All I know is, during the past week, someone must have found my adorably-sweet-irresistible-can-do-no-wrong baby and exchanged him for an obstinate, very opinionated, often crabby, very BOY-like toddler. By "boy-like" I mean exhibiting CONSTANT displays of roughness, such as climbing over, clawing, and pawing me at every opportunity and throwing fragile objects across the room with no warning and for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I mean, I hate to make sweeping gender stereotypes but, judging from the little girls I do know (who are all of course content to sit and play quietly next to their mothers at every playgroup I seem to attend), there is a distinctive quality to BOY behavior. And I always hoped my darling little Kibi would break the mold as far as the BOY-ness was concerned. But alas, no dice.
The most prominent behaviors I've noticed recently can be summed up nicely in one acronymn: BTNY. This stands for banging, throwing, NO-ing, and yelling. The BTNY seems to make its presence known now, at least once a day and often more. Here are some examples:
BANGING: Can take the form of banging cars on the sliding glass door, banging blocks on the antique china cabinet (why I have this precious family heirloom positioned prominently in his play area, I have no idea), or, my personal favorite, banging virtually ANY sharp or hard object on the poor cat. Repetitively.
THROWING: The most irritating way that the throwing surfaces is via mealtime. Without fail, when he is done eating, he simply picks up his bowl/plate/cup and throws it over the high chair tray. Either this, or he takes the remaining pieces of food, and throws them overboard, announcing that they are meant to be "Food for Scooby" (our cat). (I do have to give him points for a creative rationale.) Throwing also happens constantly at playtime. It's almost as if it's his way of changing the subject. Once he gets tired of playing with a particular toy - whooooosh, there it goes, across the room. I recently read a clever disciplinary trick for dealing with the throwing (thanks, MONA!) ... you take the toy that has been thrown and put it in "time out." Needless to say, everything from Thomas the Tank Engine to puzzle pieces has been relegated to Time Out Land over the last few days.
NO-ing: This is a clear hallmark of the Terrible Twos. Everything is "no, no, no!" Especially when it comes to dressing. I never thought a boy would give such a rip about what he wears (and, truth be told, I realize that this is not about fashion but rather about stubbornness), but every day when it's time to get out of his pajamas, we have a MAJOR tantrum. It usually consists of wanting to stay in his pajama top all day long. If we have nothing planned, I often fold (after all, choose your battles, right?) but Murphy's Law dictates that the temper tantrums will ratchet up especially during times when we have to dress in a halfway decent fashion. Sigh.
YELLING: This is the one that I noticed the most while visiting my parents. Kibi has always had a bit of an attention-demanding side that manifests itself when I am engaged in a conversation with someone, either in person or on the phone. (Lately it's been, "Mommy, OFF PHONE!" whenever I am on a call in his presence.) Well, the behavior has intensified, and now he simply hollers one word repeatedly, whenever I am talking with someone else. To wit: while we were riding in the car with my mom and dad, every time my mom or dad would tell me something, Kibi, from the back seat would start chanting, "MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!" until I asked him what he wanted. The answer? Silence. And then the whole thing would begin again. Oy vey.
Now, I am admittedly being a little dramatic in inferring that I now have a 22 month old brat. It's not ALWAYS that bad. In fact, this new "independence" (or whatever the strange new behaviors are about) has been accompanied by an increasingly wonderful aspect of his personality as well, one that is very loving and engaging. Some of the things he says now simply melt my heart. For example, "Mommy, I love you." Or, declaring "I love watching cars!" yesterday when we were outside in the yard counting trucks go by. It's so exciting that he is becoming even more expressive in his communication. He seems more affectionate in many ways, too, like when we enjoy a lazy morning in bed every now and then and he snuggles next to me, saying simply, "Mommy..." and I feel like the luckiest person on earth.
I guess that, like with everything, you have to take the good with the bad. And I know the Terrible Twos don't last forever ... (Right!?! Please tell me I'm right!)