I'm often bewildered about the label "terrible two's", when in fact, my experience has been much more traumatic with my boys at age three. At age two I remember my children learning the word "no", and saying it a thousand times a day. "No" to the sibling, "no" to the cat, "no" to the remote control. It was cute. Sure there were tantrums or crying, but it seemed more innocent. Controllable. We could shrug it off and redirect our little ones. Then, age three comes along and many nights Rob and I look at each other, sigh, and lean back on the sofa, thanking sweet Jesus that Wee Beast is finally in bed, ASLEEP, and cannot possibly cause any more trouble for today.
Yesterday was a regular old Saturday. We had tee-ball in the morning for Big Beast and then came home to putter about. In the afternoon we were all hanging around in the yard watching Daddy work at his project and Miles heads inside. A few minutes lapse and Rob looks up from his project, "You think he's ok in there alone?". I shrug, wondering what he's after. "He's probably sneaking a snack", I said and think to myself I definitely should go check. Then I heard his tiny loud voice from the kitchen window. "MY TOAST IS READY!!". Hmm. Toast? I haul ass up to the house to find that he had gotten the full pitcher of apple juice out of the fridge (from the top shelf, I might add), filled my water glass full of it, and decided to throw in a slice of Weight Watchers multi-grain bread to toast up for a quick snack. He was telling me that it was hot, and it had popped up and he needed butter. I just looked at him, astonished, and nodded. Yes, butter, yes. I'll butter your toast. Wait, toast? You are definitely NOT supposed to operate the toaster, Mr. Big talk ensues. Ultimately, he relished his toast and drank his juice and this morning, I was discovering all the pools of apple juice inside the fridge. On every shelf.
We have daily battles over the silliest things. What clothes he will wear, what he wants to eat for breakfast (No, you can't eat chocolate pudding pie for breakfast. At least not till you're a grown up making bad choices for yourself, buddy.) , going pee on the potty. I know you have to pee, Miles, I see you clutching your pants and that uncomfortable look on your face. WHY won't you PEE? Oh, I see, you prefer to wet yourself and sit in it for a while. Yes, and when I suggest you should change your pants, you will scream at me "It's just water from the sink, not PEE!!" No more naps for my three-year-old, even if he's eyes are half mast and he's limp as a rag doll. NO MORE NAPS, and that's that. He wears us out, but he's just busy, people, and he's got stuff he needs to do. For himself. That means exploring the toaster, figuring out how plungers work, deciding if it's worth the trouble from his mommy to paint the bathroom with strawberry toothpaste. Oh, and of course, what's the harm in pulling down my pants and taking a poo behind our front maple tree? Whatever, at least it wasn't in my pants! Sheesh.