Here’s what’s going on with my children lately.
With Edison and even more so with Peter, I learned that the “terrible twos” are nothing compared to the “take-my-life-please threes.” Perhaps I jumped the gun when I recently thought to myself, “Wow, Creegan has been a surprisingly pleasant two-year-old!” Now halfway between his second and third birthdays, Creegan is finally showing signs of becoming a terror. Not that he throws many fits or does much structural damage. Instead, he’s a cornucopia of insults. Unfortunately, his older brothers are to blame for the rich pejorative vocabulary that Creegan now possesses. And I realize that Creegan scarcely understands the things coming out of his mouth. But somehow it’s still hurtful when your youngest child is much more likely to say “Shut up, you stupid idiot!” than “I love you, Daddy!” Other favorites include “jerk” and “incompetent blowhard.” Okay, not that last one, but he spouts the others with such regularity that I might appreciate some diversification. Melanie and I are now trying extra hard to curtail the insults that Eddie and Peter throw at each other, hoping the improvements will naturally carry over to Creegan. I think it’s already working a bit, thankfully. Then again, what do I know? I’m a stupid idiot.
Remember that thing I said about three-year-olds being even harder than two-year-olds? Well, lately, Peter seems determined to relive his glory days and, a few weeks shy of his fifth birthday, is now throwing tantrums that challenge my very sanity. I don’t know where in the world this sudden reversion in behavior has come from. But it is awful. Usually, the challenging behavior is reserved for bedtime, but in a way, that’s worse. We’re all worn out by then, and Peter’s antics have the propensity to throw off the entire bedtime routine. He gets Creegan worked up, he infuriates Edison by taunting him or kicking at the underside of Eddie’s mattress from the lower bunk. And he absolutely ignores any parental intervention. I know there are better ways to handle things, but it often seems as though I cannot get so much as a nod of recognition out of Peter unless I turn into a grade-A a-hole. I hate it.
I’m tempted to declare Edison a saint in comparison to Peter and Creegan right now, but that’s not entirely fair. I think the more challenging aspects of Edison’s behavior are reserved primarily for Melanie. They arise when Melanie is trying to help him with school or whatever. He acts so put out by things. He really can be a negative guy. (Where in the world could he get that from, I wonder?) Sometimes it seems like all he does is complain about whatever’s happening. It can be quite relentless. He’s also quite the drama queen. If he gets so much as a scratch, he acts like he cannot function for the rest of the day. Yesterday, he had a school field trip. Shouldn’t that be exciting? Shouldn’t he be thrilled to get away from his typical school routine? But instead, he cried and screamed all morning because he had a small scratch on his foot and he didn’t want to have to put on shoes. He doesn’t get over these things very quickly, and it’s as tedious as it is absurd.
To end on a more positive note, I’m going to share something Eddie created. I recently introduced my boys to Garbage Pail Kids. Edison promptly designed his own Garbage Pail Kid and brought it to me. Here it is:
The above Garbage Pail Kid is named Helicopter Patty. (The “he” near his head is short for “helicopter,” Eddie informs me.) As you can see, Helicopter Patty’s head is a helicopter pad. A helicopter (no, that’s not a Vespa, a roller skate, or some sort of Christian relic) is landing on his head, guided by the remote control that Helicopter Patty holds in his left hand. Cute, isn’t it?