A couple of weeks ago I was on the verge of writing a gushingly boasty blog post of the kind that only a doting parent can write about how my son was so perfect and so easy to live with.
Yeah, well, I didn't get round to it, which is good, as I would probably be having to hastily revise my opinions judging from the new things he's learned in the last week or so!
It's not that his good things have gone away. No. In many respects he's an unbelievably easy child. After a torrid first year, we now have the sleep thing down to a fine art (including a pretty lengthy 'little sleep' in the afternoon). He's not so bad at the meal table, and I have a system for avoiding conflict over food that has worked for us so far. He's learning lovely manners, has a gorgeous giggle, a fabulous way with words, a cute sense of humour, an astounding memory and many, many other great qualities.
So, all that is excellent. But what has happened recently is that he seems to have suddenly remembered that he's two, and that there should be an element of 'terrible' to it all. What an oversight! He's only got a couple of months left of being two - now he's going to have to cram all the terribleness in before it's too late!
Now, after a relatively tantrum-free time since NB left us, I am suddenly back to being subjected to a couple of major tants each day. Over nothing and everything. It's quite a shock to the system after nearly three months of relative quiet, and I'm finding it hard to rediscover my calm and measured responses in the face of the screaming, shouting, flailing and kicking!
Most of the flashpoints are over who's controlling the situation at any given time. In addition to his favourite 'running away' tactic, OB has now learned to take his time, change his mind repeatedly, pretend I'm not speaking . . . in short, he's suddenly discovered lots of ways to wrestle control of the situation away from me and over to himself.
A typical example is this:
OB: Please may I have a drink?
Me: Yes. Do you want orange or red juice?
OB: Orange . . . . red . . . . . orange . . . . red . . .
Me: Which do you want? Orange or red?
OB: Errrr . . . orange.
OB: Orange please.
Me: Ok. You asked for orange. (Pours orange juice)
OB: My want red!
Me: It's too late now. You asked for orange, so I've made orange. You can have red next time.
OB: MY WANT RED! MY WANT RED!!!!
Cue massive tanty, usually accompanied by throwing the drink all over the nearest surface!
I never really had this with NB because he couldn't talk well enough to achieve this sort of artful sabotage. His tantrums were always much more direct and immediate, less contrived somehow. OB is stubborn, but so is his mummy - it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds!