Our mothers are officially getting their revenge for all of the horrible things Kevin and I did through childhood and adolescence.
It has manifested in the form of a pint-sized package with a big personality and even bigger lung capacity.
I should’ve known when Noah, hit all his milestones early that the terrible twos would come early, too.
In the past month or so, I’ve discovered he can turn from the sweet and cuddly little boy I know and love into a puddle of temper at my feet — all in the span of time it takes for me to mouth the word “no”.
Kevin and I both felt awesome going into Noah’s first year. At Noah’s 10 month checkup we went over all of our mad child proofing skills with his pediatrician and we’re positive we were about to rock this next year.
But what contraption prevents curious toddlers from hoisting themselves onto a chair to climb on to dining room tables or reach dangerous items meant to be out of reach like vases and picture frames? I get it. Everything that is “up there” to Noah is that much more awesome than the 50 million books and toys he has to play with on his level. Why? Because they are forbidden fruit.
I figured ok, we will just always have an eye on Noah. No big deal. But in reality I need to turn in the opposite direction once in a while or perhaps devote even a small portion of my attention to necessary tasks like putting the dishes away or pee. I have since learned that transferring two plates to a cabinet is an invitation to scale the dining room table.
Who knew toddlers could be so stealth? Seriously, my child is a ninja. The child you can hear across the football field sized grocery store protesting the fact that I won’t let him play with the ground meat I just put in the cart or stomps sounds like a heard of elephants upstairs in his room can move a dining room chair without a noise.
When he’s not testing his boundaries, arm span and gravity, he’s usually testing my patience. When I tell Noah, “feet down”, as he tries to climb the book shelf in the living room, he gives me a wry smile and pretends to put his foot down and laughs as he places it back on the shelf. He laughs even harder when I get up and move him from the bookshelf until I place him somewhere else (with a book or toys) – then he melts down. Yes, preventing him from injuring himself on our bookshelf and moving him to an activity, not even a time out is worthy of a meltdown.
Then there are the dreaded incidents in public.
With two more babies on the way and still trying to fix up our very fixer upper house we usually make a trip to Home Depot once a week. Kevin and I don’t go separately either. I am the project creator, researcher and motivator and Kevin is the math whiz that figures all the important stuff out. Sending one without the other…you get a really big mess and usually another trip to the store to make a return or purchase more items. So a month or so ago we brought Noah with us to buy paint for the nursery and supplies. To pass the time Kevin let Noah play with the buttons of a Dyson vaccum cleaner that was on sale and placed by the paint section. Seriously, 20 minutes of pressing buttons and removing hoses, toddler bliss. So imagine what happened when our paint was finished and the Dyson had to go bye-bye? Apocalypse now is what happened.
Noah’s bones turned to Jell-O. His vocal chords hit decibel levels mega phones would rival. He hit. He punched. He kicked.
I looked at Kevin as the on lookers gawked, this obviously was the first time in history a toddler had melted down in public. At least that is what the slack jawed faces of the other Home Depot patrons would lead you to believe.
I told Kevin I was taking him out to the car so he could gather our other items and check out in peace.
As I carried my wild, inconceivably strong toddler through the store as he wailed his sorrows through the isles the young male employees looked at very pregnant me wresting Noah and it was as if the sights and sounds of his cries were literally sterilizing them as I passed by.
Once we got to the car the melt down ended instantly. I turned the radio on and Noah had a dance party in the back seat. Dyson? What, Dyson? Toddler bliss now equaled free time in the back of the car jamming out to Lady Gaga.
There are times when Noah wins and Kevin and I give in and we have to take the assistance of the Grandma’s. We head over to one of their houses defeated and thankful and they bail us out of our terrible two distress and offer the distraction Noah is looking for. Heck, they usually even feed us and send us out the door with food and goodies and a couple of hours of much needed rest. We are pretty lucky – somehow we did this to our parents and not only did they survive but they are willing to help us figure it out with love and grace.
And even though at this point, I’m already contemplating withholding Noah’s driving privileges until he’s 18 solely on the grounds that mandarin oranges do not belong in my hair.
Our moms just laugh, encourage us with longstanding motherly advice like “this too shall pass” and then tell us horror stories of our own childhoods.
They aren’t trying to prove that all kids have moments that make their parents crazy. They aren’t trying to break the mood with a laugh.
They are saying that in 26 years those are the memories worth keeping.
That these “terrible twos” pass all too quickly and that one day it will be our turn to offer a helping hand, dinner or just a place to let Noah, Evan, Aiden and their wives recharge and recoup.
While the terrible twos feel pretty terrible and it is easy to get caught up in the terribleness it is important to remember that this too is one of those fleeting moments of childhood that “too shall pass”, what is after the terrible twos? Kindergarten?
So I will take their very welcomed and wise advice.
Soon enough it will be my turn to tell Noah’s wife tales of his terrible twos.
Just like the song, “You’re Gonna Miss This,” one day I am gonna want this back.
I’ll take a deep breath and thank God my little 17 month old going on 2 year old (going on what feels like 16 year old) is still just 17 months old.