Adventures Of Fatherhood

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It’s called the “terrible 2s” for a reason, although I prefer to refer to this time in my son Carson’s life as the “traumatizing 2s”.

It appears even Pam has accepted this fact of late.

You see, despite my best efforts to egg her on from time to time, Pam rarely talks unfavorably about our kids.

It’s not that I am one to bash our boys, but I freely talk about all the experiences — positives and negatives — associated with raising a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old.

My kids make me extremely proud every day, and these are wonderful times for my family. I cherish the time I spend with them and make a point of being a present father and continuing to be an active participant in all aspects of their lives.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s face it, with kids at this age comes copious amount of highs and lows throughout the course of a day. It comes with the territory and I am fine with that and I understand that’s part of the adventure that is parenting. My thing is I need an outlet to vent (perhaps that’s why this column started over three years ago).

Pam is not always a willing participant, however.

For example, I will say to her, “how about that raspberry Beckett blew in my face at the restaurant?” In a motherly tone, she responds with something along the lines of, “I know, I know he was frustrated that he couldn’t run loose and play.”

One night after Carson threw a temper tantrum and tossed his entire dinner plate on the floor, my agitation showed and I explained to him in an aggravated state how that was not going to be tolerated. He never did eat that night. I was trying to send a message.

When I told Pam about it later, she said something along the lines of, “oh, I hope you weren’t too hard on him, he’s just being a typical 2-year-old.”

I immediately discount those types of comments from Pam as motherly words long on love and short of rationalization. Her credibility is shot with me on that front and those types of responses leave me stammering to myself and mumbling irrational nothings to the dogs usually.

However, last weekend she regained some of her credibility back when she had a little vent session of her own, specifically about the crazy 2-year-old of the house.

Carson is now 28 months old and is consequently giving us a heaping dose of behavior confirming on a daily basis we are in the middle of the “traumatizing 2s.”

He has become a miscreant and seems to relish this new role in the family.

It may be my imagination, but I think he finds bliss in knowing he has knocked off his big brother Beckett from the post he long held. At least, that’s what I think when he gets his devilish laugh rolling while standing and jumping on the fireplace.

Part of me admires that about him because for so long he was laidback and easy. He garnered a reputation for being the mellow one. He never let anything get to him. He always had a smile on his face. He just seemed happy to be wherever he was. He was the introvert in a family of extroverts.  

Well, apparently he did not relish those labels, as much of those traits no longer apply. His demeanor has changed now and we seem to be a family full of extroverts now. Time will tell if that holds true or maybe all of these outgoing personalities will lead to a shift in me.

While still sweet at times and mellow occasionally, this temperament change has been a shocking development and change of events for his parents. Clearly, I am struggling with it.

I have been saying for months that I think Carson is more challenging at this age than his older brother Beckett. Of course, at the time, I felt Beckett was a handful, too.

It’s natural to compare kids, particularly when they are so close in ages (16 months in our kids’ case), and I am prone to do it a lot. Pam seems to be hesitant, believing each kid is special and unique, which is true.

Well, last weekend seemed to leave Pam scrambling for some sanity. Nothing specifically was worth noting, it was just the usual antics that all piled up.

After the kids were down for the night on Sunday, at some random point, Pam turned to me and said, “I do think he’s actually much more challenging at 2 than Beckett was, he’s just crazy sometimes.”

I was so proud of her at that moment. She took off the mother hat and joined me in the rational and objective world.

What has happened now that Carson is acting out more is a clear divide has developed at times between the kids and the parents. There are moments when they stand strong and united against us.

Beckett, who clearly knows right from wrong and is less inclined now to purposely tend to the latter, is the instigator, urging on his younger brother to act up.

Beckett is now the one who urges Carson to dump water out of the tub, throw rocks in the driveway, dump his plate on the floor, hit the dogs, climb on the couch, throw books off the shelves and kick off his shoes in public places.

Consequently, there are times when I wonder whether we stand a chance. Though the adult-to-kid ratio in the house is even, it often seems like they have us outnumbered.

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