Terrible twos? What terrible twos? Bah! Hogwash! Who says? I think it’s a myth.
Of course, as I write this I’m also knocking on all the wood in the house with a sledgehammer, just to be safe. How many times have I written something like, “Never has the hot water heater exploded, flooding my house and causing it to float down the street” . . . only to have it happen the next day? Too many times. So knock, knock, knock!
But for all the talk of terrible twos, it’s been quite timid at my house since little Amelie celebrated her second birth in December.
Yet, everybody asks about it, and has warned us it was coming. “Oh man, talk about terrible,” we commonly hear. “My kid would scream so much, the paint fell off the walls. I’ve been medicated ever since.”
People told us she would turn wild, like a jackhammer. That she would be mean, loud and angry. That she might pout and make unreasonable demands, like letting her drive the car. People said she wouldn’t listen anymore and would stomp her feet in protest at everything.
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With the holidays well over and life returning to normal to a degree it’s the perfect time to reflect on all that was as well as all the stuff that it brought. For, if your house is like mine, you’re still inundated with “stuff.” It’s piled high. It’s taken over the dog’s bed. It’s overflowing the trashcans. It’s occupying every available nook, cranny and crevice from the front door to the back. Shoot, you scratch an armpit and some nick-knack falls out.
It’s the attack of the killer Christmas stuff.
The holidays breed it, whether it’s gifts you haven’t found a place for, the decorations and ornaments that still need to go away or the mountains of other things that emerge from secret hiding places to crowd your domicile.
“Why is there a spare tire in the living room?!?”
But there’s a method to the madness. If you look very closely at all that chaos, you’ll see there is really order. You’ll find patterns — a series of universal constants that make up what I call “Stuff Theory.” That’s right, stuff theory: that which governs all the crap that you collect in your house, especially right after Christmas. Don’t understand? Well, see if you recognize some of these Stuff Theory constants in your own house:
Constant No. 1 — Toys that your daughter hasn’t played with ever, and that you’re now weeding out so you have room for all of the new toys she won’t play with, will become incredibly attractive to her once she sees you put them in a bag by the front door. She will begin to play with them, and if you try to take them away, she will pitch a fit and threaten legal action against you.
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My New Year’s resolution? Get over this nagging cold, or flu, or whatever this horrid, despicable sludge of an ailment is that afflicts me. It’s pestering, nothing too horrible, but annoying, frustrating and involves coughing that sounds like a pig snorting out a Cadillac. It prompts my wife, in the politest of rude ways, to ask me to go sleep in the shed.
I’ve been more-or-less sick for a good part of the holidays, although it never dragged me down so far that I couldn’t enjoy it. Sometimes the flu must be treated like an annoying sibling drag him around with you, never acknowledge him, and if the law will allow it, sell him to the gypsies.
“Cold? What cold? Hack, hack, wheez, wheez, gasp.”
It’s one of the strangest flus I’ve had because it didn’t come all at once in a flood, but rather gradually in a series of symptoms that would erupt and then fade to allow a new one to take over. First I had the aching body, then a burning sore throat, followed by the sniffles, some hacking up of what can only be described as modern art, an urging to shave my tongue (don’t know what that was all about), congested lungs that felt like a dying cement mixer and finally, really bad hair days. (The last was the toughest to ignore.)
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