You know how, before you have kids, everyone warns you about the Terrible Twos? If I may ask: why do they do that?
Do they mean to break your spirit? Do they know that you will fight through the Twos praying for that third birthday, and then when Three hits you realize it’s everything about Two except concentrated somehow, sneakier and louder and destructive and more stubborn? And then do they like, secretly laugh at your misery? Actually, I’ve decided the only person who uses the term “Terrible Twos” is a person who doesn’t have kids yet. Because THREEEEE OMG THREE.
And Linus is definitely Three.
First, let’s talk about the ruin left in his wake. He can take down a well-organized playroom in 10 minutes flat. Boxes of puzzles from the top closet shelf, poured out together in a mound on the floor. All the cars/trucks/vehicles we own flung to the darkest corners, toy baskets emptied on the floor, mega-blocks everywhere, and there’s Linus cheerfully driving a Cozy Coupe over the entire mess, tooting his plastic horn and waving.
Or maybe he’s in the living room, dismantling the couches and piling them with blankets and pouring Pete’s Legos over the whole thing for good measure. Or maybe he’s racing his Bruder trucks in the kitchen, banging them into chair legs and ankles and denting everything in sight. Get the picture? Yeah, Three. Thanks a lot.
Oh, and then, there are the NOs. Whatever you want, the answer is NO. Can you put on your boots? Do you want a snack? Should we go to the park? Would you like to try to sit on the potty before we leave? NO NO NO NO. I call him my Chicken Nugget, call him Baby. NO MAMA NO he will scream NOT A CHICKEN NUGGET. I AM NOT YOUR BABY MY NAME IS NINUS.
And with the NOs!, also come the whiplash-inducing changes of mind. He asks for milk and as you go to pour it’s all nope, he wants ice-cold water (with THREE pieces of ice! The Lego-man-shaped ice only!), then freaks out as you put the milk back in the fridge. He doesn’t want to hold my hand so I pull it away and he screams that he wants to hold a finger and NO NOT THAT FINGER THE OTHER FINGER and then I’m holding my hand too high and GAWD he’s off in a huff. He wants you to play cars but NOT LIKE THAT no NOT THAT WAY EITHER AAHHHHHHHH.
He insists on getting himself out of the car when we go anywhere, which becomes a comedy of errors and most times the Benny Hill music plays in my head while he gets arms stuck in straps, shoe stuck in the door hinge, twisting his body in odd contortions, grunting… He’s gonna tell us when he’s ready to be potty-trained, too, and he certainly makes it known to us (like dummies, we still push it like we’re going to change his mind). And don’t even try to rationalize something with him, or gently correct a behavior. “I AM A GOOD GUY!” he insists to us a million times a day, because really: he’s just terribly misunderstood, you guys.
Because in the end, even with the messes and chaos and screaming, there is our Linus.
He’s obsessed with accidents. He watches firetruck accidents on YouTube, and his favorite toys are his ambulances, police cars, and firetrucks. All day every day, he’s pulling on my shirt, coaxing me back to his play rug, always with the same excited little voice, “Quick! Come see this accident!”
He’s a total goofball, loves knock-knock jokes about macaroni, loves to improvise songs and dances about whatever mundane thing we’re doing (this afternoon: song/dance about eating carrots. This morning: song/dance about toothpaste). He loves Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba. He loves to hug the cat and to tackle his brother. His “good friend Peter”, he calls him, when he’s saving the last of his Oreo snack in the car, “I’m gonna give this to my good friend Peter”.
He knows we haaaaate changing a poop-filled Pull Up so his latest practical joke is to announce HEY GUYS I HAVE POOP IN MY PANTS and then turns around, to show us his poop-emoji plush stuffed in the back of his pants. He likes to get ready with me in the bathroom, and is fascinated with my makeup drawer. Several months ago he pulled out my mascara, asked what it was. Not wanting to show him something he’d likely jam into his cornea, I pulled out the wand and put a little dot on my hand, in that spot where you test makeup, see Chicken Nugget this is what it is, just black stuff. Now every morning he goes into my makeup drawer, carefully unscrews the wand, and puts a neat little dot on his hand in the same place. Yep, okay, mama, now I’m ready to go.
And he loves a good snuggle. He comes charging at me like a 40-pound sack of potatoes, BOOF. Bowls me over. But then he’s also an expert snuggler: perfectly tucked into me, little hands around my neck, face smooshed up against mine.
“I’m your baby?” he asks sometimes, with pleading little eyes. Being three is hard, you know.
“Yes, you’re my baby,” I tell him with a quick squeeze.
“Okay. BUT DON’T CALL ME BABY! I’m Ninus.”
PS: Linus, I am sorry this is almost 6 months late, but you have certainly kept us on our toes and that leaves little time for planning blog posts let’s be honest. So now, on with the show…