Is it only called that because "Terrible 19 months" doesn't really work? Because let's face it, that about the age the Terrible Two's behaviour really starts. As they become more aware and capable of interacting with their surroundings they also get more frustrated with their inability to express themselves. It's a bad combination.
My little one has just turned 21 months. She is the cutest, most adorable child I could possibly hope for. 95% of the time she is an angel. Fun, cheeky, but also very obedient and responsive to praise. I am proud that among the phrases she already knows and repeats is "Good girl" and "Clever girl".
On the other hand, she has recently learnt "Bad girl" too. Because when she get's something in her head, she absolutely refuses to listen to scolding in a stern voice, praise in a happy voice, or any other voice the hubby and I try and use. We have tried time out, but it's funny to her. We try sternly telling her no. She laughs in our face. We try explaining why something is wrong (Where did she learn the phrase "Bish from anyway and why does she hit when she has seen no examples of it in our house??)
The problem is that she is just that we bit too young to understand consequences. She has always been so responsive to praise that we both find this very frustrating. When she climbs up on us, strokes us gently and then whacks us yelling "Bish" we put her down, ignore her and she laughs. She thinks it's a game to try and climb back on and have another go. When she pulls Death Cats tail till he screams, or yanks his fur till he yelps, he bites her (only a warning), scratches her (not a warning!) and yet she carries on ( and yes he is stupid enough to hang around her).
We are proud of the way we have dealt with her tantrums. She has them of course but they are remarkably short. She knows that is not the way to get what she wants so they are merely an outpouring of frustration, rather than a technique for her. But this refusal to listen, this flinging things, hitting thing, this we are just having to wait until it passes and keep on explaining why it's not acceptable and where possible remove attention from her when she does it.
My poor hubby is drained at the end of each day with this behaviour though. The other day, I walked into the room and the hubby exclaimed :
"She totally draining me. There's no way we can have another one and I am not sure I can cope with her at the moment"
This was obviously an emotional outpouring having been sorely tested by our brat child. I responded by giving him a big hug,letting him know he was doing a great job, and reinforcing that I was here to support him.
Ok - that's a blatant lie. I did the wrong thing, said the wrong thing, told him I would stay at home and he could go out to work. Bad Dawn. We talked it out later. I admitted to responding badly and being an idiot. I really wish I'd responded as I described above! He is the best dad ever and how he keeps his patience with her I have no idea!