I think Smallest is going through ‘The Turn’. That wonderful time when your bubbly babbling beautiful baby turns into a snarky cantankerous little goblin. I’m guessing as much as he’s going around with a perma-pout and shouting NOOOOOOO at anything that dares breathe in his general direction. Ah, yes, the terrible twos. And terrible they are indeed.
Apparently every decision Mama makes these days is wrong. He performs when he wants a drink, when the drink doesn’t appear quickly enough, when the drink offered is the wrong sort of drink, when the drink is in the wrong cup, when the drink is exactly right. That last one can go on forever, he doesn’t want it after all so I take the drink away, but…. oh, oh no, he does want it…… oh, oh, oh no, he doesn’t. I put it on the coffee table just in case he changes his mind (and he will, about fifty more times), he swipes it off in a fit of rage and then cries because it fell on the floor.
I am, as it turns out, really mean. Like, really truly awful. I stop him from doing such brilliantly clever and fun things as running out the front door into the road the second I open it. Sticking his arm down the toilet or unravelling an entire roll of toilet paper down the stairs. Putting the end of my phone charger in his mouth whilst its plugged in. Turning the oven up to 300 degrees while dinner is cooking. Eating the toothpaste, his bum cream, my posh lipstick, Biggest’s felt tips or things he’s fished out of the bin. Climbing up onto the play table to dance. And God help me if I try to do something truly horrendous like change his nappy. What am I thinking?! I’m a terrible mother. I should be locked up and the key thrown away.
Suddenly anything and everything is a deadly projectile. I narrowly escaped a black eye the other day when he tested the springiness of my face by bouncing a toy train off it. He redeemed himself by being suitably upset when I cried (please don’t judge me, it really hurt), luckily for him. Otherwise I would probably be considering converting our under-stairs cupboard to a padded room with a slot in the door to poke dry toast and water through until he gets over this thing.
I’m about ready to give up on the pushchair. I have to bribe him with a biscuit to come near enough to it that I can whip him into it. 99% of the time this goes wrong and I’m left strapping in just his coat after he’s done a limp noodle and managed to wiggle out of it and escape between my legs. A second attempt and he will wedge himself, stiff as a board, between the bumper bar and the back of the seat. I then somehow have to UN-wedge him, get him to bend, force his arms through the straps and do up the buckles at the exact same time (without the bribery as there is no way he’s falling for that one twice). Which is something I literally just do not have enough limbs for. I think I would have more success in trying to get a very angry tiger strapped in. If I am by complete fluke, successful, I must keep the pushchair in perpetual motion. I am not allowed to stop for any reason. Supermarket shopping must be done on the fly. If I pass something by accidentally, I must complete a full circuit by going down the next aisle and returning before attempting a second grab ‘n go.
Getting him to nap is nigh on an impossible task. I can’t lie him down for starters, it must be incredibly painful for the poor lamb to remain horizontal going by the fact he screams blue murder. And forget tucking him in. I try to give him Mr Stinker (his beloved Ted and favourite cuddle buddy – Biggest named him when Smallest was given him at two weeks old, and from the amount of slobber the thing absorbs on a daily basis has turned out to be an entirely appropriate name). The intent is to calm him down, but instead Smallest bites him and strangles him, and then the mangled thing is thrown from the cot. Poor Mr Stinker, it’s not your fault buddy. If I dare leave the room in the hopes I’m the catalyst for the rage, and that maybe he’ll settle if I’m not there, it escalates. He boots the headboard. Runs his toys up and down the cot bars like an institutionalised prisoner. Sticks his arm over the rail and bangs on the window. (Dear passers-by and neighbours, he’s fine, please do not knock on the door and tell me you think my baby is awake. Believe me, I KNOW.) And then, if he does fall asleep, he wakes up in the mood from hell. Obviously it was by accident, he didn’t intend to give in and how DARE I have let him SLEEP…. now he may have missed Something Very Important! Yes, something very important indeed, Smallest. Me, lying on the couch exhausted.
All that’s said, its also a really wonderful time. He’s learning so much. A few weeks ago he discovered if he repeatedly spins around on the spot he gets dizzy and falls down. This causes much mirth, and has the added bonus of entertaining Biggest. This week he learnt to jump, if a little haphazardly. He is beginning to play pretend, and his toys all speak the same language; high pitched gobble-de-gook. He is learning to count (eight is his favourite number). He recognises colours. He has lots of new words. ‘Off’ has replaced ‘car’ as his favourite. Everything is off, even if its on. But don’t you dare correct him. Your life isn’t worth that much.