With all the talk of “terrible,” this was how I imagined Two would look, not you. I thought we had successfully avoided so many behavioral pitfalls that everyone had warned me about. I guess you just felt they were more suited to you, Three. Maybe you were sick of Two getting all the press. You had to go and grab a little bit of the spotlight, however negative, for yourself. Well, we’re just about three weeks into this household’s Three, and I’d gladly trade you for Two or Four already, I think.
Please inform me what you have done with my sweet baby boy? I see this defiant, violent, wild-eyed creature before me and I don’t recognize him. I hear the words coming out of my mouth in response and don’t recognize myself. What have you done to us all, Three?
I was thinking I might be able to blame the Halloween candy. Because the worst seemed to explode from the boy after ingesting those treats. So I stopped feeling bad about bringing handfuls of chocolate goodies to share at work. But today, no treats, just a tantrum.
Now I’m thinking that these outbursts are more my fault. That I should have brought a snack with us to the store, maybe he was hungry. That I should have taken him to the bathroom. That we shouldn’t have even bothered to do my errand when he had clearly expressed his desire to go ride his bike to the park instead.
I don’t like how we’ve been arguing. Not just about where to go this morning, but about getting dressed, undressed, which game to play, picking up toys, what to eat, going to bed.
Three, I understand that your influence on my child may be impossible for him to resist on his own. So I guess I just have to do better. I’ve gotten a little bit ahead of us, here, figuring that as he has grown and matured from the infant who used to nap on my lap, he didn’t need so much of my undivided attention anymore. I was wrong. He still needs me. My presence. He needs me to look at him, to watch him play. He needs me not to be distracted by machines, creative projects or household chores when it’s time for us to play together. I need to do better at dividing our time more fairly among us. So I guess I should thank you, Three, for bringing this matter to my attention.
When we’re calm, not trying to do anything urgent or labor intensive, you’re actually pretty great. He’s learning so much, is probably smarter than he seems unless you’re looking really closely. I love his comprehension of stories, of how things go together or come apart, of language and phrasing. I love his expanding imagination. And I think, Three, that you can take some of the credit for that.
But know this. I’m watching you, Three. We can all work together, I’m sure of it. But watch your back if you continue to step out of line. I have no idea what will happen, but it probably won’t be good for any of us.