I’ve been warned that it would be different. Not necessarily worse, just different. As my son turns three years old the rebellious moments are probably less frequent, but more intense. The tantrums that used to be scattered throughout the day in small burst are now concentrated once or twice during the day, but seem to last an eternity. The stubbornness has intensified and distracting him from whatever seemingly petty issue has set him off becomes more and more difficult. He has learned what buttons to push and the perfect time to push them for maximum returns. Like most wild animals little kids adapt quickly to their environment and learn through their survival instinct how to get what they need (aka what they want at that particular moment) to stay at the top of the food chain. For those of you who know Shrek by heart, he is Puss in boots, using his cuteness as a cunning ruse to catch you flat-footed right before springing his trap. Sucked in by those big eyes and meek manner that he can flip on like a switch you find yourself disarmed as you prepare to discipline or punish him for his latest act of rebellion or worse right before performing such an act.
I always thought I was good, back in my days. When I was a kid I was pretty good at pulling out the whole “do you really thing that a cure thing like me could ever do that?”, but genetics often have a funny way of reinforcing the less desirable strong traits (at least from a parent’s point of view). My wife and I are bracing ourselves and taking solace in a colleague of mine’s story of his teenage son taking his car in the middle of the night during a sleep over with friends and with barely a driving permit among them took off for the nearest town to get a late night snack at the drive thru. It’s good to know that it only gets easier.