It felt like any other day. My son had just turned two years old and started pre-school.
The first day of school was difficult for all of us. We spent 30 minutes before leaving him and probably phoned every hour or two on that day. All was well. We later discovered that, within 10 minutes of us leaving, he had stopped crying. Day two, he got into trouble. Threw sand in another child’s face. Sat in the naughty corner. He still throws things at his parents though. Day 3, actually naps during nap time. Then we had to keep him home for a week. The usual. Ear infection. Cold. Swine flu scare.
It was his second day back after school after the week off and, as I mentioned before, it felt like any other day. I dropped him off to fewer tears and went about my day. He was now on full days so I picked him up at about 4pm and we headed home. As we drove in the gate, he started grumbling. Wanted the remote to open the gate. We got out of the car and he wanted to stay outside the yard. We got into the yard and he wanted to be ‘ousite’ yet followed me into the house. By now, the grumbling was a fake cry and then it happened….. the screaming. No warning. No nothing. From ‘daddee ousite’ to the kind of scream one hears outside an abattoir. I rush to him thinking he’s hurt himself or something, he pushes me away, lies on the ground kicking his legs and keeps on screaming.
I’m a patient man. Really, I am. I am understanding. When he cries, I try to determine what is wrong. I try to comfort. I try to be a good, loving father. I don’t shout. I talk. I maintained that image for the first 30 minutes. I tried to give him juice. I talked to him. I asked what was wrong. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I put on the telly, but the screams got louder, drowning out the telly. I put on music. He likes music. Loves singing and dancing. The screams weren’t even in tune. I shouted at him. Told him to stop it. Opened the front door and told him to go play outside. The screams echoed through the house and reverberated through the neighbourhood. Eventually, I ignored him. Twenty minutes after having broken the one hour mark, he just stopped. Five minutes after that. Smiling and laughing, telling me stories.
For a week, that became the routine. Every day, after school though, thank the heavens, they only ran for about 30 minutes. Then one day I put him in his room and left him there and the consistent tantrums after school stopped. Now they just come any old time.
I finally discovered why they call them the terrible twos. I have heard all the theories. I have tried some. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. If you have more, please share. All I really have now is the hope that, one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, he’ll stop. Until then, all I’m committed to is maintaining my sanity. I love him, even if he may just drive me mad.