The #&%$! Terrible Twos

Of late, my house has been marked by the sounds of wailing and the gnashing of baby teeth. The dreaded “Terrible Twos” have landed with the force of an F5 temper tantrum, and a full five months early, to boot.

The smiling, perpetually cheerful cherub who was always game for whatever fun activity I might suggest has been transformed into a surly, dictatorial little obstructionist.

Everything is “No-no-no-no-no!” I swear it’s almost like a reflex now. He says “no!” even to things he wants. And somewhere along the way, he picked up a bit of surfer-dude lingo. Now, any time I suggest, well, pretty much anything, he responds with, “Nooooo waaaaaay! No way.” He says it twice like that, drawing out the first one in a long whine, sounding like a 20-month-old Keanu Reeves in a really bad mood.

Also, he has recently decided that he will no longer be taking naps. For quite a while now, our routine was as follows: we’d finish lunch, then go up to his room with a bottle and read a couple of books. We’d turn the light off, he’d finish his bottle, hand it to me and then turn around and whisper “night-night” and point at his crib, often giving me a kiss on the cheek. I am not exaggerating. It was amazing. I would think, “Wow, this child is incredible! He’s so sweet! We must be the greatest, most naturally gifted parents in the world!”

Now, I’m as agnostic as the day is long, but sure enough, ol’ Proverbs was right: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Well, I’ve done fallen off the cliff of parental pride and into the chasm of eternal naplessness.

I am afraid that this will last a while.

The other recent development is that ol’ Pops here is basically persona non Dadda. Mom is solely where it’s at now. He doesn’t want me to hold him, pick him up, play with him, hold his hand, help him get anything, watch “Yo Gabba Gabba” videos with him, feed him, put him to bed – you name it, he doesn’t want to have me involved with it. I know he’s just a child and that this is all just a phase and etc., etc. I realize that logically. But man, it’ll make you feel pretty low after a while.

Oh, and get this. Very often, when I do something for him or give him something — a nourishing meal, say, or a cup of water — he’ll turn to my wife and say, “Thank you, mama.” Seriously, I do not even get the very basic credit a parent is rightfully owed when doing a solid for his or her child!

But you know, whatever. As the teachings of Buddha remind us, desire is the root of all suffering. My desire for recognition and gratitude from someone who, to be quite frank, is a toddler, is probably pretty unrealistic. I should instead focus my energy on figuring out how to get him to take a #&%$! nap.

Pride

The first time it happened, I was folding laundry.

My son was about eight weeks old. I grabbed a bright yellow onesie with the words “Cool Dude” emblazoned across the front in big red letters. In all honesty, I can’t recall where the thing came from. Probably it was one of the many, many baby items that our friends with older boys had graciously given us. Continue reading