So we’re in the thick of it, here. The terrible twos. The tantrum phase. And it’s real. Don’t have kids? Congratulations on feeling well-rested and having unscratched corneas! Let me explain it to you:
Parenting a two year old is like living on top of a dormant volcano. There’s no telling when it’ll go off, my friends, but oh, it will. I’ve become adept at conducting level five hostage negotiations while catching puzzle pieces whipped at my face in fury, all while simultaneously digging in my purse for anything/everything/a hair-covered raisin that might put the fire out. I have hauled a rigid and unwilling-to-leave screaming dead weight all the way across the park, sometimes upside down if I have to, while unwrapping a granola bar with my teeth. I have witnessed melodrama worthy of a Glenn Close performance when I (god forbid) say it’s bed time, and I’ve been smacked by sticky little hands who five seconds later want me to hold them. These explosions do not have rational cause. They are not predictable. One minute these little cave people will be laughing hysterically at their own farts and the next they are furious because you won’t let them eat toast in the shower. It’s hilarious if you don’t have to deal with it, or if you’re at home with a fridge full of wine and therefor the patience to wait out the storm without succumbing and just giving it what it wants. But if you’re in a public place? A grocery store? An airport? An airPLANE? Oh, heavens open up and swallow you.
Before I had kids and witnessed a stranger’s child having a full-blown meltdown, I would politely avert my eyes and assure myself with all the blind confidence in the world that my future child would never do such a thing (previous Jewel was a real know-it-all. I mean, even more so than this Jewel). But here’s the truth: even the most precious child who looks like they just stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue has the capability and the inevitability of going Chuckie doll on you. It’s just a natural part of their brain development, and all you can really do is learn a few tricks, stay patient, take deep breaths, and perhaps self-medicate.
But the saving grace in these moments, when my own child has gone batshit feral because I won’t let him throw my wallet across the produce section, has been meeting the eyes of a fellow parent who smiles knowingly as if to say, “I get it. I’ve been there. You’re doing great.” Because as parents, we HAVE all been there. And if you’re not a parent, and you’re witnessing an epic kiddie meltdown and silently reminding yourself to renew your birth control prescription, just remember that you, too, were once a shithead toddler embarrassing your parents. So try not to judge us and our silly little babies. Just know that we’re all very tired, and we’re all trying our best.
I want to share one of my favourite weeknight recipes with you, one I’ve done again and again because it’s delicious, easy, and even kid-approved in our house. I love making quick curries because they’re super satisfying and also a great excuse to toast up some naan for dipping. Hope you like this one.
PS. I love you like crazy, Wilder. Please buy us a nice house when we’re old.
Easy Chicken and Mushroom Curry
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bitesized chunks
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp red curry paste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp mango chutney
1/2 cup cashew nuts
Salt and pepper
4 cups of cooked rice
4 pieces of naan bread
In a bowl, toss the chicken with the curry powder and some salt and pepper.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and sauté the chicken until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Toast the mushrooms in the hot pan for a few minutes until they get some color, then add the olive oil and curry paste, stirring to combine. Add the onion and garlic and some more salt and pepper, and saute until the veggies are soft, about five minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring up to a boil, then add the milk and turn down to simmer. Let the sauce thicken for 10-15 minutes, then add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in the mango chutney and the spinach, wilting the spinach in the hot curry sauce. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Place the naan on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toast under the broiler until golden, about two minutes, and flip to toast the other side.
Heat a pan over medium heat and toast the cashews until golden, about five minutes. Roughly chop.
To serve, spoon the curry over rice and top with a handful of toasted chopped cashews.
Serves 4, or 2 tired parents with leftovers to spare and one spirited little boy
27 Comments Add yours
Jewel; Wish I could tell you it get’s easier, but it doesn’t…my youngest (twins) are now 41 and you are still trying to understand where they are coming from! Only, now you don’t have to deal directly with the fallout…oh, and it helps to get a puppy who then goes through the terrible 2s to remind you of those great and memorable years! 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I’m a new Mom of a three month old and we’ve entered a stage of rage crying! I can handle crying without tears…but some reason, crying with tears tugs at my heart strings like a baby sloth getting a bath.
The “batshit feral” comment was priceless! Also reminding non-parents watching a melt down (with horror), to renew prescription for bc. Thank you for a post about the savage side of parenting! I know I am not a perfect Mum, and won’t be when the two’s strikes…but this makes me feel oddly comforted (and only slightly afraid☺️).
When my daughters were little I referred to this phenomenon as UMS… Ugly Mood Swing. Also, the Chicken Mushroom Curry sounds amazing!
I hope you have a good support group of parents going through the same stages as yourself. I could not fully appreciate the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ until our 2nd girl came.
Our first was an angel, content to self entertain on a blanket, and would never move outside her little cottony square of the universe. We were convinced that our stellar child was a direct result of our AWESOME parenting skills.
Until Ava, The Unbreakable Will; Destroyer of Worlds; She Who Demands; Harbinger of Humility (ours);
And that was just the 1st week. It just got worse through the two’s.. and really it didn’t clear up until last year, when, after moving out on her own, she had to buy cheese on her own for the first time.
“Mom did you KNOW how expensive cheese is?”
“Yes dear, we had 6 kids, and you always had cheese.”
It’s those #respect moments when they’re older that make it all worth it. In the meantime.. save your sanity, farm as much of that parenting shit out to third parties as possible.
“Hi my name is Jewel, would you like to join my village?”
I love the blog post! Though I’m not a mom I have worked as a nanny for the past three years and this is the most accurate and well humored thing I’ve read about the terrible twos:| I wish you the best of luck during the torrential( torturous) threes. The kids get the attitude at two and then gain the vocabulary at three to really get you. Also, it was a pleasure to meet you at DragonCon and I hope to see you again!
Love this post it has so much truth in it! My first one didn’t have these terrible twos, I laughed at those who had them. My high and mighty thinking was crumbled with my Son. He fits everything you said above perfectly. But we love them all anyways 🙂 Wine dosen’t hurt either though!
No kiddies, but my wife and I are school bus drivers… all ages. We feel your pain!
One of my many nephews went through Terrible Twos, teething and mumps at the same time.
So, drooling, swollen, hot, and prone to tantrums.
Oddly, my sister went on to have two more children.
Oh-mumps? Nephew is now a 50 year old wine salesman with two post-grad children. Thank Ghu for the MMR vaccine. At least you won’t have to put up with that horrorshow.
My toddler once had a grand mal hissy fit on a city sidewalk in Marquette, MI. Just as she was approaching an Oscar winning performance, a concerned sranger walked up.
“Excuse me little girl, is this your father?”
After a moment’s careful thought my daughter repied.
“Sir, give me that child!”
My patients spent, it was all I could do to say nothing while stuffing my flailing little Tasmanian devil into my car and driving away. I spent the remainder of my evening looking out my window, wondering which direction the SWAT team would approach from.
Now nearly 30 years later, the appropriate reply has come to me.
“Sure lady, here ya go”
This made me laaaaaugh. Thank you.
Thanks Jewel. Glad I could make you smile.
One thing I should add is that my daughter eventually grew up to become a happy, well adjusted, contributing member of society who has made us very proud.
Hang in there, things will get better … uh … eventually.
On further thought, I have never raised a child born with a genetic predisposition towards world class acting skills. Good luck with that one. Better keep that wine close by after all 😉
The real fun is at 3!! Our oldest (7) has ADHD, so that’s fun. I’ve learned that in the case of parenting, it’s like the Sartre play No Exit: Hell is Other People- at least the shallow, appearance is everything type. Kids humanize you. It’s a good thing. Very grounding. Like Jayne’s honesty!?
We’re following nice and close behind you. Ours is turning 2 in September and decided for the slow crawl tantrum method, but mixes it up with laying on back pushing her self across the floor method when given the opportunity. It is rewarding when you can grit back the frustration and divine your voice into the most enticing form and a simple question becomes the most beautiful distraction and the wailing is cooled to a simmer. And then 5 minutes later you’ve got to come up with something else. Cheers to both of us! *CLINK*
The twos were tough but our daughter’s nightmare time was 4.5 to 5. We somehow all survived with our sanity intact and I love her dearly (she is 27 now). Parenthood is the most amazing roller coaster ride of all. ❤️
My now 13 yr old broke my nose 2x 3 months apart when he was two . Both times he was peacefully on my lap then flew into a instant rage throwing him self backwards and lightning speed over God knows what. He’s was my 4th and my last.
My daughter would pull this, and I would take her away from people (depriving her of an audience), and sit her down (generally this involved buckling her into her car seat in the van), and tell her, “When you get yourself under control, we can go back in.” I also told her repeatedly, “When you make bad choices, life is hard. Sometimes those choices are hard to make in the moment, but are for your good in the longer term.” She’s about to graduate from West Point in two weeks, and just the other day was telling me how right I’ve been about making right choices, as she’s had friends who are not graduating because of bad choices made. You’re doing great—parenting is investing in the future!
Yesterday, my 4-year-old was throwing himself all over our living room, so I finally caught his wrist and wouldn’t let go until he calmed down and then he let me put him in my lap and cuddle him until I had to get up to make dinner. Later, angry that his brothers wouldn’t give him a pencil and I wouldn’t tell them to give it to him, he punched one of their mini Superman armchairs repeatedly with clenched teeth. At bedtime (which was late, because our landlord had to come over and check a leak in our upstairs bathroom sink), he R A G E D while he was on the toilet, intermittently roaring — seriously, roaring, I’m not exaggerating — “I hate Mama!” “Daddy is bad!” and other unintelligible toddler declarations, while kicking the door to our bedroom.
So, what I’m saying is, stock up on wine.
Been there! (((hugs)))
Before I had a kid, I had a cat with arthritis, and when it flared up, she could get MEAN, with this demonic look in her eye. When my little one was 2-ish and got THAT LOOK in her eye, I found it was often before she tried to bite me or whatever – a reaction to pain she didn’t know how to get across any other way. So sometimes it worked to treat teething pain. Those sharp little things are moving around in their gums even when we can’t see it. When I was little my mom would wet & wring out a clean terry washcloth and freeze it. Chewing on that really helped me as a kid (I remember my adult set growing in) This will not help at the grocery story at 5:12 p.m., but it’s something to try out at home at least. Maybe it would help your little guy. Who is adorable, I am sure, even at his most hellionistic moments. 😉
I’m a nanny to 2 1/2 year old twins. A boy and a girl. I’m in the thick of it with both of them everyday while mom & Dad are at work. Trying to figure out what they’ll eat, what games they want to play, getting them ready for speech and occupational therapy appointments, going to the park, story time, dance parties and nap time. All while they want to go in opposite directions and both equally want 100% of your attention 100% of the time! They are both fun and adorable and loving and vicious screaming little monsters that have wedged their way into my heart!
I’m not single without kids for lack of trying, hell in high school you’d have voted me most likely to get married! Even tho I don’t have kids all of my friends do so being an “uncle” all over the place has given me plenty of these examples mentioned above to remind me of what’s to come… someday.
I say that bc it’s likely many are like me and while we don’t have mini-me’s of our own, we get it. Oh and be sure to take your own friends, who act as aunts and uncles, up on their offers to help out. Every lil bit, right? 😉
“They call it the Terrible Twos because FuckingAwful doesn’t start with a T.”
We’re out of the Twos and into the Threenager phase. It gets different, it gets better/ easier in a way because you as a mom get better at Momming. I’m a fan of the Danish Way, Ghibli movies, and black tea with the good (boozy) cream.
❤️❤️❤️ My little angel-monsters are 2 1/2 and 8 months, and I needed this right now! Thanks, girl. Cheers!
I am only 8 weeks pregnant but I also teach early childhood special education so I like to think I have a good idea of what is coming. Of course it will be completely different when I can’t just hand my own kiddo off at the end of a long day. I love reading your posts and appreciate the “real talk”. Stay strong so that in 2 years I can ask you for sound advice ❤️
I don’t have children, but I smile at parents who have crying children, or one playing up out in public. I loved babysitting, when I was younger, but that was hard enough.
Not food related, not even sure this site is still active. Anyway, what a pleasure to see your story arc on “THE ORDER”. We met briefly at Wizard’s World Philadelphia 2013 ( along with several thousand other fans). You were so kind. I had not seen much of you since and when you appeared on the show, even as evil Jewel, I was very happy to see you working. Take care.