My 20-month-old son Declan has been an angel and a blessing throughout his young life, but now, as the terrible twos approach, he's beginning to develop the following devilish—or at least extremely frustrating and confusing—traits.
1. "No" has become my son's favorite word
In a previous column, I wrote about the nightmarish implications of my son discovering that game-changer known as "No." Was I right in my assessment? Yes yes I was. Since he discovered the wonder and power of "No" he's never stopped using it as a tool against my wife and myself. It's almost like the Biblical fall from grace. We inhabited a parent/child Eden before this snake of a word arrived and gave my son the tricky knowledge that defying us was now not only a viable option, but also a pretty good default answer to everything.
My son is at the stage of development now where he's capable of repeating everything we say. This is overwhelmingly adorable and it's wonderful to hear his vocabulary expand every day, ,but the downside is he also repeats everything we don't even want him to hear, let alone spread to the outside world. I'm speaking specifically of profanity. I've gotten better at swearing less as I've gotten older, but it's a struggle. I need to censor myself constantly since I don't want my son to be a potty mouth.
Bedtime has become a war of wills as each side tries to outlast the other.
3. Our boy has learned how to fake sleep and fake snore
Bedtime is a perpetual source of frustration in my house. Our son sees sleep as the enemy and fights it at every turn. Bedtime has become a war of wills as each side tries to outlast the other. Our son has recently discovered that he can fake sleep by shutting his eyes and pretending to snore. On occasion we're lulled into a false sense of security and accomplishment, at which point he opens his eyes, smiles that big, irresistible smile of his and we're suddenly back to square one, only now we feel even stupider because we've been outwitted by someone who still wears a diaper.
4. I sometimes suspect that my son is communicating with beings from the spirit world
Sometimes during the long stretches where our boy is in bed with the lights out, a lullaby on and yet still not asleep, he'll get an animated look in his eyes and begin talking intently to someone or something that is not there. His eyes aren't focused on me or my wife. He seems to be communicating with someone or something that's invisible. So I sometimes suspect that my son has some weird tunnel into the spirit world and when he should be sleeping, he is instead communicating with ghosts, or dead people, or psychiatrists played by Bruce Willis who have been dead the whole time!