He’s Free

Welcome to the terrible twos.

I used to laugh about them. A developmental phase cannot be that bad across the board. Surely my son will be different. He is likable. Sweet. A perfect angel. Or he was. Until this past month. Three months before his second birthday and I finally understand just how terrible the twos are going to be.

When my son was first born I thought that I would skip baby proofing our home. I would be one of those mothers always on hand, ready to explain to my son why certain things were dangerous, and he would understand. That lasted until he started crawling.

Things got moved off the floor.

He started pulling up and cruising.

Things moved up higher.

We have little islands where the floodwaters of his tiny hands have yet to reach. The top of my desk is cluttered with scissors, safety pins, and electronics. Our tallest cabinet has three layers of stuff that is not for Peatuk. The TV has been moved to the ceiling.

He learned to open doors. Part of me was proud, but mostly I felt the same terror they felt in Jurassic Park when they realized the Velociraptors could open doors.

The kitchen cabinets have not been safe for months. Now the kitchen counters are not safe. The table is his private dance club.

Last night, he was stubbornly refusing to sleep. I had done everything I could. We followed the bedtime routine to a T. Shower, brushing the teeth, he even got two stories. I snuggled him in bed. I gave him space. I even cheated and let him nurse a bit, but he refused to sleep. Eventually, at the end of our desperation, we put him in his crib and let him cry it out.

Five minutes of screaming. I wish I could say my heart bled, but at that point, I was too exhausted to really feel compassion for him. Then it grew quieter. Calmer. He started to babble a bit. I thought maybe he would fall asleep. I relaxed.

Then I heard a soft thump. It was too quiet to be the clothes hamper he usually knocks over.

Pat. Pat-pat. Pat.

It can’t be.

I stare at the door. I watch the handle, my eyes wide.

Creak. It turns.

“Mama?” he whispers, half asleep, rubbing his darling eyes.

“Did you climb out of your crib?” I asked in disbelief.

“Da,” he breathes, his voice a gentle ghost of his screams.

I pick him up and take him back to bed.

It seems nothing will hold him now.

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