Will started eating solids at just a few months old. He’s off the charts for height. He began walking at just 9 months old and talking wasn’t far behind. In fact, Will has been ahead of the curve when it comes to just about everything.
So why I am surprised by the fact that he has apparently hit his Terrible Two’s at 18 months old?
I have to be honest with you guys, I can’t stand him right now. My son is awful and at various points over the last few weeks, I have openly hated him. Call Child & Family Services if you must, but it’s the truth.
My angelic child has gone from sleeping completely through the night to waking up 2-4 times a night. The entire reason he started sleeping through the night in the first place was because we let him cry it out. It was tough, but it worked. So naturally we tried letting him cry it out again when this rough patch began, but to no avail.
He’s not just crying when he wakes up, he’s SCREAMING! He’s doing the out of breath, wailing, body racked with sobs kind of screaming for more than an hour. MJ can sleep through that, but I can’t. So I’m left with two options: 1) Let him cry it out and listen to him cry it out without sleeping, and 2) Go get him and bring him into bed with us until he calms down. Because I need sleep, I’ve been opting for the latter. Except when I put him back in his crib he wakes up again an hour later and the whole process starts all over.
But it’s more than the sleep issue. Will is an evil little child right now. His entire existence at this point is to test his parents and see what he can get away with. He knows right from wrong. He knows what he is and isn’t allowed to touch. But he starts doing exactly what he shouldn’t be doing in order to test us and see what we’ll let him get away with. It’s maddening and exhausting.
Not to mention the sheer emotion at this age is out of control. Everything is life or death to Will right now, and he reacts like his life is ending when we tell him no. For instance, he constantly wants his little stuffed monkey. However, we don’t want him to rely too much on it so we’ve cut back his monkey time to naps and bedtime. But during the day when he makes the monkey noise to let us know he wants his toy, we tell him no, that monkey is sleeping. Well as soon as he hears “no” he goes ballistic. He literally splays himself on the floor and starts sobbing uncontrollably. He screams so hard his eyes look like they’re going to bulge out of his head. It’s as if he will not survive another second if he doesn’t get what he wants.
And this is how it is for every single solitary thing in his life right now. It’s beyond tiresome.
I know most moms get postpartum depression in the immediate days and weeks following birth. And I grant you, that’s a tough time. But I wasn’t affected by it. I think it’s because in my mind, it was a baby who had no knowledge of right and wrong or how things worked. Yeah it was tough and I was sleep deprived, but newborns are so helpless. But now? Now that kid knows some of the difference between right and wrong. He’s no longer a helpless little baby. So when I tell him no and he proceeds to slap me in the face and then giggle, it makes me crazy.
One of my favorite authors, Bill Simmons, has two young children. In one of his most recent columns, he wrote:
“Being a parent of young kids sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. About six months ago, I wanted to start a Twitter account of quotes my wife screamed in the heat of those my-kids-are-driving-me-crazy-moments such as these: “If you don’t stop crying, I am going to stick you in the microwave!!!!” and “Fine, climb up the stairs again; I hope you fall down, I really do!” She wouldn’t let me because she thought child services would arrest us. The truth is, every parent snaps from time to time. We can’t help it. Our kids’ job is to suck all forms of life from us, frighten us, embarrass us in public and prevent us from sleeping until they turn 4. We pretend it’s not so bad when, really, it’s mostly horrible and even somewhat indefensible. But — and this is a big but — they parcel out just enough, “Wow, I’m so glad I had kids” moments to make it all worth it.
Bingo. Couldn’t have said it any better.
Having young kids does suck. I don’t feel like a bad parent for saying that, because it’s true. You’ve just given up all your independence and free time. You get no sleep. You rearrange your life in ways you don’t even like. You get less sex. You don’t go on vacations or have romantic weekend getaways. And you don’t have a moment off or to yourself for years.
In short, raising young kids is like playing golf. First of all, it’s an expensive undertaking. Second, unless you’re a scratch golfer, that is one frustrating sport. If you’re an average joe on the golf course, you spend most of your day cursing your terrible shots. But then, you hit one that is beautiful, straight and ends up on the green. And that shot — that one perfect moment — is enough to keep you coming back to the course in the future.
So even though I spent some of this weekend in a total meltdown cursing my son and screaming “I hate you” into my pillow while trying to get some sleep, the little guy will ultimately shoot me a smile, give me a kiss or do something so incredibly cute I can’t help but forget the past two weeks of sleepless nights and temper tantrums.
But in the meantime, don’t let anyone tell you you’re an awful parent for having moments of pure hatred toward your kids. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human.