Please understand that I love him tremendously. I think he's adorable and I love to dance with him and cuddle him and I find his chubby cheeks to be irresistibly smoochable. But he's a jerk. I think it's because he recently turned 3 and despite what we've all heard about "the terrible twos" it is actually the "apocalyptic threes" that parents need to worry about. Ethan has always been stubborn and willful but these traits have come to utterly dominate his personality. He has brought me to tears. The stress from dealing with the little goblin can be plainly seen on my face that has broken out worse than it ever did when I was a teenager. He has stopped me in my tracks and sent me searching my pockets for a white flag to wave.
I am sure that I have mentioned that Ethan's scream could make a banshee go into early retirement from shame. The scream, actually no... the Scream - because it deserves the capital S and could make your vision blur and distort like the Edvard Munch painting of the same name - the Scream is being used much more frequently and pretty indiscriminately. Basically, any time I tell Ethan to do something, he busts out the Scream. The other day, I ended up slinging him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carrying him home because he unleashed the Scream when we picked Ben up from school. I told him to hold my hand. That was it. That earned the Scream. Later that same evening, I had to take the boys shopping and Ethan didn't want to sit in the seat in the shopping cart. Patrons of the Safeway on Reserve were introduced to the Scream. I was horrified and embarrassed and at a complete loss. Eventually I went through those feelings and out the other side to hysteria. Some poor woman turned the corner into our aisle and was treated to the Scream with Manic Laughter as accompaniment. Poor Benjamin was terribly confused.
It's not just the screaming that makes Ethan a jerk. He's also violent. Today, we went on a play date with a friend and her son to the train at the mall. Ethan became very possessive of the train and had no problem exerting his dominance over any hapless child silly enough to think that the play area was for everyone. Ethan made a baby cry! This adorable baby girl was just sitting on the train, minding her own business and Ethan clobbered her! A baby! This was after he sent another poor toddler crying to his mother because Ethan yelled at him, "MY TRAIN!" and shoved him. It's heartbreaking that MY kid is that kid. He takes swings at anyone who makes him mad. There have been many times when I've been in the kitchen and suddenly heard the "thud thud thud" of Ethan's running feet followed by a clumsily delivered swat to whatever part of my anatomy that he can reach. Why does he do this? Pick a reason! He's mad that his food isn't ready right now or he's furious that he can't eat nothing but marshmallows all day. Maybe he's mad because I told him we're out of something. Maybe it's a full moon. You know what? Maybe he doesn't need a reason because HE'S A JERK.
I am holding tightly to the belief that this is a phase. Ben was pretty rotten when he was 3 and now he's very sweet and gentle. However, until this phase is over with I kind of don't want to take him with me out in public anymore. He's the honey badger of toddlers lately and the public must be protected. But who is going to protect me? I can't help but ponder the expense of building a padded cell as an addition to our home. I'll let him out when he's 4.