Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a phase. It has to be a phase.

The Terrible Twos are in vogue here at our house. Actually, the Terrible Twos-Going-on-Threes might be a better description.

The willful defiance. The hitting. The spitting. (Seriously, where did the spitting come from?) The struggling. Even the occasional refusal of favorite foods (yes, you read that right).

It's a phase. It has to be a phase. It's got to be a phase.

It's a phase, right?

This morning, I was wondering to myself how long a "phase" lasts. What exactly constitutes a "phase"? How long does something have to go on to meet the minimum "phase" time-length requirement? How long can it last before it becomes a permanent condition? Is my child going to find himself so enamored with, say, spitting that he's going to be trundling off to middle school, still spitting at me when I tell him to put his coat back on because it's freezing outside? Is he going to be friendless because I don't know how to transition him from "it's a phase" to more appropriate behavior and he gets a reputation as the kid who spits and hits? Who wants to be friends with the kid who spits and hits?

Surely it's a phase.

The other day, I took away William's beloved Sleeping Beauty book (yes, gasp!) because he was hitting me--and because the time outs didn't seem to be working as a deterrent. Then David took away his Cinderella book last night. I took away the new They Might Be Giants CD this afternoon. And then the wizard hat. I've threatened to take away the Luke Skywalker spaceship next. I've got a whole stack of his favorite stuff piled on top of the armoire in my bedroom, and it doesn't even seem to be making a dent in his attitude. Meanwhile, my room is starting to look like a garage sale.

This has got to just be a phase.

I love my child. I do. He can be the most delightful, amazingly wonderful person on earth. This morning, for a few ours, that William resurfaced. We snuggled up in my bed and read "Snow White" together. He asked me to help him learn the names of all the seven dwarfs, and I did. It was lovely. We went to Cheekwood, and we did an art project, then wandered around the art museum and grounds for awhile. William climbed in and out of his carseat when he was asked. He held my hand in the parking lot. He enjoyed gluing feathers to his art project and helped me wash his hands afterward. He came with me when it was time to go home for lunch. Then we got home. And it was all over. He put his feet on the kitchen table...repeatedly. He pushed away his bowl of mac and cheese and turkey hot dog. He spit some more. He flailed his arms at me a few times. And the glow was gone. That's when I wanted to go online and find out if any sleepaway camps will accept toddlers for a week or so.

Must be a phase.

1 comment:

Brian Kurtz said...

I think it's a phase.

An incredibly frustrating, crazy-making, confidence-destroying, time-and-attention-consuming phase of indeterminant length.

The good news is... you are better equipped than most to deal with it because of your thoughtful parenting, good instincts, and devotion to doing it right. Wait, that is good news for William. I'm afraid there is no good news for you. I won't insult your intelligence by saying what you thought I was going to say, that the good news is that phases end. You know that already and it doesn't help RIGHT NOW, does it?