And like always. .she has the cutest little clothes..
    HUGS GIRLY..
    LOVE YA..

    You are doing GREAT.. and you ARE a Great Mommy..

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  15. Kate,
    You are an amazing mom. This sounds very much like Ava Lu last Spring - as she was 2-1/2. I can remember the stares in the stores too! My little spicy princess is very independent and continues to like to do things herself. That said, her EXTREME stubbornness has softened with guidance and reason. Kate very much sounds like Ava Lu - very sweet girl and very strong willed. I am comforted in knowing that this trait will pay off as she grows and is unable to be "convinced" by others to do something she does not want to do.

    Keep up your consistent, loving behavior.

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  16. Every parent can relate and if they can't, they are a liar. =0)

    G had horrible 2 year old tantrums and would lay down wherever we were at and proceed to annoy everyone in a 5 mile radius by throwing major tantrums. Being that he responded to nothing, I just kept walking away and would wait where I was out of site from him, but I could see him. After a few good fits, he realized that I was not going to be his audience for such behavior and gave up. Took a few weeks, but it felt like 2 years!

    We are all sympathetic to this transition that you are going through, the move has certainly thrown Kate a monkey wrench into Kate's 2 year old behavior. Hang in there....it'll pass all to soon.

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  17. A wise woman with six children once told me the bright side of a strong willed child. She said, "A strong willed child may bring challenges to you as you work to mold them and get them on the right path in life, but once you do it will be near impossible for others to influence him or her off of that path". That really encouraged me to press on with my very "spirited" 4 year old boy. At two he was a handful and still can be at times. He has a precious heart but can be a BEAR at times. My prayer for him is that he will be strong willed to press on for what is right as a big kid. We just need to pray for patience while we work to mold these firey personalities :-)

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  18. I am so sorry for you Kim! As a mother of five, I have had my share of two-year-old moments. (And I've even had a few tantrums myself!) I agree with not indulging children, and setting firm limits, and have always done this. I believe being firm and consistent also helps with any attachment issues. I periodically read this :
    http://a4everfamily.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=83 (& also the rest of the website) It helps me assess where we are, or what I might try. We have been very lucky with attachment thus far, but I am always watching for new behaviors that might be red flags. Hang on Kim... settling into your new home will surely help Kate. You are such a great example of motherhood to me. I think you are doing a WONDERFUL, EXEMPLARY job! Every child should be so lucky!!!

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  19. I have never witnessed an adult scream for yogurt at Whole Foods - so there is hope that she will grow out of it. :-)

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  20. Just when I had hoped things were settling down a bit for you! I'm so sorry that Kate is testing your patience and stamina right now. Some of this is likely her reaction to all the stress and change your family has been experiencing, but she's also smart enough to try to take advantage when you may be too tired to fight her.

    I can certainly relate to feeling embarassed in public when a child misbehaves as Vivian has given us plenty of experience with that. When strangers are kind and patient, it makes such a difference. When they're not, I want to scream, "Do you think there is ANYONE in this store/airplane/whatever that wants this child to be docile and quiet at this moment more than I do?!"

    Hang in there. No stage, either good or bad, lasts forever.

    XOXO

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  21. This post really resonated with me. I was just getting ready to post a similar topic on my blog.

    My daughter is 21-months-old and the "terrible twos" hit us early, in fact several months ago! Our daughter is EXTREMELY independent and wants to do everything herself and wants to do everthing her six-year-old brother can do. One of the major problems is at this age they can't be reasoned with. A friend last night told me that her independence and strong spirit are wonderful traits for a woman to have but are very difficult traits to parent in a toddler. I thought that was good insight. I look forward to any advice you get on this one.

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  22. Hey I am right there with you!!! I would walk in to the next aisle or say something about her being two ( when she was). I think you are doing well!!!

    Debbie

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  23. Hang in there my friend! I totally went through the same thing with my Ellie. I really think it's a girl thing...they are way more dramatic then boys! My son was so easy...Ellie has been my challenge. It is so good that you can vent about it. She will grow out of this. I remember that age just like yesterday and it was so hard...not to mention that I also had a four year old at the time. Now I look at my sweet almost 5 year old (her b-day is in 2 days) and she is such a JOY!!!

    Thankfully, this is only a season in your life and you will get through this!

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  24. This IS normal!! :) She is testing her boundaries and finding her sense of independence. The fact you do set limits & stick to them is most important because she will eventually learn the screaming does not work. And hopefully when you move and she feels more settled, this will pass quickly.

    And I know what you mean about people in the stores, especially when they may probably ave experienced it themselves at some point!

    I LOVED your control vs. influence post yesterday...it really spoke to me! I remember at one time you recommended your favorite parenting books. Do you have any favorites about parenting boys?

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  25. Oh Kim - If you think you are alone in this, girlllll you are so wrong. I can relate on every level. Em was a piece of cake compared to the tester that Hannah is. Some of it may be birth order or circumstance, but I think some of it is just the spicy nature of our beautiful Jiangxi girls:)

    I do have a suggestion for the flop and plop -- I have worked with lots of young children and along my travels, this has been one of the best methods (I recognize it is not really suitable for the grocery store, but I have done it:) Plop down next to them (I have done the one knee approach). Then, the work begins. Hey Kate, touch your belly, good - mommy is going to touch her belly. Touch your nose, oooh, good job, stand up. Can you kick those legs? And so on. In the midst of the demands, she was told to stand up and in a sequence of demands, 9 times out of 10, the child will be compliant with the demand when they are getting praise for other forms of compliance. Once she has stood, continue the little game until the plop has been forgotten!! I know, it has very few consequences and when I first began using this, I was skeptical it would work, but I have to say, usually it does. It also takes our anger and frustation out of the situation, we revert simply into teaching mode and voila (I hope:)

    My Hannah on the other hand, hates to be held - she in her independent spirit says - I walk all by myself (big smirk)! Oh, well, all right then.

    So thinking of you. I know in a few weeks having a place of your own and getting back to the normalcy will help tremendously.

    By the way, I loved the previous posts about control vs. influence and I can totally see the shift that occurs. You will have to post pictures of Will's room now, you realize that right??

    And it looks like the pumpkin patch was a success - Kate's dress was so sweet. The kids are looking more grown up this year (sniff).

    Take care!!
    Love,
    Heather

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  26. I could have written this post myself. Seriously is it a girl thing? My son never even hit the terrible twos. I mean he was a BOY and wore me out some days doing very boy like things but never once did he throw a fit.
    Sophia threw a fit in Target a week ago and screamed the entire time because I did not buy a pair of play shoes we looked at. She will not keep shoes, socks or hair bows on for anything. If I can keep them on her until we actually leave the house she takes it all off in the car!!

    I agree with the dirty looks, it seems to especially be older women (in my situation at least) I am doing my best and am not going to be ruled by a two year old if I do where will we be when she is 16??

    We had a meltdown in Whole Foods too and one older lady actually came up and made a remark to me about it, I was floored.

    Sometimes I get so tired and worn out and then I feel bad because I don't want anyone to think Sophia is just a little fit thrower, she is SO much more than that. She is funny and smart and SO sweet but then she has her days ...or weeks when she is just so exhausting. I know your sweet Kate is all of those things too!

    Hang in there.

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  27. I feel the same way with our little Sophie Wei....the only differance is I feel like she is getting a way with a lot more because I am afraid to follow through right know because she is in her spica cast after her surgery!

    I have been wanting to write about this but was afraid to because of what people would think.

    You are so inspiring to share and thank you for that. I don't feel so alone, a lot of people do not talk about this.

    Hope things get better....

    Take care, Michele

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  28. Awww Kim, that is so tough. As hard as teen years are, growing away from you, I remermber how my patience was never so tried as when they threw a fit. I had groceries brought in and refused to shop with them. B2 tipped the cart knocking a cake on its head and took off in opposite directions and that was it for me.

    While we were in Hilton head recently, we had my brother's two yr old who through a tantrum unitl I took her and locked her in the mommy straight jacket. Have you heard of that? Gently but fimly holding her tight so that she sees and feels you are in control and she is not. That unitl she controls herself, she is locked in. I would calmly whisper that she was okay, no matter how much she wanted to hit me etc. I had to do it becasue my mom is still recovering from elbow surgery and her parents were not there. She did not try anything again the rest of the week. Maybe Dave could do it if you better heal first. Thats the only idea I have, sorry. Bailey is a different story just comig from an SWI but I suspect we could eventually ahve a tough third year, who knows.
    At least she is not trying to tell you how to drive! B man started that when he was 4.

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  29. I feel your pain!! A lot of kids go through the same thing and I feel such sympathy for the Moms and Dads and brothers when they are out and that happens.

    One thing that helped with my sweet girl when she wasn't acting so sweet, was to give her a small lollipop (like a DumDum). I hated to do that, but didn't have to resort to it often and it worked.

    Good luck! It will get better. Now, if my girl gets mad at me for something or another, she gives me the silent treatment which I don't like either, but prefer it to tantrums.

    Janet

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  30. Hi Kim,
    I have been enjoying following your blog for some time. We too have two boys and a spicy girl from China. My Lily Kate is 4 and your description of your Kate was like something I could have written when my Lily was the same age. Our Lily can be the most feisty, stubborn, independent and of course beautiful little girl. I think some of the behaviors you are seeing do relate to all the changes lately, being two, and a component likely stems from the way our girls spent their time in China. As infants/early toddlers, most of our girls had little to no control over their environments and I have found, in talking with lots of China Mom's, that many of our girls are very independent and feisty.

    Thankfully, this too shall pass. At 4, my Lily is still indepdent, stubborn and feisty, but our difficult moments and tantrums are few and far between.

    It will get better...

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  31. Holy cow Kim!!! Did you read my post about 2 weeks ago about Mia truning into a tantruming alien?? I am in the exact same place as you are right now. My boys did not tantrum and yes they were challenging but not in the same way Mia is. Mia sounds just like Kate right now. Fiercly independant in all ways and freaks out if you try to help. I too am struggling with her right now-- she has a very strong will and it is challenging me like crazy. I totally know where you are and I think our experiences are very similar with the boys and now Kate and Mia so I will keep you in my prayers-- this is not easy!!

    Christy :)

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  32. Oh boy... I can relate too! Sophie is so sweet and gentle on the exterior but can throw a tantrum to earn an Emmy! The sitting down and wanting to be carried was definitely a two thing and has subsided a bit now that she is three and really getting excited about the big girl things she can do. My older daughter (now 16) went through this too... I definitely think the twos are there to prepare you for the threes!

    Hang in there, Kim. I am sure the stress of the move and storm, etc has definitely thrown her for a curve as well. Keep consistent (as I know you are) and this too shall pass once she realizes that you are not going to bend to her tantrums.

    You have gotten some wonderful warm advice... give Kate a squeeze from all of us and I hope you can laugh at her "spicy" little personality and remind her of it when she is old enough to be appalled at the whole concept that she once did that!

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  33. Kate reminds me of my youngest daughter - same strong will, same independent streak, same desire to do things HER way. And yes, they do grow out of it.

    My only suggestion, and you've probably thought of this, is that Kate is trying to control things because life right now is out of control. You moved from a home that was big, she had her own room that she loved, and now you're in a new city, a new apt that she probably doesn't realize is temporary, and she's confused. So confusion and the subsequent anxiety is coming out in all kinds of new fun ways for her. I think once you get moved and settled into your new home you'll see her sweetness return when she realizes stability in her life returns too. Until then - sending hugs...

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  34. I love reading all the comments you received on this post. It is strange isn't it...going through this with Kate and other issues with the older boys at the same time!

    I will pray for you and Kate. You are an amazing mother and I appreciate that our struggles are all similar.

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  35. She's a two year old girl. That would be enough. But Kate's a two year old girl who has experienced a ton of upheaval lately. Actually, in our case it was my son who had the temper. I finally learned that the louder he got the quieter I should get. If you don't fan the flame, it will go out. He grew out of it, but it lasted into his school years. And people who are critical have no clue. Hugs to you. You've been through a lot on top of having a two year old.

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  36. Oh how I can relate...our little ones are a month apart so we endured the terrible twos X 2! I remember I stopped taking them to dinner in the town I worked. Since I work as a psychologist in a school- I read peoples stares as, "If you can't deal with your own children, how can you tell ME how to deal with mine!!" I'm glad I was never actually asked that question...because to this day I still have not come up with a good answer!

    Anyway, remember everybody with children have gone through this!! You are not alone! Hang in there!

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  37. I read your blog and love it but I never comment. I had to for this! I also have a 2 year old girl and every single thing you say is exactly what we are going through too. I know exactly how you feel about not wanting people to think my girl is a brat (I too set limits, etc. of course)and I also know my girl is very sweet, deep down. She is also a very spirited little one. I am so happy to know there are others out there! Maybe it's a girl thing.... Thank you for posting!

    Charity H.-Seattle

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  38. She sounds like a typical two year old... soon she will be back to the adorable sweet gal that she truly is.

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  39. Tantrums in the grocery store are the worst! All those eyes on you just watching how you will react as if they are going to grade your effectiveness as a parent...very stressful. But this is TOTALLY normal behavior and it will pass.

    I bet lots of us have fallen victim to the stares of others while our kids scream at the checkout for a candy? Hannah did this one day and when I said "no" to the candy at the point of purchase shelves. She was furious and took off down the household cleaner aisle and tossed two huge bottles of laundry detergent onto the floor and then kept running. She stopped at the end of the aisle and glared at me. EVERY eye in that store was on me. I stood their with my mouth hanging open watching my 2.5 year old gleefully defy me as if to say, "so there...don't give me the candy I want and see what I'll do." So, I took a minute and regained my composure, gave everyone a smile and walked half way down the aisle and prayed she'd stop running. She continued to glare at me and I smiled at her, knelt down and opened my arms to her. I waited and waited. I was shocked, but she came back to me and rushed into my arms (I think her emotions shocked her, too). I hugged her, thanked her for coming back and told her, though I loved her very much, there would be no candy today. I tried to be warm and loving but very matter of fact. I held her as tightly as I could and went back to my place in line and smiled at all the people watching us. I did make it out of the store alive!

    It's their own internal struggle for autonomy which is in conflict with their need for nurturing. I just try to keep a sense of humor and realize it is probably a much bigger struggle for them to deal with these confusing and conflicting emotions than it is for us to deal with them. A little understanding on our part can go a long way to bring them around to their sweet selves. I've noticed that if I tense up about a tantrum, it doesn't resolve nearly as well. In fact, if I take it personally and get all upset, I can make it a lot worse. I think they are crying out for us to envelope them in our love without making them feel more shameful and "bad" then they will already feel (they know you don't want them to do this and I don't think they are trying to be bad...they just get overstimulated and beyond what they can regulate without some help). I talked to Hannah, after the fact, about how I felt about the whole thing and she got it. It never happened in the store again.

    I have had two kids with tough temperaments, one of whom had attachment related issues and all out rages. For them, it's been all about trust. Though the behavior was inconvenient and sometimes embarrasing for me, the kids were my priority (I owe people in the store no explanation). Could they count on me to love them and be there for them in their "ugliest" moments? I tried to keep a relaxed, patient attitude to help them feel secure with me. I think it went a long way to building their trust in me and their cooperation.

    They don't call it the "terrible twos" for nothing. Relax. She's in good company and so are you!

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  40. I am hoping this is only a phase as well! My Kylee is showing lots of 2 year old sassiness these days too. Know you aren't alone.

    love,
    Shauna

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  41. Ahhh, yes, the same thing is going on at our house at the moment. It is very wearying, isn't it? Some day, *I* give *myself* a time out! I just need a minute to collect my thoughts and breathe for a minute!! I hate to tell you that three is worse :( Sad but true. I've read "Your 2 Year old" and "Your 3 Year Old" and "Your 4 Year Old" by Louise Bates Ames and she believes that children's behaviour turns around each 6 month period. The 6 months *after* they turn an age is the worst, and the 6 months leading up to the new age is better. It's proven true for my 7 1/2 yr old for years now. And my little one is showing her "spiciness" right now as well.

    After listening to it for hours on Saturday, and then it started up again on Sunday, I had a "little chat" with my 28 month old and how I didn't want to hear her cry and whine ALL DAY LONG again today. Do you know what she did? She stopped. Just like that. And when I brought her outside to play after nap (when she gets cranky very easily!) I told her I didn't want to hear any crying or whining then EITHER. She was perfectly happy~! Little stinker LOL

    They are testing so much. And we're good parents!! TTSP (This too shall pass!!!!)

    Hang in there...

    Snick :)
    P.S. Some girls ARE more challenging!!

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  42. I know exactly what you're going through. Caleb is going through the same thing right now and he's not even 2 yet. With my first two nothing started until they were about to turn 4 and then I think it hit double time. Caleb laid in the floor this morning while I was feeding Allie and pitched a fit for 20 minutes. I try to just ignore it. If I'm out in a store or something I will immediately stop what I'm doing and leave. Although I do hate the looks that people give sometimes....as if they have never been through it before. Kate has alot to adjust to right now..I am sure that's a big part of it in itself. Praying for a quick adjustment and getting back into a routine.

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  43. I have heard that 3's are the new 2's, hopefully this will pass and by the time she's 3 this will all be a distant memory. Hang in there, what dont kill us makes us stronger, you must be very strong. :o)

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  44. Big hug to you my friend........
    I have been really blessed with Hannah's behavior so far.... I don't know how much of it is being two and how much of it is her life being what feels like turned upside down again. I know so much of Nicholas' behavior when he came home was from what he had been through the first 4 and a half years of his life. I might suggest you get the book "Holding Time" Holding therepy is very difficult to do emotionally but.... if you do it for the complete session you see it work! Each and every time.... perhaps some of the behavior is stemming from insecurities due to all the changes... if so, holding therepy can truly help. Please email or call me if you want to talk more about it or if you need me....
    Stay the coarse my friend....... it is going to get better.
    Love,
    Daleea

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  45. Terrible Twos. This shall pass. I know it is hard, and girls come with so much drama. I know, I have 4. My 4 yr old is my firecracker! I do believe it is all the changes in her life right now, so get on your knees and pray for strength. Welcome to the world of little girls! :) My #1 thing to live by is REDIRECT. Make her focus her attention on something else. We say the craziest things to Madi during her fits (Madi,your toes are pink,do you have a hot dog on your head) and she is so confused she laughs and it totally changes the tone. Sounds insane, but it works everytime!

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  46. My boys are 14 and 10. They were great at 2. 3, was another story. I always say it's the terrible 3's. BUT, now we have our daughter...2! She's so sweet, shy, funny, etc., but lately, she can through herself down to the ground so fast and cry huge tears at the drop of a dime! My husband and boys tend to give into her, especially out in public, which I try to explain to them it makes it harder on me when I'm by myself! it's like she's trying to rule MY house! I did notice a while back that we started letting her do more things that I would'nt have done with the boys,so we stopped that. Girls are so dramatic and independant! She's very different than my boys were. It's either because she's a girl, she the youngest, the age gap between her and the boys (it's almost like starting over), or our age now. With Kate, it's probably all of these things, added the moving situation. Oh Kim,I truly get where you're coming from, we all do! Stick to your guns with her, pick your battles though. You're doing a great job! We know it's hard.

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  47. Our Lily was quite the sassy handful just after turning 2 and then again after turning 3.
    Her little brother is about to turn 3 and he is hitting a new level of stubborn stage also.... they are the sweetest little people but SO stubborn. At the end of the day (goodness sometimes just hours after they wake up) I am exhausted.... Just know you are NOT alone in this toddler thing.

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  48. I just LOVE reading your blog. I think it's wonderful. I can tell you are a very good mom.

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  49. I completely understand and my heart goes out to you. It is VERY HARD to deal with (and the stares from other people don't help). My son had tantrums starting around three and we are still dealing with it at the age of nine. He has a behavior disorder that is called O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). It's a medical condition and I keep having to remind myself everytime he has his "moments". (My other two children get so embarrassed when he throws these tantrums.) Please don't think that I am implying Kate has a disorder, I am just offering my support because I understand what you're feeling.

    Just keep reminding youself that you are a terrific mother. You have raised two wonderful boys and you are doing what needs to be done to control her tantrums. If you give in, she'll only learn that she can get away with it.

    I know the feeling of being completely warn-out and at your wits-end. Sometimes I would be standing at the door waiting for my husband to come in, just so I could take a break and unwind. When your feeling like your are completely exhausted, find something that Kate can do to entertain herself for a little bit so you can have a little break. And remember, she is two and it will pass.

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  50. Kate,

    I completely agree with Lynn (somewhere in the sun). I think she feels so out of control with her life changes and this is the only way she knows how to control her life- which has seen some big changes in the only two years she has been alive. That and she is two years old

    I too do holding time (a very mild variation on the book) prescribed by our AT and it is a Godsend. Zoey can now verbalize feelings that i have NEVER heard of a two year old being able to do. it is a safe way for her to get her mads out and afterward she knows that i can love her no matter what she is feeling.


    I would also do more of your sippy cup/ milk rocking times- i would do it anytime you can that she starts to act up.


    I know kate does not have the same issues but when Z acts out it is because she is feeling a)overwhelmed and/or b) not connected to me.

    Having said that I am sorry you are going through this but i am glad that i am not the only one that gets to witness this stage! Hang in there- your sweet kate is still in there somewhere! You are an amazing mother- trust your gut!:-)

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  51. I love your "fine print"....you are so cute!

    It sounds like I might be one baby step behind you with Sarah. She will be two next month and I have seen this coming for a couple of months.

    I don't like to compare my children, but Nick never acted like this.....I really do think it might be the difference between boys and girls...

    Sarah is much more independent than Nick was at this age, but that comes at a price....with the independence comes the stubborness!!

    I keep telling myself that one day I will be wishing to be in the terrible two's again...when she is a teenager and we are dealing with that drama....

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  52. I saw the reference to James Dobson in one of the replies and needed to respond. I don't think his discipline methods are at all appropriate for adopted children and can be very damaging to attachment, building trust and security, healing from post trauma and grief, as well as helping a child with sensory integration disorder.

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  53. I'm right there with you!!! We adopted Madeline when she was 9 months old and she has been a little firecracker since she was about 17 months old( now 21 months). She is such a precious child but I am totally worn out by evening. She has thrown many tantrums in public and I'm right with you, people can make you feel very inept. Madeline is # 5 so I think I know what I'm doing:) What I can say is that this is a phase just like any other time as they are growing up. My oldest is 20 and I remember not even enjoying being around her from 16 until 19, she was just difficult. Now we are so very close again. This too shall pass it is just hard working through it. I'm sure Kate is acting out due to so many changes in your lives, hopefully she will go back to her old self when you all are able to get settled into you house. We have been home with Madeline a year and she will still wake up during the night if I am not the one who puts her to bed. I think the changes in routine seem to affect them a little more than children that have not gone through such changing circumstances as they have (ie orphanage to new family)Anyway, I so enjoy following your blog, I check it daily:) I have been praying for your family and hope that all will start coming together for you soon!!!!
    Paige

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  54. Oh girlfriend! Can I relate to this!!! I have posted about this many times about Lottie and Emma Jane and then felt a little guilty but we Mom's need each other! No one can throw a fit like my Lottie has been doing fits like that since she was 15 months old. She will be four in November and is just now coming out of it. I can't tell you how many stores I have left groceries, clothes etc. and just walked out because I couldn't stop her from screaming. I honestly don't think she could even hear me when I was trying to reason with her. BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel now. As for strong will...strong will is a great thing in a girl but it just takes time to rein them in a little.

    Lottie's teachers at weekday school and sunday school never believed me that she did this because she was good and perfect for them! Very frustrating and I will be praying for both of you.

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  55. Hey Friend!
    Oh, how I can relate... As you know Ruby has some lungs, and she uses them wherever, whenever. Including in the Narthex at BSF today!:) Ruby also wants to be held 100% of the time, and 100% by me. Even when the inviting shopping cart is in my hands! I have not had to plop myself down in the parking lot yet, but my guess is that is looming too! Of course, I am not a peanut like you, so carrying her is OK most days...

    From experience Ainsley was worse at three than two. So, my guess is Kate is definitely acting out about her world changing so quickly. I would probably be crabby sleeping in the closet too!! :) I am sure she misses her things and her old sameness. But, at least her constant is you and the rest of the gang. That is the most important thing!

    Remember what a stinker Ainsley was when we came home from China? Her little world was rocked and she let all of us know she was not too happy about it.. Eventually she got her sense of humor back!

    I will be praying specifically for sweet Kate to return to the family asap! In the meantime, get on your knees and beg God to intervene!!! I will do the same for you!!!

    I wonder when we will look back on this and laugh?

    I know you are doing a fantastic job, even on the ugliest of days!

    Hugs,
    Diana

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  56. P.S.
    That is one ADORABLE dress on her!

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  57. Hang in there Kim! Change was always hard on my siblings and I distinctly remember them throwing tantrums at 5, 6, and 7 when we moved. On an airplane this weekend, a Mother had her three sons, two of which fought like cats and dogs. She was at her wits end. My husband and I felt so bad for her...we played with the youngest and the gentleman infront of us occupied the eldest attention to get them to stop fighting. I felt so bad because everyone was just giving her nasty looks instead of realizing that at some point in their life, they too will be there. Hang in there! This "two" will pass.

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  58. I wish I had more advice... but Emeili is the SAME way. Her early twos were EASY. However, she will be three this month and -all of a sudden- she is a new child. All the things you posted... She does. I really think it is just a phase and I am sticking to consequences for the inappropriate behavior and (hopefully) she'll grow out of it!!

    Hang in there! I'm sure it will get better once you are in your home too!

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  59. Oh Kim, I was so happy to see your post! Katie is going thru the EXACT same thing and it is horrible. I never thought when we came home from China with this sweet little girl that she would be capable of producing the screeching and screaming that she belts out at the most inopportune times. She is WAY more expressive of her independance than Taylor ever was. I have even had to go to a "parent conference" over her behavior at school and I am the Director for crying out loud! All I can say is I feel your pain!
    Kim and Katiebug

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  60. Isn't parenting humbling?

    My first child was extrememly challenging as a toddler and threw fits/screamed a LOT. He is 5 and very sweet and well behaved now. (Most of the time. :)) Stay the course, and it will pass. Three was still challenging for us, and four was much improved. Five has been fantastic so far. I think the toddler years are just especially hard with the temperament of some children. These traits that make kate challenging now, will grow to be blessings in the future, I'm sure.

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  61. I think most kids go through this. All of mine have gone through it (of coarse my two year old still is). I remember 10 years ago carrying my screaming nephew out of a store because of a tantrum over not getting bubble gum.
    My husband has a little trick that he uses to deal with all the "uppy, uppy" requests. He races with them - "I'll race you to that tree" or whatever. This usually works for him.

    Jae

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  62. Kim, sorry, I accendentally posted my comment before I was done. :) The other thing I was going to add is that I have a 3 year old that went through the refusing to walk phase. He added loud screaming to it. I had back surgery at the beginning of the year and also faced your physical challenges. The way I solved it was he lost his walking priviledge (in public) completely for a while. ALWAYS confined to a stroller or a cart with a gentle reminder as to why that was happening. He's back to walking now and haven't had any troubles lately. Hope that helps.
    This too shall pass. Perhaps just not as quick as you'd like. :)
    Kathy
    PS. Don't look at anyone when Kate is throwing a fit in public. Avoid all eye contact if possible, and just speak quietly and calmly to her. Pretend it's only you and her in the store. That always helps me--I always feel embarrassed too.

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  63. I can totally relate except my issues are with my daughter Livi who is 6 years old. They started when she was about 2 1/2. The temper tantrums and they have only gotten more violent. Livi goes tomorrow to the doctor to see if she has ADHD and she has some sensory issues. I have raisted 4 boys and never, and I do mean NEVER have I dealt with a child like my dear Livi...today I just sat down and cried. Maybe I can make you feel better...when Livi has a really big melt down (not all the time are they this bad) she will just bang her head on the floor (ouch). I have never seen anything like it. I am exhausted. My Addison who is 3 has what I call normal tantrums...they are short and she cries (sometimes loud) but never in public. I never ever look at another mother with a screaming child and think what's wrong with that mother but I am sure that many look at me and think I am a bad mom...Personally I don't care anymore...I am so exhausted with life right now, who cares what anyone thinks.

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  64. You are having hard transistion with many things right now (not to mention a hurricane). Our whole country is even having a very hard time right now. Kids also cycle through regular phases of equilibrium and disequilibrium.
    There are many sytems at play in life and when they are all a little out of sorts, it's just confusing for us all.
    This past summer my husband was out of the country for awhile and my 6 year old, was so out of sorts he threw a tantrum at a friends house! It was nuts! He's 6 so obviously it's easier to tell him to get up. Two is definetly a hard age.
    I know it's hard when people are ugly and give those looks, but you seem like an exceptional Mom. Give yourself a big hug! Have a nice coffee or some tea.

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  65. I PROMISE you it will end and you will be looking back shaking your head saying to your husband, "remember that time when Kate had a fit in Whole Foods..." and it will seem a world away. I am the mother of a 5 year old, adopted from China who is sweet and darling and patient and never has tantrums anymore. But we had some rough times. There was a time where she plopped herself down on the sidewalk and refused to walk another step. We were about 100 yards from our house. She was flailing about on the hard sidewalk. Neighbors walked by, cars drove by, I am certain the whole neighborhood was annoyed by the screaming that was unrelenting for about a half hour. I remember that 30 minutes. I was in despair, am I doing the right thing by letting her have this tantrum? Should I carry her into the house? Is there something wrong with her, deeply wrong? I too have an older, bio daughter who never had tantrums. Anyway, I just give that example by way of saying I relate, really really relate. And I am happy to say we came out on the other side. It sounds like the change is affecting her and that you are doing alll the right things. It takes time to learn to feel safe, etc. But again, I PROMISE you it will end. It may be another year, maybe only another month, but if you remain consistent and give her lots of love and really clear limits ... she'll grow out of this. And this may sound a little bit crazy, but now that my daughter is 5 and so big, I'm a little bit nostalgic for the terrible twos!

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  66. Must be something about those Nanfeng girls. Mine can throw a tantrum to beat all tantrums! I used to be the one giving the dirty looks in the grocery store. I'm certainly paying for it now. And if you think twos are bad, just wait until 3! Hang in there. It does get better (or so I'm told!)

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  67. I can honestly tell you it's "normal" two-year old behavior...I just wish I could tell you it would be over quickly. I know pretty much EXACTLY what you are going through and you are doing everything correctly! GOOD LUCK!

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  68. I can sooo relate to this post! Kamree does all of the same things! Some days are so challenging with her! I do think girls are a bit more dramatic though. Hang in there!

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  69. Humor Warning: I'm not a mom... yet...

    When my brother sometimes mentions my neice or nephew's misbehavior in front of them to me, I always hug them, and say in an exaggerated way that I don't beleeeeive him, and they are soooo sweet that they would neeeever do that. And then offer to take them off to play to give the parents a break.

    So... I don't beleeeeive it, Kate, let's go upstairs and play in your room for a while so your mommy can take a break. ;)

    Thankful for your honesty as we await our own little two year old's arrival,
    Trena

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  70. oh katie ru, you are toooo cute to be throwing fits;) kim, i hope this phase passes quickly for you. i am sure it is combination of all of the changes. she doesn't have the language to express correctly what she is feeling, and so she is showing you...i am just guessing here, but in a short while, you will have totally forgotten about this. she will be back to her normal self. Bradley went through a terrible phase once we got back from the beach. I wasn't sure if it was just the vacation, and getting to do what ever he wanted. it quickly passed, but later we found out he had a horrible ear infection, then i felt bad. thinking of you guys!!!

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  71. I have 3 bio boys and then we adopted my monster girl, Chloe. I call her this in a very endearing matter, but it does hold quite a bit of truth. She has been much harder to deal with than all 3 boys combined. They NEVER had these sort of tantrums and screaming fits. It is completely crazy. She turns 3 on Sunday so I am not sure when this will end. If this is a prelude to the teenage years, I am VERY SCARED!!!! WE love her very much, but it takes much prayer and patience every day to deal with her. So, I am right there with ya:))

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  72. Dear Kim I just want you to know you aren't alone. As I am sure you know.
    Ryan was a mild mannered child and so when we adopted it was a huge awakening for me as well. I thought I was pretty good at this parenting thing,HA turned out I just had an easy going child!;)
    I do think some of it is being 2, some is the move. I think as her reasoning skills improve life will be easier. That has been the case with my strong little blessings...I know you are doing a wonderful job with all of the knowledge you have. Love never fails...

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  73. I think she needs a sister! It worked for us. Having 4 is SO much better than 3 and especially 2 girls and 2 boys....

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  74. Wait a minute, did you just write a post about my sweet little two year old Ainsley!!!! Seriously, I could have written that post today. We were at the post office when she had her fit this morning (the first of many). I just prayed to myself and kept reminding myself that she is only two and it doesn't matter what others think of me. I could still feel their eyes burning into me! I can only speak from experience BUT I think it's a girl thing. I have an 8 year old and 2 year old daughter and there is SO MUCH DRAMA. Sorry to say it doesn't end at two! I also have a 6 year old son- he is so easy going. I've talked to so many moms with both sexes who say it's a girl thing. That being said, I adore my girls and wouldn't have it any other way. I always think that all that passion will be put to good use one day! Thanks for your honest post. It made me feel better and more human. By the way, my hubby is out of town all week as well! Hang in there! Stacy
    http://www.myadoptionwebsite.com/ainsleyanne/index.htm

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  75. I just had to smile as I was reading your post today! It was more of an "ah........" smile as I was so relieved to see in print some of the same antics our little two and a half year old Asian beauty bestows upon us. Addie too is an absolute darling filled with the sweetest hugs and words--BUT..... when her mind is in another direction from ours--out come the grunts, screams and sassiest use of words. We stare in unbelief-then many times just walk away (if she's in a safe environment--and here at home). The tantrum passes and then she's ready to play and be compliant. All this while I have just grown another two or three gray hairs!!!! We pray, pray and then pray her through these days, knowing like others have said they will pass. I have almost 14 year old twin daughters as well, and I must say none of the frustrating memories of the "twos" with them are memories I can conjure up--absolutely cannot remember them----so, I know these harried times will soon be long gone in our thoughts. Thanks for your honesty. I love reading your posts!

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  76. Kim - I love the control vs. influence - that sums it up great! It is a double challenge having kids at both ends of the spectrum - because you have to switch parenting styles through out the day...dealing with Megan's screaming fit during breakfast and discussing the pros and cons of pantiliners with Katherine at bedtime! Big picture, though... you have great kids and you are a great mom. Both my girls are far more independent than my boys... which makes them self-starters and go-getters, but far more intense and strong willed. Unfortunately, they are not here to make us look good...that's why we need each other! Love ya--Mar

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  77. Two was a breeze BUT I've often joked that three is the new two. At three they gave me a run for my money but then one day it just changed.

    It's a phase and Miss Kate will get through it.

    And I am so with you on giving the poor mom of a tantruming toddler a break. The mom, more than any other living human being, wants the tantrum to end.

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  78. Hang in there! I have been there and the 2s and 3s are tough. I use to just hug my kids-(kind of tightly so I would not get hit) when they had a fit and it seemed to work--helped them get control of their body and let them know I care about them. I am not sure why this worked, but it did. I have had those looks too but have also had someone praise me for not giving in to my toddler at the store.

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  79. Hang in there! I have been there and the 2s and 3s are tough. I use to just hug my kids-(kind of tightly so I would not get hit) when they had a fit and it seemed to work--helped them get control of their body and let them know I care about them. I am not sure why this worked, but it did. I have had those looks too but have also had someone praise me for not giving in to my toddler at the store.

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  80. Hang in there! I have been there and the 2s and 3s are tough. I use to just hug my kids-(kind of tightly so I would not get hit) when they had a fit and it seemed to work--helped them get control of their body and let them know I care about them. I am not sure why this worked, but it did. I have had those looks too but have also had someone praise me for not giving in to my toddler at the store.

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  81. Hi Kim,
    Oh, I'm SO glad I'm not the only one going through this!!! I also have two biological boys (teenagers now) and we just adopted a baby girl from China (Jiangxi)last year. My daughter will be two in December and I never thought girls were so different than boys - especially so young. My boys never had tantrums like she does. I have asked so many people if this is a girl thing or her age. She is so sensitive too. If I tell her no, she gets hurt feelings and will cry for 20 minutes. Anyway, I'm so happy you decided to do this post - it made me feel better! :) Hang in there!
    ~Wendy
    www.lyndsayschmidt.com

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  82. Perhaps it's the name, or being the only girl after two boys, but my Kate is the same way...only now she is three! The boys were never this dramatic and I can totally relate. Hang in there, I check your blog from time to time (love it!) and I know your family is going through a great deal. Your Kate is adorable and she will be just fine:)

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  83. I can so relate to this....and when I see a mom stuggling, I look at her and say with a smile..."I have a child like this as well...hang in there".....and then she smiles....it is frustrating...I've had to turn Daniels crib around backwards so he doesn't climb out....if I put hom in a bed a this point....there is no way he would nap either.....hopefully Kate will be able to understand that Mommy's back hurts and she needs to be a big girl and help Mommy....I've had to use that one....hang in there....I'm sure once you are in your new home, when things have settled down...perhaps you find a nanny again...Miss Kate will CHILL!!! ;)
    Hugs,
    Steffie

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  84. Whenever I see a Mom losing her patience, I am the one that will say, "Kids are all the same" or "She must be 2, right?" I woudl hope more people would be understanding than nasty. My son was MUCH easier than my daughter was at that age. And we know how much you love her!! If you didn't "vent" you wouldn't be normal!!!

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  85. I am so sorry that Kate is going through this. Mitchell gave me an awful time at 2 and 3...very strong willed. (and look at how laid back he is now) Dr Dobson has a book with that same title if you are interested...I own it and woudl be willing to mail it to you.

    Once you are settled in your new house hopefully things will calm down?

    Praying for you~

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  86. Girl, you are bringing me back "to the day". My first two were like yours, but Cade really sent me for a loop. He turned into a devil child at 18 months and stayed that way until he was 2 1/2, then one day, he was his happy self again. I totally agree with the looks. I used to be a mom who would judge others when their kids were acting up (I hate to admit that), but going through this with Cade gave me a completely different perspective. I don't judge anyone anymore. Hang in there, this will pass. I know how difficult it is. Cade would throw everything out of the cart at Wal-mart, he would plop on the floor and start screaming in the library, or anywhere else for that matter, if I didn't let him climb in the carseat by himself, he would lose it.

    You'll get through it, and at the end, she'll be back to your super sweet girl. A friend of mine told me, when I was going through this, that there must be something super special and different about Cade that he was so strong willed and "different" from the others. She was so right. He is very different from the others and such a complete joy. He is the laughter in our household.

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  87. I lost your email but can I ask an ironing questions since you love ironing too?
    I need a new iron and board and want a Rowenta for both.
    Do you happen to use those too?
    Of not do you have an iron you love?
    Thanks if you have time
    Red

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  88. I have two girls. My oldest never did any of the "terrible two" things when she was two and I didn't understand why people complained about such a charming age.

    Then my younger daughter turned two. I think part of it is being the youngest-- they have their little noses pressed up against the window of all the things the big kids can do but they can't do them. They want to be able to do them, they want to be independent, but they're also terrified of losing the security of having mom right there. Sometimes I think that fear is particularly pronounced in children we adopted because they have some sense memory of not having us there. Sometimes I think I've read too many articles on attachment and I'm creating adoption issues where there is a perfectly normal childhood phase.

    But it is normal. They do grow out of it. Based on my experience, three and four are tons easier with the child who acted out like this at two. My older daughter had to test all kinds of boundaries at 3 and 4 to see what would happen, to establish limits. My younger daughter had tested everything at two and was far more willing to listen to a reasonable explanation of limits at 3 and 4 and just accept them. Ultimately that's all she's doing-- figuring out the boundaries, finding out how much control she has on her world. (The shoe thing drove me particularly batty as they would come off faster than I could get them on her and in certain situations shoes really are necessary-- rain, snow.)

    For the car seat, I was very strict with a you get to try for one minute and then mom does it rule. It didn't get us out of all the tantrums but, after a couple of weeks, it really helped. I also started turning off the music in the car if there was unacceptable behavior-- too big a fit about car seat buckling or unbuckling the car seat while I was driving (with that last one, of course, I pulled off the road and re-buckled her immediately and the music would stay off on the next car trip as well and that curbed that problem really fast).

    Chocolate helped too. Not for her, of course, but for me.

    I think it will all be much, much better by about Thanksgiving. You'll be in your house, you'll have your things. She'll be comforted by the familiarity and normalacy and while she'll still be two, it won't be so bad.

    You are a good mom and nothing about your post suggests anything but love and concern for your daughter and your family. All kids present challenges-- recognizing the challenges shouldn't mean your judged. And if anyone gives you dirty looks you can just imagine what they'll be like when they have two year old twins who both want yogurt in the store!

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  89. Wish I could help, but I don't know. My Kate has yet to throw a tantrum, and she's 7. But I can tell you that the dress in the picture is super cute, and I think I'm going to go sew one right now!

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  90. oh, I wish I had some sage advice for you. I agree that it is probably a combination of all the changes you have had recently plus the fact that she is two! Ugh. Not fun to be in the throes of at all. I remember this time with my youngest. He is also a redhead, so I attribute some of his feistyness on that! :) it has gotten better (now that he is 6) but he is still very strong willed....

    Good luck!
    Gabi

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  91. Well, you know very well that I have been there many times!!! I wish I could say I "gently" dragged Grant out of the pumpkin patch last weekend, but that would be lying. :( It is hard to be patient when they are screaming so loud that an entire store (or pumpkin farm) can hear!!! It's embarrassing, yes, but then you add the staring... I totally agree with you, it just makes the whole situation worse and it's so unkind. I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that I USED to be a stare-r - back when I only had 1, maybe 2 very well-behaved little girls!!! Then I had Claire. :) Heehee!! Reality check for Rebecca!! Now when I see moms with toddlers throwing tantrums, I try and say something sympathetic... "Can I help?" or "We've all been there!!"

    I know it's exhausting going through this stage - and it's so cliche, but it DOES get better. :) Around the time they hit 3 and start communicating more, it's so much better!! Just a thought, does Kate talk a lot yet? I've heard that toddlers often throw tantrums because they are frustrated with their inability to communicate what they want or feel. I know with Claire, as soon as she was able to verbalize, it was 100% better. I hope the same happens with Grant... we'll see!

    Hang in there, you're a wonderful mom and you're doing a terrific job!!

    xoxo

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  92. HI, just stopping by to commend you on your beautiful photography and georgeous children.

    I had to laugh as I read about the Terrible Two's. We are also experiencing the same. Oy is all I can say! The tempers, kicking, and yes baby bites, ouch, sometimes hurt. Then I remind myself how long I waited for her and somehow I'm not yanking out my hair!

    Distract her, it seems to do the trick with us.

    Thanks for sharing your information and your beautiful blog.

    Ivy
    NJ

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  93. I left you a little something on my blog :)

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  94. I left you a little something on my blog :)

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  95. I can relate - but actually in our family, it was the terrible horrible no good very bad THREES.

    Hang in there, as you well know from past experience, this too shall pass :)

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  96. well i don't have a daughter, but my son has already gone through the independent phase. My experience is that it will get worse (from the parent perspective) before it gets better. I will tell you this. My son is now four and he happily informs us that he only needs me in the mornings to get his bowl down from the cabinent. He can do so much for himself and is so proud (i really wonder if other four year olds are the same), but it was a long hard road.

    good luck. i know you guys will get through all of this! i love your blog!

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  97. well i don't have a daughter, but my son has already gone through the independent phase. My experience is that it will get worse (from the parent perspective) before it gets better. I will tell you this. My son is now four and he happily informs us that he only needs me in the mornings to get his bowl down from the cabinent. He can do so much for himself and is so proud (i really wonder if other four year olds are the same), but it was a long hard road.

    good luck. i know you guys will get through all of this! i love your blog!

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  98. It will get better. both princesses were like this mostly between 2.5 and 3. And you go girl for holding up in the store! You did exactly what you should have - giving into the tantrum only reinforces but you already knew that.

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  99. Kim, I can relate. ALL of my boys were like Kate in many ways (Sweet one moment and then, like someone flipped a switch, this uncontrollable wretch of a being)- but Andrew took it up a notch! The only words I can offer you is that which my father in love shared with me (though not at the time of a two y.o. melting down) "A little adversity is good for a man (woman) for a kite doesn't ride with the wind, but against it" I have found such wisdom in those words many a time and have found a variety of uses for them to be applied. I would like to recommend the book "Raising your Spirited Child" I am in the midst of listening to it on cd and am happy to send it to you when I am done. Here are a couple of links to some things about it. I agree that children DO rise to the standards we set for them, so as parents we need to set them high. I also used to think that the "spirited" child demonstrated bad parenting. Now I know better. Good luck friend! As I have long said, the older my children get, the closer to the ground I get to pray for them AND me!
    http://parenting.ivillage.com/gs/gsbehavior/0,,45pv,00.html and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060923288/ivillagepp/
    ((HUGS)) hp

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  100. Finally...another mother who feels my pain. My 2 year old hasn't nap, refuses nap and boy do I need one. She just swallowed 2 pennies about an hour ago. My Mom says this too shall pass and the next stage will be either better or worse. YIKES!

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  101. With Zoe we did not have the terrible twos. We just had the terrible threes. Those were down right awful times for us. I used to dread going in public because I never knew how she was going to react. Thankfully she grew out of that stage & for the most part is a sweet little girl to be around!

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  102. OH MY!!! My 2 girls were not strong willed children and did everything this mother told them. They never batted an eye until they became teenagers, but again the leash was a little longer but I still had the upper hand. With that said, I am scared to death to see what is in store for us when we get Darci. God does have a sense of humor and I am sure I am in for something good!!! I only hope that since I am much older and much more wiser that it will be a complete breeze! HA! I do think it is a combination of several things, 1) move, 2) smaller living quarters, 3) being 2. The terrible 2's do pass, but it usually takes a while. I have found that consequences for bad behavior must be consistent. I know from following you blog that you are in control and that you are consistent. I would always tell my girls upfront what I expected and if they didn't live up to that expectation then this is what the consequence would be. Good luck!!

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  103. OH Kim! I have a Kate in my house too, but her name is Chloe! Reading this tonight was somewhat of a relief because Chloe is going through the exact same thing! I have tried everything( we are now to putting her in her room and closing the door until she can calm down when we are at home so far, it's helping a little. I have yet to figure out what to do in public.) She is INDEPENDANT! I love her dearly but with Chris gone so much( I know this has a lot to do with it) I am at the end of my rope. God Bless You for your honesty and I pray for the strength for both of us to get through this! :)

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  104. I love reading your blog and following your family adventures with your darling kids. I can tell from reading your blog that you have such a big heart and are a wonderful mom. Kate will come around because of the way her mommy loves her and guides her through life.

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  105. Like all the other posters, I can definately relate. I love the advice you have been given.
    My spicy child is my five years old. She is so exuberant and has a zest for life that is so wonderful, albeit exhausting at times. Interestingly she never had any temper tantrums until about age 3.5or so...probably because she could speak in full sentences at 18 month. This really helped me to divert her at earlier ages. However, she had some of the temper tantrums you are talking about at 3; mostly when she was exhausted. And right after we made a major move like you have made. I have to say once she adjusted to the move; things were much, much easier. I predict once you move into your house and Kate has a chance to settle in that she will at least spread out her temper tantrums and the severity of the tempers will cool off a bit. It could take awhile..certainly a month or so..but it will get better.
    Give her some time..in the meantime, I like your approach sit down beside her if you can when she throws herself down...

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  106. oh i feel for you and remember it well! when we were expecting my daughter we purchased another crib because jr and mommy would both be needing his nap. he began climbing out of the crib at 16 mos.. my extremely colicy baby was born when he was 18 mos.. nobody was getting any sleep. so we put jr's crib matress on the floor (couldn't have him getting hurt climbing out), reversed the door knob and locked him in for naptime. wretched i know...but it worked. sure he would cry, but eventually things would quiet down and we would reach our fingers under the door and feel his sleeping head. disclaimer-there was abolutely nothing he could hurt himself with in the room. again, he and mommy (and lil sis) needed him to sleep. the other thing i learned with my daughter and having had a first born son is throw eveything you came to know with your boys out the window. girls are TOTALLY different and kate's behavior is right on task. at one point my daughter had two outfits hanging in her closet because she would go bolistic if we tried to put her in anything else. so my husband (who's a family practice dr) took everything else out of her closet. i know aunt jenny remembers it well. hang in there...deep breaths. she's a beautiful, wonderful girl and TOTALLY normal!
    Abby's Auntie L.

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  107. I so can feel your pain. My little girl was a terror...like your Kate, she was sweet to the core, but just had a streak....it was an exhausting haul for us, but now that she is 4.5 it is like a whole new child appeared and her sweetness is even stronger...

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  108. Kim, I have to laugh a bit because you are SO such a good mom!!! :) We all know that and you know that. All of you have been through SO MUCH in the last couple of months and I would have to guess that it is causing some insecurities in sweet little Kate...who I'm sure is still sweet and always will be. I'm sure things will settle down once life gets back to 'normal'. It is awfully embarrassing though when our children act up in public, it's just humiliating. I have been there and done that many times and I'm sure I will be again. :) I always have compassion for other moms when that goes on, we all understand.
    I'm sorry it's been such a difficult few months, I hope brighter days are just ahead.
    Hugs to you my friend. :)

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  109. Oh, my. You know in your heart of hearts...she really is JUST TWO. BabyGirl went through a very similar phase when she turned three. We would be in the middle of the store and I'd just have to take her out and put her in the car, leaving my groceries in the cart at the counter and hoping they'd hold them for me. Doing that really seemed to help, because then she didn't have all the attention from people watching. Plus, I didn't have to deal with the stares. Really...did these people never have kids?!
    The stop, drop and leave method isn't easy, because you don't always have the time. However, I'd rather do that, not give her the indulgence of tolerating the fit, and go through the drive through for salads or just have pbandj for dinner than have to trudge through the grocery store.
    Good luck! It's true...this too shall pass.

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  110. Don't be afraid of your feelings and expressing them. I hate when people try to paint the picture to be perfect all of the time, because quite frankly it is not.. If you don't talk about it you will explode. I NEVER thought one time that KATE was being a brat at all, I thought she was being a typical TWO year old. All children are different and that is why GOD made us that way.. as my late Mother would always say "this too shall pass". You are a great mom who is under alot of pressure, moving, missing VA, trying to adjust 2 boys to school. Speaking of school, see how she acts at school, she may be frustrated there and venting at home where she feels more in control. Take Care, I don't think you are a complainer at all but a real mom with real feelings! Good Luck! OH! Keep the DARK WOOD it is beautiful.

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  111. Ha Ha this made me laugh it describes my sweetie also 2, to a t. It is a phase that Thankfully will pass hopefully soon!

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Thank you for your kindness.