As parents, we like to think we are the boss, right? We run the show. “If you live in this house, you follow my rules…” Yeah, that’s all well and good. Unless you have a tiny tyrant like the one currently reigning supreme over my household. My 2-year old is the boss. And he knows it.
1. He decides what time I wake up every morning.
He first began his quest for domination when he gained freedom and transferred to the toddler bed. Now, without a roofless cage to contain him, he wakes up and runs around the house at whatever hour he wants to in the morning. We try to calm him back to bed—fruitlessly. So we succumb to his will and allow him into our bed at some ungodly morning hour, where he spends 45 minutes playing on our phones and sitting on us. (Why, you ask, don’t you put a toddler lock on his door? Ha. Do you not think I thought of that? The exact lock that neither his older brother or sister could break through until they were 3?! Yeah, he broke that sucker off of his door on day one of the toddler bed transfer and handed it to me like “WTF is this, Mom?”
2. He steals everyone else’s food.
If he wants what you have, he’s gonna take it. You better eat fast. And the sweet nectar of the treats, like fruit snacks? He simply drags a chair over to the sacred snack cabinet (which I keep up high, a method that worked for the other two kids) to help himself to whatever he wants.
3. He knows how to turn on the TV and/or a movie.
In my naive attempt to rule the roost around here, I told him the other day that he was not having a snack, as it was too close to dinner, and that he had already watched a movie so it was not the time for that either. I then proceeded upstairs to gather laundry. A few minutes later, I returned to see him sitting on the couch, elbow-deep in a bag of Doritos, watching Despicable Me. He owns it too, knowing exactly what he did and telling me the complete truth: “Me put on Mickable Me movie, Mommy. Me have snack too.”
4. He refuses to nap.
He spends the entire time I have the energy to muster banging on the door and running around his room. He turns the light back on immediately after I turn it off. I have to stand there and physically hold the door closed on the other side (recall how toddler locks are ineffective for this T-Rex).
5. Quite often I give up after a while and say fine, no nap.
This means he is a bear from 5 p.m. on out of exhaustion. He will not eat dinner because he is so tired. He will, however, fight bedtime—screaming, punching, hitting, biting, kicking me for an hour as I wrestle him into submission.
6. He often gets what he wants because no one wants to deal with him.
This applies to me, the kids, the husband, the grandparents, the cashier with the basket of suckers. “It’s OK. He can have two…or three…” she says, her eyes wide with fear as his grubby hands attempt to steal them all.
7. Like all dictators, he is afraid of nothing.
The big kids are learning to ride bikes, and he takes off down the street on his Big Wheel before I can catch him. He tries to jump off of the dining room table and into the deep end of the pool, and he will wrestle anyone, anytime, regardless of size. He runs everywhere, despite my warnings not to. He is constantly ripped up, bruised, and bleeding.
Rules, requests, consequences, manners, boundaries, this child does not care. Because he’s the boss. And he knows it. And the rest of us, his serfdom, live in fear of what he’ll do next.