“Oh dear,” says a friend as she looks down at my son, who is lying prostrate on the floor, chewing the carpet and screaming hysterically, “it’s the Terrible Twos.”
Damn right it’s the Terrible Twos. We are the grand total of 21 days into the Terrible Twos. That’s 504 hours, approximately 273 of which he has been awake and thus, if I were to attempt a bit more mental arithmetic (no, that is not the sound of calculator buttons being pressed, honest) I would calculate that given an average of 32% of his day is spent throwing a strop, that’s over 87 hours worth of hell. I have just tried to work out how many more hours we have left to endure before the Terrible Twos are over, but I inexplicably found myself lying prostrate on the floor, chewing the carpet and screaming hysterically.
Living with my son is like living with a two-foot mutant hybrid of Kim Jong II, Vlad the Impaler and Naomi Campbell. Now there’s a petri dish of genetic material that should be embalmed in twenty foot of concrete and tossed into the ocean.
His tantrums are on a hair trigger. Slice that apple too thickly, pack away that puzzle before he has finished ignoring it for another three hours, or ask him to do all manner of outrageous things like clean his teeth, and off he goes. Boom. I have to say though, he styles his tantrums with a certain flair. He flings his arms skywards as his face screws up in unadulterated fury, a quite fetching puce colour rising to the surface, momentarily resembling a diver poised on the edge of the high board (albeit with significantly more clothes and decibels). At this point, he starts his descent. Slowly, his knees buckle. He lists slightly to one side, arms still aloft. It is the best impression I have ever seen of a seventies tower block being demolished with strategically-placed explosives, ever. Finally, he crumples to the floor and we enter the swimming-on-the-spot phase of the display, before the final act involving the wail of the banshee, a noise so loud my ear drums have been known to tremble in fear and I involuntarily salivate.
Apparently, when babies are born they can only see in black and white. They soon develop the ability to view the world in all its glorious Technicolor, but by the age of two, it seems that for the second time, they can only see the world in black or white. B is resolute. Adamant about everything. In the world of the two year old, there is no room for uncertainty, ergo, he is certain about absolutely sodding everything.
We are in the car, going to nursery. “That way,” he says emphatically, pointing out of his window. “No darling,” I reply, already tightening my grip on the steering wheel, bracing myself. “Nursery is this way, straight ahead.”
“THAT WAY!” he yells, and as we drive past the narrow gap between two buildings that he is convinced is the right way to go, he starts to cry. “THAAAAT WAAAAAY…” he ululates. He cries all the way to nursery, then cries afresh when I have the audacity to park in a car parking space rather than in the small pram store that he would prefer.
My other recent parental indiscretions that have led to tantrums have included:
- Not agreeing to let him eat chocolate coins for breakfast
- Not letting him drive the car to nursery
- Asking him to put a coat on
- Telling him off for throwing a plastic bowl at me (see, I told you he was one third Naomi Campbell)
- Breaking his flapjack into pieces.
Well, when you see it written down in a list like that, it’s no wonder he spends most of his time wearing grumpy pants: I am obviously an utterly unreasonable bitch.
I find the term Terrible Twos a little on the benign side, quite frankly. It’s a bit like describing a severed leg as ‘moderate chafing’. I looked up synonyms of the word terrible: the first was dreadful. Well, I suppose that’ll do. Then appalling, horrific. Ahh, that’s more like it. A bit further on, we get abominable, shocking, hideous. Oh, now we’re getting somewhere. And finally: unspeakable, monstrous, vile. That’s it. They’ve bloody nailed it. So, on reflection, I guess Terrible Twos is the perfect way to describe it. But I’ve been here before. The Terrible Twos can be grim, for sure, but there is something so much more heinous, atrocious and repellent over the horizon. Ladies and gentlemen, tighten your sphincters. Batten down your pelvic hatches. Advance in fear with only a torch and a foreboding sense of doom for company. Because lurking round the corner, licking its lips with an evil glint in its eye is… The Fucked Up Fours.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.