There is something innately endearing about a child putting his or her shoes on the wrong feet.

Nathan is completely enamored with his fireman boots. They were a Christmas gift from my mom, and let me tell you, Nathan can’t get enough of them. The first thing he does in the morning, before he’s even out of his PJ’s, is put on his boots. He clomps around in them all day, just as proud as he can be. Never mind that half the time they’re on the wrong feet. That stuff just doesn’t matter when you’re two years old.

I love this age. Well. I LOVE the age, but dislike the phase he’s going through right now… we’re going for yet another round of NOT MINDING! It’s driving me completely bonkers. For example, we got into a bit of a power struggle today. There’s a local mommy group in my area that meets once or twice a month for lunch and play with our kids. There was one today, and before I even left the house, I had inhibitions about attending. Nathan was in one of his moods, and I could just feel that things probably wouldn’t go smoothly.

I made his lunch (which is pretty much mandatory whenever I take Nathan somewhere. He’s incredibly picky, and coupling that with an intense desire to run amuk with the other kids makes Nathan want to completely forgo his dinners.) So it’s just easier to bring his own lunch, and we rarely get into power struggles over it.

Not today, however.

I told him after he ate his lunch, he could get down and go play with the other kids. Well, Nathan would have none of my rules, dontcha know. He balked. Loudly. He wanted to completely skip his lunch and go play, but unfortunately Nathan without food is a very-hard-to-manage Nathan. So I tried to compromise and advised him to eat just half of what I packed. No success. I tried to bribe him with a cookie. Nope, still didn’t work. Applesauce? He took a few bites and then had enough. Then he tried to pick up his plate and move it away. Finally, I told him to open his mouth and I would feed it to him. COMPLIANCE! Never mind that my child is nearly three years old now and I had to hand-feed him his lunch. All I was worried about was getting food into that grumpy little belly while simultaneously sticking to my rule of eating before play.

But then he went kinda nutzo. He had no sugar (the cookies “mysteriously” disappeared into my own mouth), so I’m not sure where all the crazy energy came from. But he started running around the room, yelling and bouncing around while his wavy hair flapped crazily around his head. I watched in horror as he forcefully yanked toys away from other kids, stole their stickers and decorated his own torso with the loot, and danced around like a jumping bean that had been soaking in adrenaline for a number of days. I tried to reprimand him. When I saw him jerk toys away from other kids, I immediately went to him and gave the toy back to the other child, explaining to Nathan that he needs to share and be nice to others. I took the stickers off his torso and handed them back to the kids he stole them from.

But the ultimate embarrassment was when Nathan physically shoved another little guy down, causing him to cry. One of the volunteers approached me and told me what Nathan did, and I immediately whisked him away into a corner for timeout after I making him apologize to the other boy. I told the mother I was terribly sorry, but she was a bit of a bitch about it. Yeah, I know my child hurt her child, but guess what? It happens. That does NOT mean it’s ok, but it IS to be expected with two and three year olds. But she was absolutely bitchy about it. As I was apologizing for my son’s actions, she didn’t even acknowledge me. In fact, she turned away from me and ignored me as she held her crying son. I totally get that she was upset, but there was no need for her to be rude about it. So I just shook my head and left her alone.

That’s ok. Her child will shove another kid one day when he’s around Nathan’s age. Hopefully the parent of the child he hurts will be nicer to her than she was to me. After being shunned like that, though, I won’t be apologizing to her again if my child ever behaves inappropriately towards her child again. Nathan will apologize to the child he hurt, but I won’t go out of my way just for her to reciprocate with rudeness.

Yes, I’m a little pissed off at her arrogance.

But enough of that. Arrogant, bitchy people are everywhere in this world. I am quite sure I will encounter many, many more throughout my life.

So yeah, Nathan has his super sweet, precious and endearing moments… but this belligerent phase he’s going through right now is driving me insane. I’m hoping this phase doesn’t last long. I want him to be sweet again. Don’t get me wrong, he totally has a multitude of sweet moments. I’ve noticed he gets really wound up when we’re out in public, especially if there’s a lot of other kids around or bustling activities. I’m going to have to figure out a way to work on this…

In the meantime, I’m going to soak up every single sweet moment he has. I know his not-so-sweet moments are just a phase that he will outgrow with love and patience. I’ve had SO many people tell me the Terrible Two’s are nothing compared to the Terrifying Three’s. He’s almost three. I hope this behavior is not a taste of what I’m in for in the coming year!

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