I believe that whoever coined the phrase the “terrible twos” did so simply to give parents a false sense of relief that when month thirty-six arrived, they would be in the clear. I’ve learned that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Two doesn’t have anything on my three-year old. We have been entering uncharted territory, experiencing tantrums, and outrageous conduct that is only acceptable in OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN.
Tonight Kate decided that she did not want to cooperate and eat dinner with the family like a rationale human being. In our typical effort to show her that she doesn’t rule this house, we didn’t concede. Tears were shed and arguments were made, but dammit we were all going to eat together as a family and she was going to learn that this was a non-negotiable rule. Sounds like a peaceful, lovely, family dinner, doesn't it?
What do you do if you are a determined three-year old, not placated by your parents unwavering decision? You do this and then you LAUGH IN THEIR FACE.
Seconds after Kate’s dinner touched down on the dining room floor, she was placed in timeout in her room. Admittedly, taking her away from dinner was her desired end result, so probably not the most effective punishment. But in the moment, it was all we had to work with. After a few minutes of crying, we noticed it was eerily quiet in Kate’s room. We continued to eat our dinner, wondering what discord was happening upstairs. Upon venturing up to check on the banished child, imagine our surprise when she was not visible in her bedroom. Upon closer inspection, she was found, having a grand time, as she hid under her bed.
After a stern conversation, Kate returned downstairs with the directive to pick up all of the food she had so artistically strewn on the floor. She picked up the first chuck of broccoli and raised her hand towards her mouth. “Stop it Kate, we don’t eat food that has been sitting on the floor for 20 minutes. That is disgusting!” I said. Seizing the opportunity, Kate informed me that she wasn’t eating it, she was putting it into the garbage. Perfect, I thought. Within a nanosecond, Kate brought the second morsel of broccoli directly into her mouth. “KATE! Don’t EAT IT, “ I said once again, perhaps a decibel louder than appropriate. “Mom, I am NOT EATING IT,” Kate replied with equal determination.
Then, I watched as she stuffed her mouth with broccoli, ran over to the garbage, opened it, and spit the food in. Spec-freaking-tacular. Not one to be outwit by a mere child, I told Kate that not only could she not EAT the food from the floor, but she couldn’t put it IN her mouth. That lasted about 15 seconds, she did it again, and returned to timeout upstairs.
Awhile later, Kate once again returned to civilization to complete cleaning up the battlefield. Gingerly, she picked up one piece of salmon and placed it in the garbage. On the second move, she brought the piece of food up to her face. “Kate!” I said sharply.
“Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I am touching my chin, not my mouth!” she said. With every piece of food she picked up, she deliberately brought it towards her face, with a twinkle in her eye, touched it to her chin, and then threw it in the garbage.
A Tour of My Parents’ House
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