The terrible 2s? I am totally getting them right about now.
Rohan welcomed his second year like a cyclone, spinning circles of mud and toys and fury and unbounded joy in life. This kid? The very definition of a happy baby. There were those first few months when he had me bouncing him on a yoga ball for upwards of 45 minutes at a time as he cried and fussed and begged for I-never-knew-what. And there were night wakings and troubles getting to sleep and fussy episodes we didn't know if we should blame on age or temperament or his Masto. There were tough days followed by good days. There were worries that had me (against my better judgment) frantically reading Google and venting to poor, unsuspecting (and amazing) friends. But by the time Rohan was 4 months old, we knew we were seeing the real him: lively, engaging, sweet and affectionate, opinionated, often easy-going, always hungry for both food and love, and with a smile that is so bright and wide it makes my body hurt with love for him.
He's always been active and a bit wild. It's a shift from Luca, who has her opinions and is very Type A but is largely agreeable and cooperative. Luca will tell other kids not to climb on things that may be unsafe. Rohan will climb on things that may be unsafe, and when reproached by his sister he will smile that wide boundless smile and leap into the air, always landing on his feet. He runs and skips and jumpe everywhere he goes. He says hi to friends and strangers, approaches dogs while we're out on a walk without a second thought, and if you tell him not to do something, he WILL give you the silly side-eye and act like that's what he's going to do. "Rohan," I'll tell him, "don't touch that because it's hot." Smile. Side eye. Evil grin. Twinkle and squint. All while a hand gets precariously close to said hot item and he waits for me to flip my shit. I've learned, by the way, not to flip my shit. Because he (almost always) pulls away at the last minute and runs away laughing.
He steals Luca's toys straight out of her hand, then tears across the room, dodging her and she shrieks in protest, his grin splitting his face open from cheek to cheek. He throws the toy as far as he can throw, then laughs uncontrollably as she lands square on his back and tackles him, annoyed at the perpetually annoying little brother.
With Rohan, I've had my first parental experiences in:
- putting a hysterical and defiant toddler into a football hold and carrying him crying from the mall while avoiding judging (and probably some understanding) stares;
- chasing after him as he ran to the very edge of the sidewalk with the sound of a fast-approaching SUV humming in my head, then crying and shaking as adrenaline coursed through my body and he patted my face and said, "No street, mama. Ho-yud hands.";
- asking my child not to climb in an unoccupied restaurant booth only to have him nod in agreement and scramble onto the tabletop for an impromptu dance routine;
- feeling your face turning red as your husband escorts your child out of Safeway and you maniacally try to replicate the order that used to be present in the Easter greeting card display he just knocked over in the middle of the store on a busy evening.
To be fair, the mall one happened when he was a few months shy of 2, after a Santa visit at the mall. All the rest of those things have been in the 6 weeks since that fateful birthday. It really does give me new perspective, and a new dose of sympathy for those moms I probably silently condemned prior to having kids of my own.
I know this is to be expected, so why didn't I expect it? The answer is simple: Luca didn't really have a 'Terrible 2s' phase. Which is not, incidentally, to paint her as perfect. What no one (other than my mom who HOLY HELL why didn't I listen to her when I was younger because she. knows. everything!) told me was that a lot of kids hit it later, making it more of a 'Terrible 3s'. That was our experience with Luca. She went to bed 2 and compliant and woke up 3 and full of opinions that pretty much were based in nothing other than being different than those opinions held by her parents.
But Rohan? My little Mo is revelling in 2, dancing on tabletops and nearly running into traffic and generally keeping me on my toes.
But it's not all bad. It's really not. He still remains one of the happiest and sunniest kids I've ever known. He makes us all laugh 100 times a day, and kid knows he is funny. He makes silly faces and sits for minutes at a time curled into my body holding my finger and making me point to pictures in books as he names the things he sees. He's smart too: knowing several nursery rhymes and colors an instantly being able to navigate almost any physical task with ease. He adores his sister. At least once a week she tells me they are going to get married because, "You marry your best friend, and Romie is mine best friend." and he nods seriously and says, "Best fend, mama. Sidder (sister) best fend."
But times like tonight, when he landed a closed fist straight on his sister's head, dumped a bin of toys all over the floor as we were cleaning up, cried because he wanted water but he wanted to hold the cup while I filled it, attempted to climb up the outside banister on the stairs, and then pulled his *ahem* boy business out the top of his diaper and ran around the house singing, "Weenuh...weenuh...WEENUH!" remind me why I'm so not ready for a 3rd kid right now.