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The other day I was that mom.
The one with the uncontrollable two year old. That has the inability to share. Listen. Sit still. Not jump or otherwise act civilized. The toddler with the insatiable appetite for destruction.
I was that mom.
The one who desperately wanted to look around the room, with a confused expression, and say to people: “Woah. Who brought that kid?”
It was Toddler Tales at the library. It was supposed to be story time. With bean bags and scarves to toss in the air, while the wheels on the bus went round and round. With right legs to put in and right legs to put out, so we could shake them all about and do the Hokey Pokey, to find out what it’s all about.
I sat paralyzed. Stunned at this wild behavior never before exhibited by my child. Hoping the gods of toddler behaviors would cut me some slack. At least before someone got a bean bag in the face.
If you would have been there, observing, you would have been sure about three things:
1. This was the first time my child had ever been out of the house.
2. My child gets less attention than the goldfish we constantly forget to feed.
3. My child is fed only the purest sugar directly imported from Brazil.
The toddler brain defies all logic as adults know it. Their brutal honesty and matter-of-factness is downright intimidating, if not a little frightening. As adults we know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Toddlers probably do but they don’t care. I know this because mine:
1. Ran around the room like a wild turkey, busting free from a stint at Foster Farms
2. Embraced a total stranger. Not just hugged. Sat in her lap. Arms thrown around her neck. Head rested on shoulder. Sighed. Like she’s been an orphan her whole life, neglected of the only thing she’ll ever need: hugs.
3. Climbed into some lady’s stroller.
4. Attempted to help herself to some snacks out of the same lady’s diaper bag.
5. Climbed into the chair at the exact moment the storyteller decided to sit down. Goosing this very nice lady, with a boney knee right in the tuckus.
6. Called a 34 year old guy, “Grandpa” then asked him for some gum.
7. Jumped into the middle of the Hokey Pokey circle, stiffly jerking her hips side to side while shouting for everyone to: “Shaka Booty.”
Every attempt I made to stop her and sit her down, resulted in a screech you could hear within a 20 block radius. She intended to have her fun, Veruka Salt-style.
When we left I felt defeated. That I’d never recover. I’d never be able to go back. Ever. Our photos would be taped to the main entrance when we arrived next time (right? I was already considering a next time?).
But just like childbirth, the overwhelming feeling and intensity of it all faded as quickly as it started. By the time we arrived home, less than 10 minutes later, it felt like a lifetime ago.
By the next morning I’d already put it all behind me.
Then she started Tumble Tots gymnastics.
And had to sit in the stretching circle. Instead of running around the room, perfecting a one-toddler routine of Cirque du Soleil.
She turned her loud screech on. She turned her loud screech off. She turned her even louder screech on and threw herself all about.
The terrible twos.
That’s what they’re all about.