The terrible twos were hard. Three was tough, too. Apparently four isn't much different. The problems have changed, but yet Jacob is still incredibly difficult to deal with.
By the time we were driving home from our vacation, Craig and I were both left shaking our heads. Jacob had been made us both nuts the whole trip. Much of it can probably be chalked up to sleep deprivation. He was off his schedule, not napping normally, and kept having those coughing fits in the middle of the night, so I know that didn't help matters. But even well-rested we know that he can be a handful. He's an extremely determined little boy, and when he gets something in his head, there's no stopping him. Hence why he's running around our yard in 90-degree weather wearing long sleeves and long pants. He's convinced that baseball guys can play in long pants, so he can too. He literally had at least four layers on top today, and I was dying in one short-sleeved one.
When we were wandering the streets of Cooperstown, whenever there was something he wanted to buy or do, he repeated it over and over, never taking no for an answer. Tonight he walked through Walmart, annoyed first because he wanted to ride in a cart (which he never does), then because his crankiness about the cart (in the form of hitting me) meant we couldn't go get a treat after our shopping. He yelled and whined the entire time about the same issues, right until we got home.
In general there's just a lot of kicking and hitting and ignoring. He doesn't listen, and when you yell at him for that, he fights back. Nothing seems to work. No amount of yelling, taking away privileges, or even spankings work. He'll insist he wants to be a good boy, but when the time comes to make the right decision, it rarely happens. It's very frustrating, and it really does make life difficult around here. He can't be reasoned with, either. No matter how many times we explain to him that he'd have time to play in the morning if he just got ready more quickly, he still needs to be told twenty times to get off the potty, wash his hands, get dressed, etc. He knows he's being naughty but thinks it's funny. He tests us at every turn, and no matter how consistent we try to be, it doesn't seem to resonate with him because he's right back at it at his next opportunity. It's infuriating and we're just not sure what to do about it.
We obviously love him to pieces, but it makes it hard to do much of anything fun when the suggestion is met with resistance or we have to go through 10 "costume changes" to get around to doing it. We'd love to show him the world, if only it wasn't so hard to convince him of that. Hopefully someday it will all click with him and he'll figure out that his tantrums don't work. He has moments between the tantrums that are downright sweet and pleasant, so we know it's possible, but when he shows his dark side, it's almost like it will never end. The story of parenthood is that those good moments are the ones that get us through, but when they're few and far between, it leaves us a little low on fuel. But as always, tomorrow is another day. Wish us luck...