Terrible Two or EQ 200

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My car got towed away on the other day. I didn’t realize at the beginning but I basically misread a street sign and I parked where I should have not parked when I should have not parked (NYC traffic officer had no mercy for my CT number plate)…in the result, my car was gone when I came back to the spot. All sort of thoughts were spinning in my head…it’s going to cost me at least $300, how am I going toget my car back!?, how long does it take to get my car back…it’s already a dinner time, if I can’t get my car back right away, how am I going to go home that is 50 miles away with my baby, I should feed my baby first before I try to locate my car because I don’t know how long it’s going to take…etc, etc.

I got so upset and I wanted to cry and punch the street signs. I was going to crack, but in front of my 2-year-old daughter, I maintained my calmness. So I thought I did…

And then she looked up to me and said…

“Mommy, you are upset. You can use happy. Look at my sandals. It’s sparkly!” and lifted her leg like a ballerina and showed me her cute crystal sandal that she got a couple of weeks ago for her birthday present.

Let me say it again — She just tuned 2 years old a couple of weeks ago. I was supposed to worry about her Terrible Two, wasn’t I!? Instead she is already trying to console her mother!? I was stunned and amazed by how empathic, caring also creative she was. She was able to empathize how I felt (upset), recognize what I needed (happy), and utilize what resource she had at the moment to make me feel better (her sparkly sandals. Also it’s amazing that she already knows shoes make me happy!)

After this incident, I thought about a book that I read — The Go-To Mom’s Emotional Coaching Young Children by Kimberley Clayton Blaine (http://www.amazon.com/Parents-Guide-Emotion-Coaching-Children/dp/0470584971)

In this book, Kimberley the Author talks about practical solutions on how to use “emotional coaching” for common toddler problems such as dealing with tantrums, nightmares, hitting, bedtime, whining, bedwetting, potty training, shyness, anger, etc. I got this book because I was afraid of dealing with infamous Terrible Two. Even my daughter was about 18 months old or so, I was looking for something that would equip me to deal with this monster when she actually becomes one. So I read this book.

This book taught me how to label her feelings especially when she feels them but doesn’t know what she is feeling. As the book also suggests, I always empathize with her and respect and validate her feelings, but I think this labeling feelings has helped her very much to recognize what she feels and what other people feel too. Because she is now capable of recognizing and categorizing other people’s feelings, she is capable of empathizing too. Does she have tantrums? Of course she does. All we, even grown-ups, do. But when she is upset, she can say “I’m upset” and why she is upset. It’s because she knows what she is feeling. And this is a huge benefit for me, my husband and her teachers because when we know what she is feeling, we can provide her proper emotional support. Now I see huge benefit of Emotional Coaching. If we can measure my 2-year-old daughter’s EQ, I bet it is 200…or even higher.

The Go-To Mom's Parents' Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children


Balance – Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom


Mama Kat who is one of mothers from my working mommy’s group sent out this email below.

“I have guilt!

Guilt that I don’t spend enough time with my precious baby girl 

Guilt that I don’t get everything done for my job (until the very last minute)

Guilt that I am too tired to cook (unless by microwave)

Guilt I can’t find the energy to chit chat to my chatty-Cathy husband

Guilt that I haven’t finished my bathroom or my living room or even my kitchen

Guilt I paid for a pool club where I don’t have time to go

Ditto for the gym membership

I used to be the one that did everything, nothing ½ ass’ed, now I feel like the one that does nothing…  

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE where my life, my family and my career is going, but I just feel like I am on a horse that is running wild holding on for dear life hoping it doesn’t throw me off….”

And the other day, Sara and I had a playdate with another mom, Mama B (not from my working mom’s group) who is a stay-at-home-mom with a 22-month old baby girl.

She asked me if I’m still working at a part-time job (last time we had a playdate was the last Halloween). I said yes and told her my work hours; 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. She said that is a perfect work schedule – not too early to get in, and not too late to get out of work.

She also said I was lucky to have an ‘adult outlet’. She said being a stay-at-home-mom sometimes gets lonely and less-stimulating. She said she absolutely loves her baby girl and treasures every moment that she spends with her, but she sometimes craves for more adult level intellectual interaction/conversation.

As reading Mama Kat’s ‘guilt’ email and thinking about what Mama B said, I realized how lucky I am to work at a part-time job.

Sara gets her ‘kids’ time with her classmates at her daycare. She brings her art projects home every month. She knows how to share. She has developed her vocabularies, now she can use more than 100 single words.

I’m working with wonderful people who are very intelligent, and they are very understanding about my situation with a baby (I got this part time job when Sara was 4 months old), and I met my new BFF here too.

After work, Sara and I sometimes go to a library, a farmer’s market, a park, or go to a playdate, and still I have time to go to a super market and prepare for dinner and don’t have to feel that I’m rushing around.

I have complained about being a part-time before because I don’t get paid sick days or vacation. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. But now I think about balance that I have, and I realize that I’m lucky.

How advanced or behind my baby is?

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Sara had her 15-month check-up a couple of weeks ago. She has been always healthy but I get nervous no matter what anytime I go to her regular check-up because this is like a performance review for me as a mom.

As usual, Sara’s pediatrician ran down a check list.

Large motor skill:

Walking well: checked — she was practically running too.

Small motor skill:Started scribbling: checked — The doctor was amazed how she holds a pen. She holds a pen like we (adults) do.

Using fork/spoon: checked


Eating well: checked — She is a picky eater, but very healthy. She doesn’t like sugary sweet stuff like cupcakes, cookies, or juice. She loves broccolis, spinaches, pasta (certain brand), cherries, watermelons, and plums. The doctor said “That’s awesome! Don’t worry about her pickiness. Give her as much broccoli or spinach as she wishes. You don’t know how long it’s going to last!”

Drinking from a cup: checked

Pooping well: checked

Brushing teeth: checked

Language/Cognitive development:

Using at least one word: checked — so far she can say at least 64 words. The number of words she can say is about a 22 month-old.

And an extra bonus point — She says “please” and “thank (you)”. This wowed the doctor!

Knowing at least one body part: checked — she knows about 15 body parts.

And another extra bonus point — she can name a couple of body parts, such as ‘ear’, ‘nose’, and ‘eye’.

‘Feeding’ a doll: checked — She gives her snack to her stuffed animals, and tries to actually feed our cat, Chicha.

After going over the check list, the doctor said Sara is physically at least 18 months old or so, and cognitively around 20 to 22 months old.

I don’t know if I should take credit for her physical progress, but I think I can take credit for her cognitive development. Repetition is a huge key. And repetition requires patience. Don’t expect to see outcome right away. Although I’m so excited to see outcome bit by bit, if she doesn’t show whatever I teach her right away, I don’t let my attitude or hope down. I keep telling myself that the first three years are a developmental phase, and it’s a long term investment and I shouldn’t expect to see ‘return’ right way. Think like 401(k)…

Sara is making a grocery shopping list