My son is fast approaching that dreaded age of two. The “terrible twos” -– known to strike fear into the hearts of all parents –- is that developmental period when the child you once knew can suddenly seem like an alien creature.
I’ve already detected some not-so-subtle changes in my son’s personality.
Some of the changes are charming. There’s a silliness that wasn’t there before. You see it in his eyes when he makes a goofy facial expression or mimics his Dah-dee.
Other changes are heartwarming. There’s a connection that wasn’t there before. You can feel it when he greets you with a bear hug, clinging to you as if you were the only person in the world.
But then there are those changes that tell you that you’ll be making good friends over the next year with the likes of cabernet, merlot and pinot. This is when you discover that your worst nightmare has come true: your child has been Dilbertized. He’s become your boss.
What I mean by this is that, in many ways, a toddler’s mind works like that of an office manager. He has become management material. Consider:
· Logic is futile. Trying to reason with a two-year-old, much like an office manager, will get you nowhere. You will expend a great deal of energy and it will all be for naught. You will get nothing in return but a blank gaze.
· The answer to every question or suggestion is “No”. If there are two choices given, the answer is still “No”. Even if the suggestion is intended to improve the situation, the answer remains “No.”
· Your language is not their language. Toddler-speak, much like management-speak, amounts to gobbledygook. Attempts at deciphering it will only cause headache. In management-speak, “I don’t disagree” can sometimes be translated to mean, “I disagree.” Similarly, in toddler-speak, “No” can oftentimes be translated to mean, “Yes”. The problem is that you will never know when these alternative translations apply.
I know going into this period of my son’s life that I have a lot of work ahead of me. It will at times be challenging, frustrating, even maddening. And much like in the workplace, I won’t be getting a raise for all the extra effort. But I’m pretty sure that the long-term benefits package is a good one and one day all that hard work will pay off.
For now, though, in parent-speak, “Pass the bottle” no longer refers to my son’s milk but to Dah-dee’s new friends: cabernet, merlot and pinot.
A toast to the “terrible twos”: May they go by quickly.