Is our "terrible twos" more terrible than everyone else's?

A naked, screaming toddler hiding underneath our dining room table, yelling raggedly, "No diaper! No jammies!" isn't normal.

But in parenthood, it is. God. Is this level of tantruming normal among two-year-olds, or do we have an independence prodigy on our hands?

Take last night for example. She was happy, playing, and generally in a good spirit, and even seems like she's willing to work with me to do things, so I tell her, "Okay, it's time for a bath so we can read books--"

NO BATH!!!!

Wait--what? Where'd that come from?

At this point, she hasn't had a bath in a couple of days because of previous tantrums, and we decided to skip straight to bedtime. She needs one. NO BAAAAAAAAATH! she screams as I wash her up and dry her as expeditiously as possible, but she runs into the living room, still yelling.

Five minutes in, I'm thinking "Is it over yet?" as I try to interrupt the screaming long enough to get in a kind word edgewise. "Goo! Little one! To read books, we need to put on a diaper." NO BOOKS! NO DIAPER! NO SHIRT! NO BEDTIME!

7 minutes in, I'm realizing just how strong my toddler's abs are. And how fast her tiny little arms can work to undo a diaper after I finally get it on for the first time. NO DIAPER! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

10 minutes in, I start wondering if the neighbors are going to call building security. If there's no rule against excessive crying in the building rules and regs, there will be soon. If the residents don't band together and try to make it an old folks only condo. NO SHIRT! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

15 minutes in, the dog starts barking and I worry it's security at the door. At this point, I'd gladly have security babysit so I can take a breather. NO BEDTIME! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

20 minutes in, I really do wonder if it will be over soon as I wrestle the diaper onto her for the 20th time.

Finally, I decree it bedtime, nakey and all, and explain it to her in between screams, and turn out the light (amid even more screams), feeling like I'm failing at motherhood, somehow, and my God, these terrible twos seem like they're absolutely horrid, everyone else's can't be this bad.

Suddenly, it ends. Not because of the light, or because I keep talking to her in an even voice, or because I finally gave up on the diaper and the shirt, or because of bedtime.

It ends, just as mysteriously as it began.

"Books please?"

"Okay we can read books. Let's put on a diaper first."

And she lets me.

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