I'm just going to come right out and say it.
Monkey has been a difficult child.
It nearly kills me to say it. Because he is so ridiculously cute. But nearly everyday, Hubster and I look as him after he has finally fallen asleep, and just stare at the occasionally still dirt-smudged pile of smooth blond hair, little nose, and dimpled elbows and knees, and wonder. How can he possibly be so darling, but so exhausting and frustrating at the same time?
From the moment he was born, the personality differences between him and Bug were apparent. He was always awake, more social, and grinned at every object within view.
Little did we know, that was just the beginning.
Bug, now 7, was always content to just read, draw, or do nearly anything that would allow him to be busy, but by himself. He was usually quiet. And although occasionally moody, he was usually quite well behaved.
This, of course, allowed Hubster and I to clap ourselves on the back, foolishly thinking it was our exemplary parenting skills that had lead to such a wonderful child.
Monkey, on the other hand. Well, we thought our house our house was child proof...
The minute he could crawl, he would go to the cupboards and try to open them. Of course, he couldn't get past the child locks, but this did not stop him from trying everyday. Just like a velociraptor on Jurassic Park, he would daily try the locks on the off chance that one day, he would get around them.
He would follow his older brother every second, and destroy anything Bug tried to do. Block towers, beware. Train tracks, doomed. Puzzles, not a chance. He even enjoys a little independent destroying. There are only a handful of toy cars that still have ownership of their tires, the rest having been chewed and pried off. Books that made it by Bug unscathed met their untimely demise during the moments we suddenly realized we hadn't heard Monkey making any noise for 2 minutes.
We have an ottoman that no longer resembles a piece of furniture, after being used as a chew toy by Monkey.
Once, when he was about 18 months old, I was cooking dinner. I turned around to see Monkey holding a huge ball of dryer lint that he had fished out of our (covered) kitchen garbage bin. He was chewing and shuddering. In the half second that I had been frozen with the horror of it all, he took another bite. I immediately became unfrozen and extracted the fuzzy gray mass from his chubby hands, and held his still lint covered hands under the facet. And the whole time, despite the screaming I was being met with, wondering why, WHY, did he take a second bite?
The terrible twos have been especially terrible. We haven't escaped a store without a display being knocked over, the shopping cart being pushed into some unsuspecting shopper, a fit in the middle of an aisle (all for unknown reasons, as he never asks for candy or marshmallow laden cereal), or some content of our cart being chucked out and occasionally hitting an innocent passer-by. We've even contemplated giving up food shopping and living off the grass in the backyard. (Of course, we've tried just not taking him, but sometimes circumstances just don't allow it. And leaving your two year old child in the car like a golden retriever is frowned upon.)
I've been asked to leave a shoe store after Monkey was discovered licking the entire front window of the store that was within his reach. All within the time limit it took me to turn my back on him to look at a cute pair of red pumps and think, just think, about trying them on.
Not everything is difficult. He is a better sleeper than Bug was (or is.) He's not a picky eater. He is happy 90% of the time. And we try to focus on these (and his overwhelming cuteness) anytime we start feeling our nerves being stretched a little too far.
We've had months of frustration, wondering if any of us would survive this time period. But then, he curls up on my lap, smelling of sunshine and grass and stuffed animals, asking for a story, and my heart just crumples inside. He looks up at me with his amazingly wide blue eyes and tells me I'm his best friend and I wonder how I ever get mad at him. I walk in the door after a 13 hour day and he runs up, grabs my legs, and says "I missed you and I've been good!" And I get an ache in my chest from the love I feel towards him.
Monkey turns three in a few weeks. We're not sure if we will be leaving the terrible twos behind or just entering the terrible threes.
What we do know, without a doubt, is that we are in for an adventure.