“Daddy! Daaaadddyyyy! Daaaaaa–…”
“Daddy’s flown across the ocean. Leaving just a memory. A snapshot in the family album. Daddy, what else did you leave for me?”
“Gee, Mark… Your middle name is Floyd, you should know the song. Dad went out to get the mail. Seriously, he’ll be back.”
Yes, this is Mark’s latest trick. Whenever “daddy” steps out of the room, Mark screams as if Feng had abandoned us. Feng is flattered. I’m annoyed because I have to deal with Mark’s tantrum. Beside, I’ve been taking care of him too—but no, he doesn’t scream “mommy” when I step out. Ungrateful brat.
Okay, on some level, I know most toddlers go through a phase where they prefer one parent.
Still. It sucks when you are not that parent.
Mark isn’t two yet but I think the “terrible twos” started. He throws tantrums for no reason, gets frustrated easily and plays tricks on us. He is testing limits. Constantly. For instance, I don’t want him to drink coffee (well, duh). If I have a cup in hand, he will nag me until I finish it. If he wants something, he just digs into my bag or grabs it on the table. He throws things around when he is mad and you’d think he is the most unhappy child around—until he gets distracted and forgets why he was crying.
In France, my family taught him a few new tricks. My grand-mother “taught” him to unbuckle his stroller belt (merci beaucoup for that one!), my mum taught him to say “non” (again, merci) and my dad taught him to kiss (okay, that one is nice). He also picked up words from classic nursery rhymes, such as “bateau” (“Bateau sur l’eau” Bateau sur l’eau, La rivière, la rivière…”) and “au pas” (“À cheval gendarme, joli bataillon…”).
Well, he was so busy learning new stuff that he forgot he was supposed to sleep once in a while. The afternoon nap is now a distant memory—Mark doesn’t sleep from morning to night. This makes days exhausting, not to mention that Mark is whiny when he is tired—and he most definitely is even when he refuses to nap.
He says a few words very distinctively in all three languages: “maman”, “non”, “bateau” in French, “door”, “moon”, “bye bye” and “banana” in English and “mei” (“no” or “no more”) and “nai nai” (“milk” or any drink) in Chinese.
He loves playing with other kids at the park, he can kick (and throw) a ball very well and when he doesn’t eat sand just to piss me off, he enjoys the beach. I have to use the stroller again, though, because he no longer follows me quietly—he wants to go wherever he likes and he runs away when something catches his eye (a dog, a truck, a store, etc.).
We haven’t started potty-training yet (I should!). It will be the next big step, I guess. That, and keeping him busy all day long… oh boy.
All in all, Mark is a fairly normal toddler.