Middle Child Monkey. The “cute one.” The charmer. The innocent. The veritable Davy Jones of the family…

He done turned to the Dark Side.

It has been anticipated. We were waiting for this. For almost four years we’ve been waiting for this sweet child to have some issues. He’s going through his toddler puberty…and this has been building up.

The impetus? Baby Beany. The cute baby. The one who is held. The one whose needs are often met first because she can’t get her bottle herself, unlike her relatively independent big brothers.

Middle Monkey has just started to figure out that Baby Beany is a permanent fixture in the family. In his mind, she has usurped the Cute and Demanding role that he spent his whole life perfecting.

He struggles. He also has the loudest voice of any kid I’ve ever met, so his struggles often become my desire for noise-cancelling headphones loud.

He ignores (only) me. He lashes out at (only) me. He doesn’t use manners with (only) me.  We calmly discipline him…in the “teaching” sense, not in the punishment sense (although the hitting got him a time out).  We lavish him with attention when we catch him doing the right thing.

He is learning that the misbehaving doesn’t get him the attention he craves.

He soulfully ripped up a picture he drew in camp, telling his counselor that I wouldn’t like it.

He claims he’s having nightmares about three seconds after we tuck him into bed.  Four or five times an evening, Huzzy and I hear the patter of his feet and are greeted with a bashful smile and a “I had a bad dream.”  And each time we hug and kiss him and send him back to bed.

Last night, we had storms, so he ended up in bed with me.  I am not sure how a three-year-old kid can take up 99% of a king sized bed (and about 99% of my face with his foot)…but he did. And he still managed to fall out of bed.

He’s breaking my heart, even when it’s textbook like this.

However, he’s got to be careful not to veer into amusing territory…like when he ran up to me this morning and told me he HAD to get a washcloth for his face because he had “Kyra Germs.”

Harder to pity the lad when he’s outright hilarious.

Restocking Middle Monkey hugs, though. I’ve been there.

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