spitting mad


The things kids do on their own that no one has ever shown them have so far been one of my favorite things about parenting. They really do rub their eyes when sleepy. They really do say “nom nom nom” while eating, even though they’ve never seen LOLcats. And sometimes, they show me the roots of cliched expressions. 

Being two is hard. The natural posture of toddlers seems to be that of a slightly suicidal anthropologist trying to understand human behavior and the laws of physics, often through reckless, risky experimentation. The natural posture of parents is to thwart these tiny scientists at every turn. This makes the small people very very mad. And this anger is much larger than the small people attempting to contain it, so they find ways to vent it. Etta’s default response to anger and frustration is usually to chuck whatever she’s holding, often right at me. This is an impulse I understand. I have felt for myself the therapeutic release of hurling an ugly Christmas mug with shattering force onto the driveway. It’s cathartic.

But her other impulse is to spit on the ground. Seriously. She gets spitting mad. The other morning, she and her sister were sitting at their little table having a breakfast of scrambled eggs, banana, and mandarin orange segments. Etta really likes the oranges. And when she finished hers, she started trying to take her sister’s, which led to her sister wailing “TAKE IT BACK!” in protest (give/take are confusing concepts). When I made her return the swiped segment, she got up from the table, flung herself to the floor, stood back up, and started spitting onto the carpet. “pfft pfft pfft!” Where did that impulse even come from? Who thinks, “I’m angry! I think spitting would feel good in this moment!” Etta. That’s who.

I really can’t wait for the day she gets hopping mad and starts jumping on one foot. Do your kids do anything funny when they’re mad? Or figure out how to do totally cliched things without being told?


4 Replies to “spitting mad”

  1. My 3yo will say, “I’m gonna break myself” in the most threatening tone possible at that age. Also, “You go to the clouds.” Which is his equivalent to “You go to hell.”


  2. My newly-turned 3 year old daughter crosses her arms, sticks out her bottom lip and says, in a dead serious voice, “You broke my heart.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.


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