“No!” is my son Eddie's favorite word lately. And he doesn’t just say it once; he is prone to saying it three times for emphasis. “No, no, no!”
When he was 18 months old, Eddie became occasionally obstinate. I assumed the terrible twos had descended early. When he turned 2 years old in October he stepped up his game. I realized what came before was merely a warmup.
What puzzles me is how he can go from zero to domestic terrorist in a split second. One minute we are enjoying a reading of “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?,” the next he is rolling on the floor having a tantrum because I (accidentally) didn’t allow him to turn the page.
I have to admit that aside from this pesky behavior, he is a precious angel from heaven. My partner and I adopted him at birth and have not looked back. We love everything about him. That being said, the terrible twos are, indeed, terrible. They’ve taken a toll on our family. Because he’s become so unpredictable, I’m certain I’m developing a dad’s version of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fortunately, Eddie is an inquisitive, clever young guy. He amazes us in so many ways. This helps temper our fright when he resorts to throwing his pacifier across the room, or at the back of my head when we’re in the car. Keeping perspective and remembering that all things are temporary keep me calm in the face of his frustration and anger. It’s never cute, but to see his personality evolving is quite a wonder.
He’s a little person trying to make his way. I have to remind myself that being unable to communicate properly might not be fun for him either. The poor little dude has a limited vocabulary in comparison to older children and it frustrates him. I like to think that for every word added to his vocabulary there will be one less tantrum to endure. My hypothesis has yet to prove itself.
I suppose it would be equally frightening if my son accepted everything I said without question. I hope his strong will is a good thing, something that will help him in the years to come, something that makes him an engaged citizen of the world. He might need an extra dose of boldness as he’s to maneuver the world as the son of two dads. One thing is certain: We are not raising a pushover.
When I survive his terrible twos, I’m not off the hook. I know there are more challenges in store. The personality that is starting to form now will grow, expand and continue to wow us. I’m expecting the tantrums will become less frequent. I expect Eddie will learn to get his way by using words rather than by hurling things across the room. Kids are crafty. I’m going to be on guard for whatever follows the terrible twos.