We'd heard about them, of course, and how they test the waters and then the boundaries and then your patience, all without a brain to guide them, but we'd never had one in the house. Instead, we've always been 'blessed' with Temperamental Threes - still no common sense but faster and heavier so they're harder to catch and do more damage to your back when you do manage to get a hand to them.
Tracey and I have been developing a theory these past fifteen years we've been raising kids together: the reason mother nature has made young children look so very, very cute is you wouldn't put up with them if they weren't.
Seriously, there'd be that one "NO!" too many, after a week of refusing to eat what you've cooked or sleep in their own bed or stay with you in a shopping centre, and you'd consider driving into the country, letting them out and hoping like hell they didn't have a sense of direction.
Instead, after pulling all the saucepans and Tupperware and cutlery out of the draws and pouring water from one to another, and more often missing, they smile at you and say 'duddle' instead of 'cuddle' and your heart melts and you forgive everything. The crafty little bastards.
We're just praying our Miss2 hitting the Terrible Twos instead of waiting for the Temperamental Threes means we'll be through this phase quicker and not, as we fear, that we'll have two years of hell instead of one.
At the moment, Miss2's weapon of choice in testing her parents is with words: or more specifically, with one word. Kids tend to go through a 'why' stage but our little miss is going through a 'what' stage.
Not a smart what stage like, "what is aluminium made of?" Oh, no. A dumb what stage as in when we answer one of her endless stream of questions and she says, "what?" like we're interrupting her train of thought.
Here's a sample of the quality banter we've been having with her lately.
"Would you like a milk?"
"Milk. A drink of milk. Would you like one?"
So I give up and walk the milk bottle back to the fridge. And suddenly she's screaming at me, "I want a milk!"
"So you do want a milk, do you?"
"Honey, I'm talking (Miss2) out for a drive!"
"I wanna duddle, daddy."
If only life took the same precautions with teenagers you might not be so keen for them to move out.
Instead, during the Terrifying Teens mother nature matches their toxic attitude with pouting, sneering and a face full of zits. Before you know it you're offering to help them pack and putting up bond money...
...and looking whimsically at photos of them when they were two or three and super cute and therefore so much easier to handle.
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