Friday, February 13, 2015

My Two Year Old Thinks My Angry Face Is Funny

We have all heard the phrase, "the terrible twos". With my first child, they didn't exist. In fact I thought it was an urban myth. It's not. My first son was a fairly compliant, easy going child until he hit the tyrannical threes. That is when you really start researching boarding schools.

My sweet little baby is now two. He is much more active and adventurous than his older brother ever was, which makes him easier in many ways. His brother still suffers separation anxiety and hates to be left at school, whereas when I leave my two year old in the church nursery he is all like, "Bye, Mom, no time for hugs, I see a train table". I love his independence, but his adventurous nature also means that he likes to perform death defying stunts such as climbing on the train table and leaping onto the couch, trying to ride his toy car down the stairs, proudly standing on the coffee table, and trying to run away in parking lots, or pretty much anywhere. It is not only that he has no concept of danger. He also knows he is not supposed to do those things and finds it EXTREMELY hilarious when I catch him in the act and put on my angry mom face.

When I was a kid my parents, especially my dad, had that look. You know the one. Without any words being uttered, the look speaks volumes. It says, "You better watch it, kid". This look was all it took for me to shape up. Hold on, my two year old is trying to open the oven. Okay, I momentarily distracted him with a taggie. I knew there was a reason that I left my clean laundry on the dining room table. See, I am not lazy, it was all a part of my grand scheme to keep my child alive until his third birthday. Now he is walking around with the taggie on his head. By the way, if you don't know what a taggie is it is this little square of soft cloth with little fringes on it. It is the new craze in baby toys and great for sensory exploration. Seriously, a square cloth with fringes on it. I bet the inventor is a billionaire.

Okay, I totally went off on a taggie tangent there. Two year olds are not the only people who are easily distracted by cloth with fringes. I told you, adult ADD is real. So where was I? Oh yeah, the look. You know how parents tell their children, "I hope you have one just like you?". I should be so lucky. My two year old finds my angry look and also my angry voice funnier than President Obama fumbling through his cue cards. You may or may not know this, but nothing is more infuriating than Your child laughing while you sternly scold him. Here's the catch: the angrier I get the harder he laughs, which makes me angrier, which makes him laugh harder. Yes, I know parenting expert in the back of the room. I should just remain completely calm whenever I discipline. Believe me, many times I do. Incidentally, he finds my calm, serious voice funny, too. Also, in my defense, it is hard to remain calm when you child attempts to outrun cars. Just a second, he is pulling a chair up to the oven. This can't be good. Okay, he was distracted by the cat. I knew I kept these cats here for a reason. They are cheaper than babysitters and the American Academy of the Powers That Be doesn't get their panties in a twist when you use them to entertain your child for ten minutes.

My two year old is a character. He is full throttle and he has a zest for life. He finds joy in everything. I just wish he wouldn't find so much joy in my angry face. Case in point. The other day I took the car in for an oil change since it was only two months over due. Shut up. It turned out my battery needed to be replaced too, or at least that is what they told me. They could have been lying to make an extra two hundred dollars, but the thought of being stranded somewhere stuck in a dead car with two kids was terrifying enough that I didn't ask questions. This whole process took about an hour and a half, and since it was approaching five o'clock aka the witching hour, I wasn't worried at all. Actually, I always take my car to this place because they have a completely enclosed waiting room and toy room. When you are waiting for an oil change with two kids this is essential. The only problem is my two year old has learned the concept of door handles since our last visit, so he made a game out of running to the door, grabbing the handle, and saying brightly, "I be right back, okay, guys?". Cute, right? It was the first 77 times. Nonetheless, we managed to get out of there only two hundred and twenty dollars poorer, and they even pulled my car up to the door for me. Again, a great perk when you are traveling with kids. By now it was getting dark. As I hauled my kids out to the car and fumbled for my keys my two year old broke away and attempted to run around the car. I grabbed him quickly, swatted him on the diaper and yelled, "We do not run away in parking lots! A car could squish you!" He dissolved into giggles to which I helpfully and maturely responded, "It's not funny!" I got him in his car seat and started driving, finally coming to the logical conclusion that I should ignore his maniacal laughter since my scolding was proving so comical. The entire way home he would pipe up from the back seat, "Mom? Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!"

Yesterday he continuously tried opening the oven. This is the downside of a double oven. A time out and Angry Mommy face ensued. I sternly told him if he touched the oven again he would be right back in time out. He got up, smiled at me, and promptly walked over and lightly touched the oven with his pointer finger. Another time out ensued. Sitting in a chair is the ultimate punishment for a child who never stops moving, so he finally conceded with a "Sowwy, Mommy," and moved on to chasing the cat. His latest trick is standing on the coffee table and then calling, "Mo - om!" to make sure I see him.

I swear, he was just a baby yesterday. I fear I am about to turn in to that wistful old lady in the grocery store whispering, "It goes by so fast". Maybe I should wrap this up. Before you misunderstand me, I love my two year old's precocious personality. I think it will serve him well in life, providing he survives his toddler years with all his appendages in tact. I also love his brother's intuitive, sensitive nature and they way he can sit on the floor and build for hours. I love my children equally but I don't love them the same. They are completely different people with only gender and DNA in common. I love each of them for their individuality and all the little quirks that make them the people they are supposed to be. Still I have to practice a scarier angry face. Excuse me, I have to run. My two year old is about to eat cat food. Hey, that could save on groceries, right?

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Could you stay mad at this face?

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