When Parenting Is Not Fun

We just returned from another Disney visit . . . one of the greatest advantages of being a Florida resident. It's a short drive (relatively speaking . . . sometimes the three Agents in the back seat can make it seem like an eternity) and we have annual passes and a vacation club membership, so we take the opportunity to go about every three months. Our typical stay lately has been two nights, aiming to arrive by lunch on day one, and leaving after lunch on day three.

Now I'm one of the biggest Mouse fans you will find, and know firsthand that even a bad Disney trip trumps no Disney trip at all. However . . . we reached a new level of crazy-making on this particular vacation.

Agent A has entered the zone.

You know the one: The turning point when kids go from adorable babbling toddling wonder to defiant loud fearless insane person. Sigh.

One day they're cute and cuddly and holding your hand strolling along at snail's pace and in complete awe of the world, and the next they are darting from you at every opportunity, unhappy with all of life, and reaching new levels of screechy complaint. Oh, not to mention all the dangerous ideas they have because suddenly all fear has been erased from their being.

Exhibit A, in pirate gear
Luckily, we've seen this show before (twice) so it's not new, albeit still overwhelming. Eva hit it around two and a half, and it lasted almost a year. By the time she started preschool at three years four months she was pretty much a normal human being again. Julia embraced her nutty at two, and it continued until well after she turned four.

Needless to say, taking them out in public during this time provides an endless stream of pleasure. Not.

Yes, I know it's a phase. Yes, I know this too shall pass. Yes, I know it's developmentally normal. Yes, I still love Agent A to pieces.

(Note: If you are a parent of teenagers or grown children and you're tempted to say something condescending about how I should be enjoying this or will miss it someday, imagine me wishing I could force choke you, just a little. Also, if you have a child who made it to age five without ever going through this joy, you might want to stop reading this blog because I probably don't like you.)

Of the parenting stages we've experienced so far, this is my least favorite.

I love newborns, even with the sleep deprivation and continual loop of nursing and pooping. Young toddlers? When they first take those big monster steps and you can only understand about every fifth word? Bring it. The million questions when they turn four? Done. The ability to have a real conversation with them as they get older and to truly enjoy hanging out with them one on one? Definitely.

The ticking time bomb days that appear without warning somewhere between two and four? Not so much.

I should note that as I'm drafting this, sweet Agent A is sitting on the floor beside me building a Lego tower, cute and cuddly as ever. For now. (*insert evil laugh here*)

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