People remember him as such a good baby, agreeable and sweet, calm and happy. He was always Mr. go with the flow, never a fuss or a cry over anything. Thrilled with whatever toy was in front of him, happy to be held as much as he was to sit quietly by himself. Like a 1990’s sitcom, he was the perfect baby, absolutely adorable with just a touch of mischievousness to make you go, “Awww! How cute was that?”
I don’t know what happened.
Somewhere along the way my perfect baby morphed into a dramatic, screaming, hitting, give-it-to-me-now-or-I’ll-bite-you adolescent. Except he’s only 22 months. And with his second birthday rumbling around the corner like a MAC truck on fire, I know that this is just a preview of what’s to come.
And I am terrified.
This terrible two preview has included some impressive and aggressive yoga poses that would leave any parking lot witnesses thinking his car seat was filled with angry vipers. Each day we wrestle in the daycare parking lot while other parents stop to stare. First I patiently, then not so patiently, and finally with maniacal force, strap that slippery little mongoose into his seat, praying the teacher won’t come out to see why we are both screaming.
He utilizes similar moves on the diaper changing table, skills so impressive I wonder if this is just the start of his future career with Cirque du Bebe. He has mastered some key moves like the “one legged cross turn” and the “back arch flip over,” all while ass-naked and shoving a foot in his dirty poop-filled diaper.
What. is. going on. here.
He used to be so good. He used to cuddle with me on the couch while we read books, turning each page as we read. Now he screams, “No!” before snatching the book, crashing to the floor from my lap, and bending the book backward breaking the spine, all while cackling and making direct eye contact with me. He used to giggle when looking at photos of himself, now he lies in the middle of the kitchen floor screaming uncontrollably because my iPhone storage memory is full from the 1,857 selfies he just took.
I didn’t intend for it to happen this way. I was convinced that with the right parenting skills and his perfect infant temperament, that I could successfully navigate the Terrible Twos with no more than the occasional hiccup. But this preview has me well aware of just how ill-equipped I am to deal with this chaos.
It’s not for lack of effort. I’ve tried distraction, explanation, conversation, rationalization, relaxation, and of course, bribery. I’ve utilized all the crap the parenting books recommend, and I’ve also utilized all the crap the parenting books don’t recommend. In other words, I’ve tried it all, and my toolbox is officially empty.
Out there in the universe are at least a couple dozen moms tsk-tsking me right now thinking to themselves, “She’s just not being patient enough. He’s just a little boy who needs love, boundaries, and consistency. She just doesn’t get what it is to be a nurturer.”
And to those women I have an important question to ask: Wanna come babysit?
I didn’t think so. Because even with your face all scrunched up in judgment, I know you remember the perfect storm that is toddler mobility and newfound self-determination. Even if you don’t want to admit it, you remember the day your child realized he had two legs and the free will to use them. Add in a heaping pile of willpower, and you’ll fully understand the intense level of crazy I am currently cycloning in with my not-yet-two year old.
I’m hoping we can make it through this craziness unscathed, but from what I hear the other side of two isn’t that great either. Life with a threenager sounds like its own shit show, and considering we’re only in the terrible twos preview, I think I’ll need to take it just one kicking, screaming step at a time.
How did you survive the Terrible Twos? Seriously. How did you do it?
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