Like all parents (I’m sure) I spent most of Christopher’s nonspeaking (small baby) time, trying to interpret and sooth his crying. When he started using actual words, I was SO relieved. It’s like a mystery was solved, and because he could talk, there was much less to cry about. I feel like we spent most of his second year, chatting and getting to know each other. I can honestly say, I found the time delightful! I think he did too.
Now he’s three and the crying is back, along with much of my own bewilderment.
I think I sometimes make the mistake of believing that because my son can now talk like a rational human, he is a rational human. That is not the case.
The other day we had a conversation during which every single thing I said sent him into a fit of despair.
C: I want to go swimming.
Me: Well, it may rain soon, but we can go for a little while.
C: NOOOOOO!!!! sobbing
Me: It’s OK, we can go. It’s not raining right now.
C: NOOOOOO!!!! It’s not going to rain!
Me: OK, it’s not, do you want to go swimming?
C: NOOOOO!! It’s going to rain!!!
Then I realized, I was looking at me. This is exactly how I would react if I wasn’t forced to act like a reasonable adult. And it is an act. Sometimes I will be talking to my husband and I’ll be in a bad mood, and my inner 3 year old will shout, “say NO.” Now, I have just enough power over my inner toddler to understand that it’s being unreasonable, but not enough to stop it, so I say “no” like an adult.
Husband: This looks like it’s going to be one of the rainiest years on record.
Inner 3 year old: No!!!!!
Me: Well, actually, we had much more rain at this point last year.
Understanding this about me, should help me deal with tantrums better, but instead, I think it just makes my inner three year old jealous.
C: I WANT IT!!!
M: I told you no. Now we need to be quiet
Inner 3 year old: I WANT TO SCREAM TOO! I WANT TO!!!
No lie, sometimes she wins.