The Trials of Two

It's always odd to me, how much we manage to forget in the relatively short span that we have between subsequent children. Each newborn, arriving with their own sense of mystery in way of all the small (but enchanting) phases of babyhood we are often so quick to loose touch with. Asking ourselves about things we've already been through and should already be keen on. When DO they eat solids again? Is this normal? Should I be potty training by now? Why isn't he talking?

There are only 16 months between Leon and Rex so the bulk of their early years kind of rolled in to one. But in the nearly four years that stand between Rex and Hayes, I've found myself, on occasion, feeling almost like it was my first go round. Namely, in regards to the trials of two. And just how manic and unreasonable these little toddlers beings can be. *Not Arlo though, because he owned that whole saint complex that allows our first borns to trick us into a lifetime of high / false expectations in which we are forever deciding another child is a great idea. But definitely the other three. Which is not to say they aren't completely adorable in the midst of the madness. They are. They have to be.

Once Hayes turned two it was like a light switch flipped on an inner sleeping beast. Replacing the timid babe I was accustomed to with a temperamental little brute who lives in a constant state of flux defined by endless reason for complaint and irrational demand. Also, non stop requests for water. Which he doesn't always even want, but more enjoys the power of requesting. A fact eased of course by that cute halo of curls and flashing blue eyes that certainly help mask the new grit he now carries with confidence. Combined with a tendency to throw food he disproves of, bite brothers out of protest, break random household items for fun, and crumple to the floor in department stores without warning in response to me refusing to buy him the giant fire engine (which he already HAS) on isle 10. Big watery tears dribbling down his cheeks, flailing limbs. The whole shebang.

These days, the tantrums aren't awful, but regular. And when he isn't being completely irresistible (because with the amount of kisses and affection he smothers me with on the daily, there really isn't a better description) our time consists of trying to figure out just how the hell to keep a seemingly belligerent two year old, happy. And most times, one out of the five of us proves more successful at doing it. Rex, being his obvious favorite. A dynamic that's intriguing from a mother's stand point considering how different personalities in a family can be the source of effortless connections or strained brotherly kinship. In this house, we have an equal share of both. And it's no secret how much he adores Rex, whom he calls "Rockie" (which is also obscenely cute.)

But back to being two. And irrational, unpredictable, insatiable and reckless. Pulling your mom by the arm to open a fridge stocked with everything you suddenly refuse to have anything to do with. Dumping expensive shampoo bottles in the bathtub just because. Clearing a table lined with magazines (or toys) when the urge strikes you (which is often) Biting yourself out of frustration and then biting others when that frustration and self mutilation goes unnoticed. Basically two is nuts. And even though I've been through it three times before, I still find myself with a spinning head and frazzled nerves almost daily. On my worse days, even lowering myself two the constricted psyche of a toddler - proclaiming, usually in defeat, that there will not be anymore fruit snacks simply because "I SAID SO!"

With that said, I probably won't be reading up on parenting books or even asking for help or suggestions because if there's one thing I have retained - it's that all these phases are fast and fleeting. And they always move past and out of them quicker than can ever really believe. Part of the reason our sanity is saved I suppose. With light at the end of the tunnel forever flickering in the distance. Plus I still cling to the same philosophy that's always lead me: Instinct and Intuition. Guiding me through bouts of self doubt whenever they rear their head.

So for now, we are soaking up the sweet stuff and getting through the hard stuff. Books piled into our bed at night. Colors learnt in the slow swell of our afternoons. Potty training talk, futile jokes coming attached to a sense of humor evolving. Swings at the park that breed flushed cheeks in winter begging for kissing. Tiny feet in suede boots. Naked weekends in the backyard with the sun on his skin. Watering plants and cleaning up the messes that trail him wherever he goes. Because there are, so, many, messes. With the only bright side being, never more than there are kisses.