I owe many of you out there an apology. Some of you I've never met or heard of. Some of you will never know I owed you an apology to begin with and will understandably then never come to collect one. But I'll apologize just the same.
Well, before I get into the apology part, let me get a confession out of the way. Shortly after Elliott had motored his way through the age of two and settled somewhere comfortably in the threes, I began to gloat. He had just completed 365 days at the age of two and not once did I have to use the word "terrible". Not that I remember. Thanks to the magnificent parenting job of this awesome father I was able to navigate a child, on my first attempt mind you, across those rocky seas known as the "terrible twos". "What was so terrible about that?" I remember asking Katie, just seconds before recommending that she nominate me for father of the year in a contest the local newspaper was running.
It's understandable then that when November 2nd, 2010 arrived, the eve of Ian reaching the age of two, I was a very confident daddy. Been-there-done-that I remember thinking. I gave Ian a little high five and toasted to our impending departure on the sea of smooth sailing. I should have sensed something right then and there. He wasn't smiling about his first father-son fishing trip. No, he knew there was a hole in the ship. He was proud to be the only one to know it, and he was looking forward to the moment the ship started taking on water.
You see, we are now a little over a quarter of the way through Ian's days at the age of two. And it's been a rough first quarter. Not at all unlike the 14 to ZERO blasting the Steelers took in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. I hated to even entertain the possibility, but I had to know. So I did what all people do when they need to know. I went to Wikipedia. I looked up terrible twos and this is what I found: A child development stage which normally occurs around the age of two (but can start earlier) and consists of toddlers often saying no and throwing temper tantrums.
Although there are brief periods of the day when Ian isn't saying no or throwing tantrums, they do indeed seem very brief. It was like the disease struck him overnight. In an instant he no longer wanted to get dressed for school without the use of mechanical restraints. The bath time that he used to love suddenly became more like bathing a dog that hates water. Fur and water flying everywhere while the master holds on for dear life to make sure the dog doesn't pull off a water-dripping-everywhere escape through the house.
Lately, I am reminded of all the parents I wrote off as awful parents for being unable to successfully navigate such an simple phase. A two year old for crying out loud. I scoffed at the notion of such a large group of educated and capable people clinging to a diagnosis as uneducated as the "terrible twos".
So to all of you I wrote off. To all of you I scoffed at. I apologize. I am one of you now. In fact, I am now an advocate that invoking the terrible twos defense is good for an automatic acquittal of any poor parenting decisions made over the course of the 365 days a child calls the age of two his home.
It would be unfair, unfair to Ian that is, to leave you thinking that all of two is terrible. I'm sure I've overblown the account of his "phase" to soften the blow of realizing that father of the year awards don't come easy. That being a parent isn't easy. That each day, and year, and new phase brings a different set of challenges, as does each kid.
But no matter how "terrible" it gets - I can't imagine loving little Ian or Elliott more.
UHM, IAN, I SAID GIVE ME A SHOT I CAN USE IN THE TERRIBLE TWOS UPDATE.
OF COURSE, THE NIGHT I WANT A SHOT FOR THE TERRIBLE TWOS UPDATE YOU DO YOUR SYNCRONIZED SWIMMING ROUTINE
WE MAKE DADDYING EASY DON'T WE DAD
And there are times when they are just downright entertaining: