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Twos, The Terrible

It's been 24 months since The Squirrelly barreled into our lives, though The Twos -- the Terrible ones, specifically -- began months ago. The kid's a flaming ball of id these days, a Lil' Bacchus who enjoys nothing better than good food, a long nap, lively music, and an invigorating poop.

And he's as garrulous as ever, yammering away at every available moment. You'd think the perpetual narration would provide us with some clue as to what was going on in that head of his, but, more often than not, but he still catches us off-guard with non sequiturs. "Do you want a snack?" You'll ask him; "I'm a dog," he'll reply, "Ruff! Ruff!" Honestly, I have no idea how to respond to someone who says something like that (unless it's the guy sitting next to me on the bus, in which case I respond by hastily moving to to another seat).

Occasionally he'll seize upon a word or phrase that's particularly fun to say and just holler it out at random moments. "Edamame!" and "avocado!" are favorites, as are "down the hatch!" and "all right, kiddo!" He also likes to recite the line from The Cat In The Hat that goes "So all we could do was to sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!" But he, like most toddlers, lisps a bit, so it sounds like he's shouting "shit! shit! shit! shit!" like he's frantically trying to flush contraband drugs down the toilet before the cops bust through the bathroom door.

He hasn't adopted any real obscenities yet, something that can be attributed to luck rather than any effort on our part to moderate our language. Unfortunately, he has learned the worse four-letter word of all: "want." Someone told us that a sure-fire way of reducing frustration tantrums in a toddler is to teach them to express their desires, so we foolishly went ahead and taught him the w-word. And it's true: he has fewer frustration tantrums, no doubt. Now we instead get the tantrums of outrage, when we have the impertinence to question one of his edicts. "Want oatmeal," he'll say. "Dude, there's oatmeal in the bowl right in front of you, eat that," I'll reply. "WANT OATMEAL!" he'll shriek and throw himself to the floor, where he kicks and screams for approximately six seconds before deciding that it's not worth the effort, climbing to his feet, and announcing "I'm a dog! Ruff! Ruff!"

So, yes, we're having the standard toddler War Of The Wills, but, fortunately, The Squirrelly is exceptionally easy-going. His tantrums are infrequent, and rarely last more than a handful of seconds. When we took him in for his two-year checkup, the pediatrician asked "does he ever have tantrums that last longer than half an hour?" and we were all, like, "Half and hour?! Fuuuuck no -- if he did we would have just left him in your elevator, sprinted back to the car, and driven to Ontario at 85 miles an hour."

We also learned, at his 24 month exam, that his future career as an NBA center has been nipped in the bud, as he is now in the 50th percentile for height (instead of the 70th, where he was at a year). It's just as well, as he clearly has his sights set on some sort of musical career. We bought him a toy piano for his birthday, and he loves plunking the keys and singing the the "ABC Song." He really seems to enjoy music so we thought we'd encourage it -- it was only after the fact that we realized that we're probably setting ourselves up for 12 years of elementary, junior high, and high school band concerts. Dear lord, what have we wrought!

Oh well. If the next 16 years are anywhere near as fun as the last two it'll all be worth it, even the "Cleaveland Middle School Spring Ensemble." Plus, hearing loss runs in my family, so I might luck out.

Take Me For A Ride In The Car Car   GFEDCBA   Too Cute For Naptime

Posted on March 01, 2006 to The Squirrelly


Love the parental satisfaction survey! Great pictures, too.

Posted by: Pete on March 1, 2006 6:46 PM

Ha! Dooce does make parenthood sound fun but hell, she makes pooping sound fun. Doesn't mean we should all go out and do it.

Posted by: Jack on March 1, 2006 7:05 PM

Encourage his interest in music. Matt Savage, an autistic kid, is one of the best jazz pianists around today and he made several albums with his trio.

Posted by: Mike on March 1, 2006 8:04 PM

I literally snarfed water up my nose when I read about your son saying "Sit! Sit! Sit!" Drat.

Posted by: Rob on March 1, 2006 8:10 PM

That survey form is hilarious. Nice pics too.

Posted by: pfong on March 1, 2006 8:56 PM

I hope my parents didn't get one of those surveys..I'd hate to see my results.

Posted by: queen zorine on March 1, 2006 9:18 PM

I hope my parents didn't get one of those surveys..I'd hate to see my results.

Posted by: queen zorine on March 1, 2006 9:19 PM

she makes pooping sound fun. Doesn't mean we should all go out and do it.

Yeah, that's something that should be done in the privacy of one's own bathroom. Or in the woods. Or in space, where no one can hear you scream.

Posted by: Jerry Kindall on March 1, 2006 10:07 PM

That was beautiful.

Posted by: dayment on March 1, 2006 10:46 PM

.....12years of elementary, junior high and high band concerts. I remember sitting in those harder than hell bleachers. Ahhh, revenge is sweet!

Posted by: Mom on March 2, 2006 12:30 AM

Ahhh, yes, The Prat in the Hat. A charming little story about home invasion. Here's a part that I say in my head (not out loud) to make it a little less dreary. I'm really not a violent person, but anyone who has had to read The Prat in the Hat four or five times in a day will surely understand.

So, as fast as I could,
I went after my gun.
And I said, "With my gun
I can make this book fun.
With two shots to the head,
I can make those Things dead!"

You don't even want to know what happens in my own private version of Clifford. Suffice it to say that having a dog that big could be . . . messy.

Posted by: Platypus on March 2, 2006 4:01 AM

Happy Birthday, young Squirrelly!

Posted by: Eh... not so much on March 2, 2006 5:43 AM

Hey Matt! The S-man looks great at 2, welcome to the cusp of really cool stuff. Three's about my favorite age for kids. They're potty trained, getting independant and you can literally, each and every day, see the pieces click in their heads as they figure out the world. Two's a run up to that.

Anyway, is it just me, or does it seem like the S-man is making more direct eye contact, even looking at the camera more. How's he doing on that front? Squirrely's fans want to know!

Posted by: Kevin on March 2, 2006 5:48 AM

love the survey.

Are The Squirrelly's results based on a combination of your responses and The Queen's, or did you fill out the survey together?

Posted by: Lumpyheadsmom on March 2, 2006 6:35 AM

Mine had a phase where he would yell "APPETIZER!!!" when he was really upset. Sort of like he invented his own curse word. I have no idea how he came up with it.

Posted by: Swamper on March 2, 2006 6:49 AM

[this is good]

Posted by: bubblescrape on March 2, 2006 6:53 AM

He's adorkable, alright. Can't wait to have my own. :)

Posted by: natasha on March 2, 2006 7:15 AM

Happy birthday Squirrelly!

Posted by: Her Ladyship on March 2, 2006 7:25 AM

The "Parental Satisfaction Survey" is hilarious! I'd love a copy for someone dear to me who is pregnant right now.

Posted by: Trix on March 2, 2006 7:52 AM

haha. Good stuff.

When my first son was just starting to talk, I heard him playing with his trains one day and I could have sworn he was saying "Bag of shit". I mean, that is EXACTLY what it sounded like no matter how hard I listened.

Later that night, I was reading him his favorite Thomas the Tank Engine book and when we got the the last page, the lightbulb went on when I read that Thomas was "back in the shed".

Posted by: Sam on March 2, 2006 8:45 AM

The kid's a flaming ball of id these days, a Lil' Bacchus who enjoys nothing better than good food, a long nap, lively music, and an invigorating poop.

And how does that make him different from the rest of us? Hell, that all sounds good to me.

Posted by: Karen on March 2, 2006 8:52 AM

You're so lucky to have a kid that only has short tantrums. I grew up with a little brother who's tantrums would last HOURS. Sometimes he'd wake up in the middle of the night, throw a tantrum about something (usually wanting to get up at 2am) and end up screaming himself to sleep. The best was when he'd wake up the next morning and CONTINUE THE TANTRUM. He stopped having them when he was 6.

I'm considered the good kid :)

Posted by: Hope on March 2, 2006 10:17 AM

The Parental Satisfaction Survey--too good! X-D Maybe I should print it out and give it to my parents. It would be interesting to read their answers.

Posted by: E on March 2, 2006 11:30 AM

So glad to read other parents responding to the "do you plan on having more" question with uncomfortable slightly hysterical laughter and "no", firmly said. We have two (twins, the first time) and I'm just appalled by the number of people who think its not only their business to ask that question (the ladies are ONE year old, which strikes me as not the ideal age to ask that question), but to then say, "Aw, you'll change your mind, I'm sure."

I love being a mommy - especially because my girls keep getting bigger and finding new skills and ways to impress me - but I honestly can't imagine going through the whole newborn thing and thinking it'd be fun to do twice. Er, rather, do *again*.

Posted by: Janelle on March 2, 2006 12:29 PM

Hilarious. Have a wonderful birthday, Squirrely! :)

Posted by: Esther on March 2, 2006 12:33 PM

Today was the first time I came across your blog and it is wonderful. I wish I had one of those parental satisfaction surveys of my own. :)

Posted by: Ruth on March 2, 2006 1:14 PM

I stumbled upon your blog a little over two years ago and cannot believe it has been 2 years. You don't know me, but I do say a little prayer for you and Squirelly when I read about him in the blog.

Parents are always heros in my book.

Posted by: Lisa D on March 2, 2006 1:32 PM

In the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh, many happy returns of the day, Squirrelly.

Posted by: Eric on March 2, 2006 2:21 PM

Heh... "Will you be having another. . ." My answer to that is typically, "Have you MET my child?"

Happy Birthday, Squirrley. Work on those tantrums, sweets--every parent should have to sit out at least one 45 minute rage fest.

Posted by: Wende on March 2, 2006 2:26 PM

Based on experience with my own two boys, I have this theory that the terrible twos are very similar to the teen years. My boys both had two favorite words between 18 months and three-and-a-half years: "No!" and "Mine!". Seems like the concepts of independence, possession, and individuality really kick in at that young age and then repeat, albeit with more colorful language and more sullen looks, when your little angels turn into teenagers.

Posted by: SMurph on March 2, 2006 3:02 PM

Happy Birthday Squirelly! He's so cute.

My friend's sister (now she's 3, the sister, not my friend) had a bunch of, urm, catchphrases including "Cookie, give me kiss" to anyone, and everyone. Her older brother's name is Jacob, Jake for short, and she would call him "Gay" and "Gayko."

Posted by: Kelsey on March 2, 2006 3:09 PM

Hah! Having inflicted years of concerts on my parents, I can almost empathize! Repent at leisure and all that! And I loved the satisfaction survey... as I do the rest of your blog. :)

Posted by: progga on March 2, 2006 5:00 PM

L'il Bachus. Hah! Yay for Squirrely! Yes, he's going to take up lots of time with those band concerts but eventually he'll be able to play computer games with you so it'll all even out.

Now when are we going to get these kids to start mowing the lawn and paying their own way. Are there no job programs for babies?

Posted by: ozma on March 2, 2006 9:09 PM

Hey Matt, has anybody mentioned to you that "the terrible two's" might be a euphamistic way of sort of mentally preparing for the havoc that a three-year-old can wreck in one's happy home? Picture your kid with basically no improvement in impulse controll, and vastly increased sophistication. That's what happened with The Voice anyway. Oh, by the way, don't feel too bad about the Squirrelly being a bit of a shrimp and all; The Voice has always been in like the 5th percentile, which is weird considering that I am sort of giant. People always think he's really advanced for a one-year-old. Thanks. He's actually three though (jerk).

Posted by: Swan on March 3, 2006 7:10 AM

Happy Birthday Squirrely!

I always looked at band concerts as my form of revenge on my brother for having to go to his bowling and wrestling tournaments. I wanted to play drums, but wound up with the flute because "it was quieter". And it was, until I learned how to really hit that high C.

And Janelle, if you're appalled at how many people ask when you're going to have another when yours are only a year old, imagine how DAMNED ANNOYING it is to be constantly interrogated when you're a woman who doesn't want any! "Oh, you'll change your mind someday", they always smirk. Sorry, the maternal instincts have had over 25 years to kick in, and if they ain't there now, the odds are getting pretty slim.

Posted by: C. on March 3, 2006 2:58 PM

You 'n The Queen make cute babies. May I suggest you have another? The oatmeal story reminds me of my own boy (just turned 3). I tell him, "you are one confused toddler."

Posted by: Wickwire on March 3, 2006 3:39 PM

It sounds as though Twos, The Terrible are quite enjoyable, Matt.

The Squirrelly will no doubt continue to have fun, and here's hoping The Queen and you do, too.

Posted by: Kelly on March 6, 2006 12:51 PM

"Catholic Church Denies Communion to 10 Year Old Autistic Boy"


Posted by: fdsafda on March 7, 2006 9:03 PM

The only actual TANTRUM my son ever had was when we were 30,000 feet in the air on an overbooked 4-hour flight that was 2 hours delayed. The flight attendant served complimentary alcoholic beverages to everyone on the plane but me. Because, of course, I caused it on purpose.

Posted by: mamakat on March 13, 2006 7:26 AM