Be Ye Four-Warned

Sometimes things happen in life that we have no control over. Time marches on, and we are completely powerless to stop it. And then we're left wishing we had appreciated how good things were before.

This is my Coby. Heart-meltingly sweet, and as soulful as those big brown eyes suggest. He has spent his life being my easiest child: generally undemanding, laid-back, and cooperative. I have been known to say that if I could guarantee they'd all turn out like Coby, I'd have ten more kids.*

*And if they didn't make me all fat again. And if they were, like, inexpensive.

Yep, Coby has been the one of my children that I can count on for smooth sailing.

But then ... this happened.

My baby turned four.

And I swear it's like someone flipped a switch. When he blew out the candle, he simultaneously exhaled every last ounce of cooperation - as quickly as that. And y'all? It has left me reeling.

"Mommy, may I please have a drink?" has turned into, "Mommy! I want some milk! IN THE BLUE CUP!!!" He asks for cereal - but when I pour it, it's the wrong kind. In the wrong bowl. I have heard, "I am NOT going to school," and "I am NOT getting dressed," and "I am NOT brushing my teeth," more times than I can count in the last few days. Where he was once compliant and easygoing, he has now formed definite opinions on his hair ("No! Flipped up like this!"), his clothing ("Yes I can wear this shirt two days in a row!"), and his meal choices ("CHICKEN NUGGETS EVERY DAAAAAAYYYY!").

He's entitled to his opinions. I want him to develop them. I encourage him to express them. But when he does it in the manner of a crotchety 90-year-old man? We've got issues. I swear if I gave him a cane he'd be waving it in the air to punctuate each cranky new demand. 

Suddenly, the kid I never had to threaten has become the one who is seriously trying my patience. And when I force him to comply - which I always do because I'm the one in control here, dammit - he does, but in his own irritating way. Like when I told him to go to his room and get his pants. He did, but like this:

It's like ... seriously??

Just walk. And get. The damn. Pants.

Everything takes five minutes longer now. And is about ten times more frustrating. I know it's just a phase dear God I hope so anyway but ain't nobody got time for all this bidness.

I've scoffed at the notion of the "Terrible Twos" because three, in my experience - at least up until now - has been the really terrible part. But apparently nobody gave Coby that memo because he's decided to wait and make me think he's an angel and then cruelly bust out the "Frightful Fours" on his poor unsuspecting mother.

Stubborn. Willful.

He's lucky he also happens to be cute.


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