Aspen Princess: Terrible twos
Everyone said parenting would be hard and I didn’t believe them — until now.
We pretty much sailed through infancy and babyhood, bragging unabashedly about our perfect little boy. I was riding high on the relative ease of becoming a new mother. I was a natural. I was a winner. I had the most perfect, most beautiful child ever born in the history of the world.
That’s right about when my sweet, adorable little baby became this impossible-to-please, demanding, psychotic little nut ball who hurls hard objects at me and says things like “No, Mommy! Go eat coffee!” when he wants me to misbehave. He’s practically a teenager.
The days begin innocently enough when he shuffles into our room in his fuzzy pajamas with feet, his shock of thick, white blonde hair sticking out every which way, eyes still a little pinched and glassy with sleep. He’s just about the cutest thing you ever saw in your life, his flushed cheeks puffy, lips a cherry red.
“Good morning, sugar plum,” I’ll coo at him. “Who is the cutest patoots in the whole wide world?”
My first attempt to embrace him is met with a swat. “No, mommy! Go!”
“OK, OK,” I’ll say, giving him a little space. I know I’m not a morning person, either. Maybe he’s inherited that from me.
Then he points and screams, “Milky! Bring milky upstairs, Mommy!”
Therein begins a 10-minute diatribe where I get his milk and as soon as I give it to him, he hurls it across the room and screams, “No milky!” Two seconds later, he’s in hysterics, crying “Milky!” If I’m lucky, the milk bottle doesn’t hit me right in the head.
Keep in mind this is the first hour of the day: he’s only getting warmed up.
I remember before we had Levi when I’d see other kids his age misbehaving and I’d say things to Ryan like, “Oh my god, I would never let my kid talk to me like that,” or “What’s with the messy hair and the crap all over his face? He looks so unkempt.”
Now I have a child who looks like he just stumbled out of a bar at last call and accosts every stranger who tries to talk to me or pet our dog. “My mommy! My doggie! No talk!”
I try to do the appropriate thing and scold him gently, saying things like, “That’s not nice, honey. You don’t talk to grownups that way,” only to be totally ignored.
This is nothing compared with the messes he manages to create, like an erupting volcano of food that stains and forms sticky white blotches on the couch or the abstract artwork I discover on the walls, my desk chair and (true story) the laundry basket. One day I found him wielding a Sharpie pen with long strokes of black marker all over his face (thank god for coconut oil). Another, with gobs of thick moisturizing lotion all over his hands and face.
Mealtime is another fun one. Whatever food doesn’t end up in his lap (rendering the bib around his neck totally useless) is tossed onto the floor where our already fat pug snorts and grunts and she hungrily gobbles up the ample scraps of spaghetti with meat sauce. The contents of his “big boy cup” are soon to follow, dribbling off the table and onto the floor where it can encourage the stain in the carpet to set that much faster.
The real party is at naptime and bedtime when he’ll jump up and down on his little toddler bed like a circus monkey for the first 30 minutes of the hour it takes to get him to go to sleep. But if we’re in the car, he’ll pass out just like that, his little hand clutched around whatever snack is now melting all over his face and clothes that already have lunch sauce stains all over them.
I’m baffled, considering the lengths I have to go to get him to go to sleep in the comfort of his own bed. I’m driving up and down the valley just so the kid can get a nap, and meanwhile I’m exhausted and about to go over the mileage limit on my leased car.
Also, babe is waking up at least twice a night and screaming “Mommy!” as if auditioning for the lead role in a horror movie. I roll out of bed, stumble into his room, and perch myself awkwardly on the edge of his tiny little toddler bed with freezing feet and rub his back and do whatever else it takes to get him back to sleep, which can take anywhere from two minutes to two hours.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Put your foot down, let that kid know who’s boss. If you live west of Basalt, it’s probably more along the lines of eliminating screen time or cutting out sugar and gluten and it’s definitely because you didn’t breast feed long enough.
Having Levi has made me believe in past lives because even at the ripe age of two, this kid has my number. Whenever I try to be stern with him, he smirks like he’s trying to stifle a laugh, looking at me like, “You were never like this back in college,” like we’ve already known each other for a long, long time and are more like old cronies than mother and son. On the rare occasion I am able to remain firm, he avoids my eyes and then repeats the behavior at the first given opportunity.
It was my mother-in-law who said, “Everything is a phase. As soon as he stops doing one thing, it’ll be something else.”
Maybe I took off out of the gate too fast, foolishly thinking I’d win with a sprint when I’ve got a lifelong marathon ahead. I just hope they serve strong drinks at the aid station.
The Princess is drunk on the scent of lilacs. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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