BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Saturday, May 15, 2010

When you're almost two

This week I am going to indulge myself and spend some time whining. It's been a week where a definite whine is due. See, the problem is that I thought my sweet, social, agreeable toddler was going to stay that way forever. Like all of my parenting lessons, I had heard of the "terrible twos," but I naively put it aside as something that would never happen to us. (I treated all that advice around "enjoying" my sleep while I was pregnant in much the same way. I mean who could enjoy sleep when your back hurts so bad, and your hormones are making you raging hot? What I really needed to understand was that I was going be woken up at the crack of dawn EVERY morning for what seems to be the rest of my life, and thats on top of all the midnight adventures: water, potty, socks on, socks off, tuck in...)

Anyways, last Saturday we woke up to find that Nikolai had been replaced with a changeling. In public or at our playgroups, he is clinging to my lap refusing to say hello even to friends we see nearly everyday. At home, he's a wild beast, constantly checking exactly how serious we are about all the rules. And just try getting him to do anything; even as simple as putting his shoes on to go outside requires a full stratagem. Our bedtime routine, so firmly established at 11 months, now involves waterworks every step of the way. (I was amazed to learn that tears actually can shoot out vertically, and I thought only Muppet's could do that!) At first Brad and I were unsympathetic and generally disgruntled. After wasting most of last weekend fighting with Nikolai, we have re-centered our selves and have become sympathetic. I imagine it is very hard to wake up one morning and suddenly realize that you have free will. And even harder still when the people you love and trust the most are ticked off because you finally figured out the big secret that they knew all along, that you aren't required to listen to them.

The week was very trying, to say the least. But I think we have made clear headway on re-establishing certain rules (no drawing on the walls, no pooping on the floor) and expectations (we will put your shoes on, but you can zip your coat up). Friday night I went for a bike ride with my friend Aisling, and as we sailed down the empty roads, past farms, abandoned churches and into the sunset, I couldn't help but yell out "free at last, free at last, thank god almighty I'm free at last."

FYI we leave for Turkey in less than a month, to make the trip before our little sultan is truly two. I wonder how his sense of self will fare when we pack him into an overnight sleeper train to Cappadocia?

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