The most feared time. The event parents talk about in hushed tones. It’s unavoidable and unrelenting – the ‘terrible two’s’.
It is a time where angelic cherubs morph overnight into dark lords of the underworld. It’s when a polite and cute toddler becomes the devil. If you talk to the parents of 2 year-olds, (statistically 100% of them), like death and taxes, it will come.
For men, it’s not quite the hair-pulling deal it is for mothers, who bear the brunt of this challenging time. Still, men will still have our fair share of grief: an uncontrollable child and an angry, fed-up mother are a nitro-glycerin concoction – ready for dad, oblivious to the danger, to enter the mix and shake it up.
Missy, I must say, is not particularly “terrible”. There are meltdowns and tantrums for sure, but generally she seems happy enough in her current state of simply rejecting home cooked cuisine for tasteless, processed food. My wife’s a phenomenal cook, and certainly doesn’t serve up prison food, but Missy will often turn down lovingly crafted kid gourmet, for a dry piece of toast, baked beans or a block of cheese. Yep, that’s what I said, a block of cheese. In another example of father/daughter gene exchange, cheese is king in my daughter’s realm. Mind you, I certainly don’t let her just eat a block of cheese, I provide crackers – it’s simply the polite thing to do.
She also has an astounding ability to instantly remember, and perfectly repeat, any swear words I have ‘allegedly’ uttered, (let me stress the lack of hard evidence it was me, damn it!) This skill comes despite for months, her toy bunny being referred to as “barly”, despite thousands of corrections. Say “bugger” just once, and it is perfectly repeated and remembered, but again I should add – allegedly.
The downside of her speech advancing at an alarming rate is not only that when she drops ‘barly’ she responds with “bugger it”; I now have two women in the house who can order me around.
A fascinating and intriguing part of this age is a toddler’s genetic propensity to want ice cream. Missy, until relatively recently, didn’t even know what an ice cream was. But once she had been introduced, she not only instantly stored that word in the “very important” section of her brain; she more or less knew how to eat it. Granted it was quite a mess, but no more so than when I eat a kebab at midnight – and I’ve been doing that for 30 years.
So a new and exciting time approaches. Our baby somehow turned into a toddler. She has inexplicably learned to walk, talk and sort of use a fork. She has discovered ice cream and hot chips – sometimes at the same time. She occasionally swears like a truck driver (again, NOTHING to do with me!) and can kick a ball. In short, she has turned into a little girl. Now we wait for the terrible-two’s to properly kick in. Actually I look forward to it, in a ‘Saving Private Ryan’ kind of way: in the landing craft, about to hit the beach…how hard could this be…?