Ok, so perhaps its not so much “terribly advanced” as it is “terribly normal” but I naively felt I had until the clock struck midnight on August 20 to anticipate the arrival of this dreaded period, no doubt to be punctuated with lots of tears (mine) and stubborn shouting (mine again). But to be clear; he will always be the apple of his Mummy & Daddy’s eyes – naughty or not. But I fear others may find their formerly intense affection for Master Harrison Webeck starting to wane.
I can see it in people’s eyes – the once cute child who could do no wrong has morphed into a little monster – as if over night! He now insists this sideshow we call everyday life be run on his terms, and woe behold anyone who stands in his way. Unfortunately that “anyone” is often yours truly – oh yes, lucky Mummy… He has no hesitation in vocalizing his every demand (“Hey, give back my keys!” came one order from the car seat, after I wrested them from his steely grasp. Rather difficult to drive a car without them but try explaining that to an almost 23 month old who has his mind firmly fixed on only what he wants, not what Mummy needs to make the car go.
And then this afternoon’s little episode – even nature’s creatures can bring about a meltdown. We arrive at the Park, and the magpies refuse to listen to his pleas to stay put as he chases them around the grass. After he cracks it, he storms off in a strop, informing me he is going home. Dutifully I begin to follow until he turns to me, and hand out in front in a halt signal he cries angrily “Stop Mummy, you stay here!”
Or this little gem, straight from the handbook of surly teens “I’m going to bed!” he shouted hotly, stomping off in the direction of his room, after he failed to win yet another battle of wills. I had to hide my bemused smile, instead offering a “Great, I’ll meet you there shall I? You can have a spell in the naughty corner at the same time…”
As my Dad points out, Harrison’s rather sizeable vocabulary is, in this instance, a bad thing rather than a blessing. I have to shake my head sometimes and think, “Am I really already arguing with a child who is yet to blow out 2 candles on a birthday cake”? He knows what he wants and to his advantage, he knows how to demand it. His stubborn streak (no idea where he gets that from…) shines through and its as if he is setting himself these goals to ensure he get what he wants. Underage overachiever, that’s my boy! And like I have said before, the reasoning of “oh he is just a baby and doesn’t understand” just doesn’t wash anymore. There is no shadow of doubt in my mind he is well aware of everything I say – mostly because, parrot that he is, he repeats it straight back to me!
So I ask blackmail my only currency when these tantrums coincide with us being in public places? I feel like I am bartering bikkies like a tourist on a shopping spree in Turkey’s Grand Bazaar. At home I can employ other tools to try and teach him this is unacceptable but with the eyes of the public peering at me, I sometimes commit the cardinal sin of giving in.
I imagine I am not sailing solo through this turbulent sea, but still, it’s small comfort that other parents too are dealing with fractious children when its your own offspring creating an epic scene at swimming lessons/the park/shopping centre/meal times etc (I’d say insert most appropriate but I envisage you too took the “all of the above” option as well!). I just have to work on honing those skills of parental peacekeeping and somehow get the son to count to ten (out of the blue he counted to 8 tonight!) and calm himself before the outburst kicks in.
However, I am secure in the knowledge from others who have lived (and loathed) this phase, it does eventually end, and we will get our sweet little angel back. Give or take four years. Joy.