Are you ready for another episode of Story Time? I know you are! Just one note before we begin. I’ve changed the names of all my children since they didn’t really have a choice to be in my stories or not. For some reason, I went with Russian names. I’m not really sure why though.
Is it possible for children to devolve instead of evolve? Instead of adapting, getting stronger or smarter, do they get weaker or dumber? I don’t know the answer to this question, but lately my three year old boy’s behavior has devolved.
Ivan, my little powder keg of a son, is working on mastering the art of the toddler temper tantrum. His displays of belligerent rage and delirium are unbelievable spectacles. I call them, “Must see TV.”
My wife and I know why they are happening. He doesn’t take naps anymore, so right before bed time, he’s beyond tired. If one thing doesn’t go his way anytime between six to eight o’clock, it’s show time!
Here’s what happened last night. I was just about to read a few children’s books, and Ivan asked, “Mommy, can you hold me?”
Mom was ironing clothes so she said, “Dad can hold you while he reads. I’m ironing.”
Ivan screams, “MOOMMYY! Hold me NOW!”
“No, Ivan,” Mom says. We don’t back down from fights in our house. Somewhere, we read that we shouldn’t reward bad behavior because that leads to more bad behavior. I’m not sold on that theory. Then again, I know you’re not supposed to negotiate with terrorists.
Ivan’s face crumples up and turns fiery red. “Mommy! Hold me NOW!”
“No, Ivan. Now get over here and sit down,” I demand.
Ivan’s whole body tenses up. He sticks his chest out, clenches his fists, and starts stomping and spinning around with his legs locked straight. He looks like a mini soldier who was ordered to march around in circles while shouting at the same time. “Hold me NOW! Hold me NOW!”
My wife sets the iron upright so it doesn’t burn anything, and she snatches our little boy. For a moment, he thought he was getting his way, but then my wife turns to take him to his bed. Ivan freaks out, and he starts swinging his little fists at her. “Mommy, NO! I want stories. I want stories, Mommy!” She tosses him into his bed and shuts the door. “MOOOMMYY! DAAADDY!” Ivan continues.
I do my best to ignore the screaming and crying coming from Ivan’s bedroom and read to my older two children. After a we finish the books, my oldest son, Dimitri says, “Ivan’s a beast.”