Lunchbox is undoubtedly, unequivocally turning into a two-year-old. I am beginning to remember this age with Turbo. The thing is that Turbo has been the teensiest bit on the far right hand side of the difficult spectrum for so long that I sort of just eke along from phase to phase, suffering in some way through them all. And until we got a refresher on what two was really like, I’d forgotten that it really did stand high and above all the rest of the difficult times. In fact, Lunchbox has become so difficult that Turbo is a shining example of wonderfulness in comparison. And actually, Lunchbox’s recent turnaround into tantrumy toddlerhood has made me realize that, really, Turbo has turned himself into a really awesome little guy.
I’m sure I sound like an uncaring and mean mommy when I talk about Turbo being tough pretty much forever… and a lot of my perception probably has to do with the fact that he’s the first kid I’ve had to personally deal with. I mean, I’d had lots of experience with other kids, but this was the first of THIS kind of kid for me (you know, the kind that live at your house and expect food and attention and clothing and stuff?) Anyway, I’m sure that all the “firsts” had a lot to do with my expectations for happy babyhood being dashed on the jagged rocks of reality, but I’ve also had a good deal of outside confirmation that Turbo may have been attempting to break some records in the areas of stubbornness, aggression and anger in the last few years.
Unfortunately, I understand him a bit too well because he is basically a tiny male version of me. And life as me was not super easy until I realized that I made a choice every day to be happy or sad (or in my case, mad) and that the world was not really conspiring against me. Turbo hasn’t made that realization yet, and seeing a four year old struggle with serious angst is not a fun thing. But I talk to him a lot about making choices about how we see things and how others react to the choices that we make. And it actually seems to be working.
But this is not a Turbo post. This is a response to my frustration at having to deal with the worst of Turbo’s phases again, embodied this time in my tiny, usually jolly little lunchmonkey. Lunchbox has always been an easygoing little guy. He was always smiley and cheerful, easy to laugh, very silly. And that’s all still in there somewhere… I hope. Right now he’s just disagreeable. About everything. All the time. Anything that was once just a normal part of our routine is now something to be fought tooth and nail.
When I went into their room this morning to wake them up for school, singing my little “good morning, good morning” song, Turbo jumped out of bed (literally. He scared the crap out of me), and Lunchbox greeted me with “NO.” He repeated the word at least six times in the three feet I carried him from his crib to the changing table, where he proceeded to fight me taking off his diaper, putting on a new one, and flat out refused to put on pants. I let him pick out his own pants and things were going well — we got them on! But then came the time where we needed to take off the PJ shirt. After 15 minutes, he was wearing half of the shirt he’d chosen for school (one arm and the head were in), and I left him on the floor of his room, wailing and protesting.
We got through that eventually, and he went on to protest putting on socks, then shoes. Then breakfast. Then walking. I hope he doesn’t decide that it’s me who is making him breathe and quit doing that.
I thought they were going to call child protective services when I picked him up from school yesterday because I had to bodily force his limbs into the car seat (after 15 minutes of blocking up the curb waiting for him to climb in because lawd forbid I try to help him) and he paired this effort with a soundtrack full of sounds that even I didn’t know he was capable of. At a very high volume. Which continued ALL. The. Way. Home.
He turns two next month. Does anyone remember when this phase ends? Anyone?