At first I thought it was sort of cute, mainly because he's yet to actually pretend to be anything, except a annoyingly loud dog and a really bratty, defiant toddler. Well, that's what I tell myself when I'm chasing him to change his poop or when he's trying to take a chunk out of Quinlan's arm - "He's just pretending to be naughty. What a smart and creative boy."
But surprise! Since I thought it was sooooo cute, he does it all the time - "Wah, I'm a baby, mommy. Carry me. Hold me. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah."
Part of me can't blame him since he really is still sort of a baby, and has had to share the latter part of toddlerdom with a baby sister. But most of me knows it's not the greatest way for him to get attention.
So I remind him that babies can't play with trucks or eat ice cream. And I try to reinforce his "big boy" behavior in an appropriate way.
Lord knows we don't need another dude getting what he wants by acting like a big old baby, right?
Just when I sort of kind of knew what I was doing, I had Drew. Maybe it's because he was my second child. Or maybe it's because he was my second child.
I guess I'll never really know.
I've never brushed it off as being his gender, his birth order, or the fact that I drank a few cups of coffee and a vodka tonic when I was pregnant with him.
It was just like meeting someone new - you're taught how to say hello, shake hands, and offer them a tasty beverage, but what do you do when they speak Portuguese, perfer to slap you on the back side of the head, and drink with the cup completely upside down so everything ends up on your carpet?
It doesn't make for very smooth introductions.
I'm learning how to parent Drew just like I learned how to parent Quinlan. It's trial and error, celebrations and failures. It's opening a new book that you've never read or watching a new movie that you've never seen, and no matter how hard you try to get your friend to tell you what the hell happens, they can't.
Because they've never read or seen this one before.
I often get frustrated. It's hard not speaking the language sometimes. It's difficult to find a happy medium between head whacking and hand shaking.
We try to meet him somewhere in the middle. Most of the time, it's closer to my end of things, but I've discovered it's not so bad hopping over to his side of the fence every now and then.
He's making us read his book. And he's forcing us to watch the entire movie, even the uncomfortable parts, with the sound completely on. No heads buried under pillows.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Drew. You've certainly redefined the word "tantrum," taught me the difference between an excavator and a front loader, and offered us a new appreciation for toilet locks.
"Do you think he's delayed or something?" my husband asked me after having to put Drew in time out for the third time in 30 minutes yesterday.
"Um, I think he's just a two-year-old boy on crack," I replied. "I'm not sure that warrants early intervention."
Nonetheless, Drew is quite a challenging child, particularly compared to Quinlan, and to say he was a shock to our parenting systems is an understatement.
Try taser gun to the testicles.
If we were able to take a step back from his constant motion, chattering mouth, and complete bull in china shop approach to life, we'd see a fairly typical and not that difficult two year old kid. But it just so happens that he has to follow our consummate rule following, easy to occupy and generally compliant oldest which makes him look like a little blonde rabid monkey.
And thanks to her, we've been jaded.
All the bad parenting habits we formed with Quinlan, like asking "Okay?" at the end of every directive or providing absolutely no warnings or transitions between activities are coming back to bite us in the ass.
We find ourselves scrambling on an almost daily basis, trying desperately to not raise our voices and provide him with consistency and structure.
I'm not completely convinced that he's that much more difficult than the average 2-year-old (I've seen many a tot in my days as a teacher and therapist), but rather that we're already accustomed to dealing with angel child and therefore we look like we've never had a kid.
He breaks down instantly when not given his way or "the big one" - which is any whole piece of anything - God forbid you give him half a carrot.
He requires constant redirection and supervision, as to avoid peas up the nose, chocolate milk in his sister's eye, and what we're calling "The Christmas Miracle" - when he pulled down the entire Christmas tree while my husband was on the shitter and did not hurt himself or the baby who was sitting right next to it.
And we end up holding him down in time out naughty "zone" since we can't exactly figure out how to keep him in one actually spot.
Don't even get me started with the whole biting thing. Good god almighty.
So, the huz and I are working together to come up with a game plan. We remind each other to be patient and loving with him, even when we want to pick him up by his ankles and shake him.
And if that doesn't work, we plop ourselves in front of the television and watch Super Nanny. Because when we're feeling like complete and total failures, it's nice to know there are people out there that are waaaaaaaaaay way worse.