Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Terrible Thirty-Threes

“Can we get some pabbas for dinner tonight?” I asked my wife Kara on our drive home from daycare.

“Pabbas!” our son Evan yelled from the backseat. Pabbas is a foreign delicacy made of dough, cheese, sauce and your choice of toppings. Many people who aren’t our toddler refer to it as pizza.

“Pabbas!” Evan reiterated, making sure his pro-pabbas vote had been counted.

“Mmmmm, pabbas,” I agreed.

“Babe, don’t call it that,” Kara said to me. She’s worried that repeating his baby-talk back to him will encourage him to keep using the wrong words forever, like how he’ll probably show up to his first job interview wearing Buzz Lightyear shoes that light up when he walks into the conference room.

“Dat! Dat!” Evan yelled. I have a vague memory of a line from an old movie about how the only thing psychiatrists do to earn their money is repeat the last two words their patients said, but make them sound like a question: “Kill somebody?” “Parents’ fault?” “Pickled peppers?”

If that’s true, Evan’s already halfway to getting his psychiatric license, except he usually prefers to shout the last word back.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up in front of him,” I said. “We can just distract him by driving past this truck.”

“Dutch!” Evan yelled, pointing at the delivery truck as we drove past, doing his best to repeat the last word I said and keeping alive his chances of pointing out a million consecutive trucks.

“It’s like having our own parrot in the backseat,” Kara said.

“Polly want a cracker?” I asked.

“Cwackoo,” Evan replied, then he lifted his sippy cup over his head and spiked it onto the floorboard, screaming, “No milk! No!”

He’s not happy that we graduated him to sippy cups from bottles of milk. Evan has been drinking water out of sippy cups for a year, but for some reason, he can’t stand having his milk served in anything other than a bottle. I guess I’d be a little miffed, too, if all of a sudden people started serving me coffee in margarita glasses.

We had to be the cruel parents and take his bottles away because he turned two years old a few weeks ago. The other two-year-olds at daycare are already using sippy cups and reading Proust. We feel bad taking away something he likes just because he’s too old for it, but he’ll get us back in fifty years when he takes our car keys.

When people find out we have a two-year-old, they always bring up the Terrible Twos, which must be a phrase invented by someone who didn’t have kids, but occasionally had to suffer their tantrums in the grocery store. Infants are infinitely more difficult than two-year-olds, plus their necks don’t even work.

The other day, when I came to pick Evan up after work, he ran across the playground yelling, “Dadda! Dadda! Dadda!” and threw his arms around my knees. Even just a few short months ago, when Kara and I would walk into daycare, he’d glance in our direction, then ignore us and start playing faster. You could see his little mind thinking, “Oh man, I gotta bake this one last pretend muffin before they take me back to Boringville.” And a few months before that, we’d be lucky to get a belch hello. If two is terrible, then I hope three is even worse.

As we continued our discussion about dinner on our way home, Kara said, “I don’t know, we just had pizza.”

“Pabbas!” Evan yelled. I like the voting record our new dinner swing voter is compiling. I just have to remember to never end a sentence with the word “asparagus” around him.

You can hit Mike Todd’s eye like a big pabbas pie at

No comments:

Post a Comment