I think I know why they call them the "Terrible Twos." It's not because that's a horrible age. It's actually a cruel conspiracy so you'll let your guard down when three comes around. Three makes two look easy. Three makes two look like you were raising a nanopet for two years. The terror begins the moment you think to yourself, "That wasn't so bad. The two wasn't so terrible. Maybe we're just better-than-average parents." It's the kind of cruel irony that echoes in your life for a year. In fact, they should call it the "Therrible Threes" or whatever synonym there is for "terrible" that starts with "th."
My son is not a bad kid. He's well-behaved when he's in public (given that he's not exhausted or something like that). He's generally polite and obedient and helpful. And he's as cute as a button. But some of the stuff he does at home is astonishing. It defies logic. Because he knows the outcome before he even starts. He seems no less terrified of the consequences than when he's acting right, but it doesn't stop him. He will tell you exactly what will happen to him if he throws the toy that he's winding up with. He even whimpers or cries a little out of fear. But he throws it nonetheless. And then he has a surprised look on his face as soon as it's airborne. It's almost as if he can't help it. I mean, he knows the punishment is coming. But for that instant of defiance, he pushes that realization aside just long enough to do something stupid.
A few years ago, I watched a video called "Bill Cosby, Himself." It is still the single funniest thing I've ever seen. I heard him talk about raising kids and being a kid and all that kind of stuff. And I understood the jokes at the time, even without the experiences of parenthood. But now that I've seen what he was talking about in person in my home, it's gone past funny into uncanny. Every time Andrew ignores his brain for a minute and does something ridiculous, I want to yell, "Well, that's the brain damage!" And the part about smacking the older child just so the younger one will be quiet... I get that now! ("Because parents are not interested in justice! They just want peace... and quiet!")
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. It's a good thing my kids are cute. There's no telling what our lives would be like if I had ugly kids.