I'm trying to remember when it started (perhaps when the doctor was yelling, "Push!"??), but over Christmas, I distinctly remember feeling excited that Scotty was going to be home with me for two weeks with no school. Now, not so much. Things have changed dramatically since then. Spring Break is looming in two short weeks and I break into cold sweat when I think of what the hell I'm going to do with the little muffin for ::dramatic music:: five solid days. And how we are not going to be at each other's throats for ::dramatic music:: five solid days.
I know, I know. Maybe some of you are shaking your heads and muttering, "About time." I acknowledge our two's were tepid at best. Potty training was a dream. Bed conversions went smoothly. The transition to preschool was a bit problematic, but that was more on me than him. I willingly admit we breezed through some of the bigger parenting challenges, but to that, I offer only one word:
Naysayers, you can suck it.
Anyways, regardless of the karma of Motherhood, the challenges we are facing now are all attitude. Our sweet, good-natured little Bear has developed the attitude and confidence of a teenager. Words and phrases we have said to him - no, follow good directions, use your listening ears, be respectful - are literally being hurdled back at us with venom and lots of finger shaking. It's quite humiliating to be in public when your three-year old erupts after you deny him a new toy. "YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING. GOOD. DIRECTIONS!!" he shrieks, glaring and hissing. He occasionally will kick at me. He scratches me when mad. Just the other day at the park, I squatted down to his level to correct this wanton behavior and the little bleeping-bleeper pushed me over.
Let me say that again. He pushed.
Brian was on him like white on rice (and because of boot camp and very sore legs, I toppled over like a tower of blocks), dragging him off the playground by the arm. These incidents are not singular unto themselves; they are happening with more and more frequency. When I picked him up from school on Monday, Scotty informed me he got his name on the board twice: once for talking on the rug, and once for screaming. He then chose to make his "grr" face for the rest of the day at his classmates and teacher.
Whiskey tango foxtrot. What is going on here, people?
I gotta say, I have no idea how to handle this. Am I raising a serial killer? Is this how it starts? Will Dateline one day being showing my picture and putting all of his dastardly actions squarely on my shoulders? "...we've learned exclusively that Scott was known to push his mother at the park, causing her to fall helplessly to the ground. When she denied him a new lizard at the grocery store, the seeds of rage were planted..."
I implored the advice of good friend and fellow mother Courtney, who has been through her share with her two kids. Carson is a glorious, beautiful, and sweet 4-year old and I can't help but look on with envy when he listens, smiles, and agrees with what she says. He's like a tiny beacon of light in an otherwise dark toddler world. Courtney just laughed and said to keep fighting the good fight; maturity will kick in (eventually). Courtney also gently reminded me that she almost lost her mind when Carson was two because he made her so crazy.
So is this a phase? Does everyone go through this? I don't remember Motherhood so tough since the infant stage (which I disliked with a passion). I'm good with toddlers - I was a TA for Behavioral Psych and totally adhere to the motto "if you can train a rat, you can train a kid." But rats never talked back. And so, I'm at a loss. And really, really, really tired.
Sticker chart, anyone?
If you have some helpful advice, please feel free to comment. If you feel I am failing as a parent, that's cool, too, but let's keep that to yourself, okay?