I wrote the post I’ve resurrected below one year ago.
It’s a charming little trifle about my son’s increasingly bad behavior. Little did I know that what I thought, last May, was the onset of the terrible twos – though I even admit in the post that I might be a tad premature in that assessment – was nothing but a tiny preview of the hell to come, and of the abuse Mom and Buried and I were yet to face.
Now, a year later and a good three months into the real terrible deal, this post would probably make me laugh if I weren’t usually already crying.
I thought things were bad when I wrote this week’s Zombie Post, and today things are infinitely worse. And there’s no end in sight. Parenting FTW!
Original Post – Parent Abuse: Parenting’s Dirty Little Secret
Kids are strange.
Even my own son, whom everyone thinks is my spitting image and who you’d assume shares some of my personality traits and interests, is alien to me in many ways.
Every day he does things that make no sense to me. Which should be good preparation for his teen years, when he’ll be into stuff I have no understanding of and he’ll hate stuff I love just because I love it. But his thought process is not yet that sophisticated and, therefore, might even be more honest.
Some of the stuff he hates he hates because he’s young and doesn’t know any better. Some of it is because he’s two and two-year-olds like to be jerks. And some of the stuff he likes he likes because he’s young and doesn’t know any better, some of it is because he has a little bit of Mom and Buried in him too, and some of it is because he’s as unique as a snowflake.
A snowflake I thought I knew.
In an effort to really sell the “terrible” in “terrible twos”, my son has become a very selfish, defiant and lazy guy. Lately, trying to get my son to do anything usually results in him screaming for five minutes.
We’re dealing with this stage as best we can, all the while reminding ourselves that it is just a stage (and if it’s not, there’s always military school) and all the while self-medicating ourselves into being excited that he’s learning how to express himself and grow more independent and have opinions, if you can call “no!” and “mine!” opinions.
He knows what he wants and he knows what he doesn’t want, and never the twain shall meet.
Since time-outs are so ineffective and cages and tranquilizers are frowned upon, we’ve had to resort to other methods to attempt to control the beast.
I remember when my son learned to say “No.” The moment haunts my dreams.
Much like the discovery of lying, when a child learns to say “no,” it’s another step on the road to having a teenager. Another step on the road from merely “keeping your offspring alive” to actually “raising a human being.” Another step on the road from having low blood pressure and a healthy head of hair to looking, and heart-attacking, like Roger Sterling.
As a new parent with grand ideas of how you’ll raise the perfect child and do everything right, you initially try to limit how often you say “no” in the hopes that your kid won’t pick up on its power and start wielding it himself. But he does. He certainly has in my house.
And now it’s no longer about avoiding no; it’s about reclaiming it. Because these days, the word is all his.
As you may or may not know, I tweet a lot. Most of my tweets are at my son’s expense, some are at my expense, and a handful are at my wife’s expense, much to her chagrin. Some are true, some are pure fiction, and some – perhaps most – are true-ish.
Like this one, which is among my most retweeted:
“The fact that I just angrily yelled ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ at my two-year-old is a pretty clear indication that he definitely is.”
I don’t believe I’ve ever yelled that at my son; at least not out loud. But it’s 100% true, just the same.
Back when Inside the Actor’s Studio was a thing (it may still be a thing, but Kate Hudson has been on it so…), I used to enjoy the stupid quiz at the end, from James Lipton’s beloved Bernard Pivot.
Two of the questions involve sounds:
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
The actors often respond with similar child-based variations on these answers, usually something to the effect of “children laughing” or “a child crying.”