Dear, sweet, precious little baby boy of mine. I love you with all of my heart, but no means no. Today is your 23rd "month-day" (translation: you are 23 months old today), and the Terrible Twos have officially moved into this house. Lucky for you, I am getting to be a pretty good two-year-old-behavior exorcist. Or maybe not.
Not to make you feel bad when you eventually read this, but you nearly made me cry this morning. WHY, Son?! Why do we have to have these battles where you say yes, I say no and then you proceed to whine and screech like you are possessed by a banshee? Oh, wait. It's because you are nearly two, and it's my job to take your little self-centered-self and straighten it around so that way you become aware that Mommy is all knowing and so that hopefully you can become a socially acceptable little person. May I just say that this job is not much fun? Since I'm with you more, it seems I have ceremoniously been labeled The Bad Guy in this house. Mommy is usually the one who says no, ignores your pleas for more fruit snacks/Caillou/jumping on Mommy's bed and dodges flying cups of juice and whatnot. I am the one who takes away privileges, issues the stern looks, periods of isolation and the occasional hand to your bottom. (Please note that this in no way implies that Daddy doesn't help; he's in this mix, too, but it's usually me with you the most, so I get the lion's share of this fun.)
The fact that I hold this unlucky title of Bad Guy rewards me with ugly little looks, louder screeching and the bullet straight to my heart: "DAAADDDDDDYYYYYYY!!!!!" Oh yes. You are trying so hard to pit us against each other. I believe I have mentioned this before, but you are working on those manipulation skills, and I've got to nip them in the bud. This morning, we had only been up and awake and together for about 15 minutes before you got upset about something I did (Lord only knows what it was), and it resulted in loud, angry tears. And calls for Daddy. I managed to get you calm and collected, but then again, about 10 minutes after that, we were back at it again. At this point it was 7:15 am. I saw a LONG morning looming ahead. I got really frustrated and maybe a little bit hurt; I was only trying to make you a yummy breakfast. I was making you what you wanted. I had woken up early (what's up with that again, by the way?!), changed your diaper, given you your favorite cup, and yet you still hurl cranky noises at me? Sigh. And then Daddy came out, and it was like the sun had come out. Sigh, again.
I know all of the developmental reasons behind it; I know that you are trying to assert some control and power into your world while I am breaking down that egocentric viewpoint you have. It's an important job I have to do. Our goal for you is for you to eventually move out of this house and join society as a productive and contributing member. And unfortunately for both of us, that job has to start now: a time where, even with your amazing vocabulary, you still lack the ability to express yourself the way you want to, have any sort of impulse control, and completely lack the ability to reason. But, it must be done. Trying to start when you're older, bigger, smarter and still more energetic than me would be a disaster. There's an amazing child development specialist that I love and worship, and he has a great book to which I have been turning called Making The Terrible Two's Terrific, and it's been a help. Thankfully your terrible two's are mild compared to some the kids he uses as examples, so I am grateful for that, and also motivated that I don't let you turn into one of those kids. "What would John Rosemond do," has sorta become my mantra.
And now it's nap time, and you and I are both resting up. You are perhaps dreaming of a world with no boundaries or limits, and I am preparing a litany of new rules and guidelines with creative ways to implement them. Your waking will mark another round in the battle of wills that is Ian versus Mean Mommy. Know though, Baby Bear, that one day you will understand my reason for being so tough. You just might have a little boy of your own one day, and my wish is that he is just as vocal and determined as you are. It will be a hoot to watch the two of you go head-to-head.