Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have a very clear memory of being in my parents' house for a visit in 2008. L was but a wee baby and E was two and being her twoiest. My parents had some kind of open house so some of their friends could meet the grandkids, and I found myself smack in that awkward moment where you're surrounded by people who knew you when you were fourteen, and whom you suspect don't fully recognize your adulthood or any growth past your awkward-awful fourteen-ness.

Which, of course, was a perfect moment for Little Miss Twoiest to pitch a screaming fit, yes?

Indeed. And deeeelightful.

So I scoop her up / ha ha mumble mumble / so what if you're all staring at me, at least I don't have that perm anymore, what? / make some excuse involving that umbrella phrase "terrible twos" and a woman who's known me since before I was fourteen, since eleven, I think, which we all know is even worse, stops me with a hand on my arm and altogether too much sunshine in her voice:

"No, no, dear. We call those the Terrific Twos!"

And I do not even know how to respond, and all I can think is: spoken like a woman who hasn't had a two-year-old in a long, long time.

And now every once-a-year or so that I see her, she may look at me like my eleven-ness is showing, but I look at her like the lady who clear done lost her mind.

Now, listen. You know I believe in the power of words. You will never hear me refer to L as our middle child, even though she is chronologically in the middle, because I neither want to assign her a stigma nor unwittingly encourage her to live up to a stereotype. You will hear me call her our second daughter or second child or our four-year-old or our ladybug firefighter crazy monkey, but there's no stigma there. I call all three of them my crazy monkeys, and she's just the ladybug firefighter flavor of that species.

But the Twos. You guys are with me, right? I'm all for language-based wizardry. But the Twos can be Terrible and lying to ourselves about it does not help.

This is a peptalk for me, and this is a preamble for you. Because Mister Man G is revving up, and at this campfire we're going to be telling some Twos stories. Hold me.

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