Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Trouble With Two

D2 is pretty mellow as two-year-olds go. If he has a meltdown, it's almost always simply a sign that he needs ten minutes alone in his room with Puppy and a book, and he's happy again.

But that doesn't mean he's not busy trying to figure out how to Assert Independence through contradiction. He just usually does it with a twinkle in his eye: "No, I don't want to be clean. I want to be dirty!" "It's not red, it's orange!" DOB especially gives him lots of opportunities to exercise this property by saying things wrong as much as possible.

D1 recently received a book on manners and has been quite intrigued. Last night she sat up to the table and announced, "I am not putting my elbows on the table."

I approved mildly, but when you are very short and eating at a very big table, putting your elbows on the table is hardly possible and certainly less of a concern than the rule about not bouncing around in your chair so that you fall out mid-meal.

But D2 was immediately alerted. Stretching his tiny arm as far as it would go, he announced, "I am putting my elbows on the table."

If you really want to mess with his mind, just keep agreeing with him. One day he told us that he was going to give his picture to Papa to take to work.

"That would be fine," we said.

"Actually I'm not going to give my picture to Papa," he said.

"OK," we said, "It's your picture."

His eyes begin to whirl. "Actually I am . . . no I amn't . . . "

How can a two-year-old define himself if no one will disagree with him?

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