Max is 33 months old which places him close to the end of The Terrible Twos and in training for the Troublesome, Thunderous, Tantrum Threes. The emotional roller coaster I am on these days is worse than the one I was on when I was 16 and in the throes of unrequited love. My child, as much as I love him, is taking years off my life.
Parents of older children tell me that these are the best times and as I sit here, smack dab in the middle of these times, I wonder how they could rewrite history with so little respect for the truth. I feel like I need to write some things down before I lose my memory like the others and maybe when I am older I will at least be clear what went down.
This week at The Bay, I wrestled Max into his stroller and strapped him in so that he would stop running away while I made a purchase. I managed to get him in without injuring him but I got an elbow to the face. By the time it was over, I was disheveled and in a full-on sweat. Right now, this is our normal.
Max immediately and vehemently disagrees with EVERYTHING we say. But he reserves the right to change his mind too. He will yell “I don’t want to eat eggs!” I kindly say “OK. Would you like some yogurt?” He scowls and yells “No, I don’t want to eat yogurt. I want to eat yogurt!” Unless he is really grumpy and then he just yells “No Everything!” At that point, I just want to run away.
My son has to completely disrobe in order to go the bathroom. It’s winter in Calgary so if we happen to be away from the house when he has to go I have to take boots off, pants off, socks off, underwear off, keep it all from touching the floor of a public bathroom and figure out how to keep his skin from touching a public toilet at the same time. When will this end?
If you were a fly on the wall in our home, you would sometimes see me walking behind my son making mean faces when he can’t see me. Or sometimes you would see me pop into the pantry to privately and silently mouth profanities. It gets ugly, folks.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that time is flying and there will be precious things about this stage of parenting that I will miss. His little arm wrapping tight around my neck. His declarations that I am his best friend ever. His joy at a simple puppet show over the back of the sofa. But, God help me, if I remember all of these stresses, I will forever look at mother’s of toddlers with eyes full of grace.
If you are or have been the parent of a toddler, do you think these are the best and the worst of times?