As my wife and I navigate through the turbulent waters of raising a toddler, I’m quaking at the thought of landing on Thomas’s two-year-old shores. TII Day (Terrible Two Day) is T-minus twenty days and counting, and my intel suggests that Thomas is preparing to mount a stout defense against his parents’ future requests. He’s already mastered the word “no” and can fire it off in rapid succession, and currently he is working on arming himself with more stinging phrases like, “Go away, Deddy” and “Go away, Mommy.” I’ll be honest, the first time he said “Go away, Deddy,” felt like a metaphorical gut shot.
And his tantrums are only growing in size and scope. If you notice a mushroom cloud forming over the horizon, you can take hope in the possibility that it may not be Putin ushering the end of the world, but merely my toddler melting down. Recently, he had a meltdown in one of the few places on earth where being quiet is strictly enforced by penalty of stern looks and shushes, the library.
On the day of the implosion, I had the bright idea that I would take the day off, and Thomas and I would enjoy a fun-filled trip to the park and library, with the two destinations connected by a slight detour through a McDonald’s drive-thru for a happy meal. In Thomas’s defense, this was probably too demanding an itinerary, given he was on the mend from a stomach bug. In fact, I should have known something was up when Thomas actually grew tired, yes, tired after a mere hour of play on the playground. Still, this doesn’t absolve the library from some guilt–what right-minded public administrator would dare place a train set in the vicinity of toddler books? For one thing, the toddler will automatically be attracted to trains over boring ole books. Furthermore, after being informed the train set is government property and not, in his words, “my train,” the toddler will then proceed to audition for the starring role in a horror movie by screaming loud enough to rattle the innermost pages of the densest and dustiest tomes.
And sadly, that was not the worst of it. As I extracted Thomas from the otherwise calm and peaceful sanctum of books, with many erudite patrons glaring in my general direction, I no sooner made it out the door before Thomas, as if testing the payload capacity of a toddler’s gastrointestinal system, proceeded to projectile vomit chicken McNuggets all over my personage. The only mercy was we were at least outside the library before Thomas unleashed the contents of his stomach. Still, at that moment, I think I would have gladly waved the white diaper wipe of surrender had I not been too busy wiping my face with it.