It was bound to happen and it has: The Frankensteinian transformation where my adorable baby girl morphs into a raging, staggering sourpuss. Living with an almost two-year-old child is like living with a mean drunk — you are always trying to placate an irrational person. At first the change was subtle — she stopped responding to simple requests. Then came the outright refusals — to eat, to change a dirty diaper, to share (“mine,” is, of course, her mantra). It’s gone from flickers of general crankiness to a full on fright-night fest of maliciousness. Any day now, I expect her to pop out from behind the curtains wearing a Chucky mask, toss her diaper to the floor and laugh maniacally as she pees on the rug. The “terrible twos” are so cliché that my first time around with my older daughter I refused to buy into it. It’s a normal phase of development, I’d think as she kicked and screamed on the floor of a shoe store. I wasn’t going to label it or judge her constant quest for autonomy. If she needed to prove herself and her inner resolve by refusing the food she’d just asked for or crying because she wasn’t a coyote, so be it. Suddenly, life got real for my little one and though her moodiness blindsided me, I respected it, like you would a powerful storm or natural disaster. Back then I had the energy to negotiate with a terrorist and did clever things to counter all that negativity, like make up a song consisting only of the word “no,” which was a huge hit at our house. But this time around, the turn to two hurts — literally and figuratively. Because unlike her older sister, my baby takes her frustrations out physically — she becomes a battering ram when refused something she wants, coming straight for you with a head butt. Or, when I’m forced to remove something dangerous from her reach, or pick her up before an altercation with say, a cement truck, she transforms into a slapping machine. Did I mention her birthday is still two months away? She’s taking the turn to two before actually being two, which happens (it can start at 18 months and last till four). So it’s likely the slaps will be around for a while. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from doing this before is that timelines are for suckers — mayhem can strike at any time, as can shockingly sweet compliance. As a parent, the best you can do sometimes is to protect your vital organs and enjoy the wild ride. Check out all of Andrea’s posts HERE!