This past Sunday, Miss Zoey decided to pull out all of the stops and challenge everything we tried to tell her. No, don’t pull of the CDs off the shelves. No, you can’t run naked around the house without a diaper on. EVERYTHING. I know she’s only almost two (next month. Gah!), but for some reason, she decided that Sunday was going to be the day that she tried to see if she could push her parents over the edge. The bad thing was, we spent a few hours at my sister’s house for my niece Keagan’s birthday party and yes, Zoey did her best to drive me nuts there too.

On the plus side, Greg and I marveled at how comfortable she seemed in the large group of people (between our family, my sister’s husband’s family and family friends, there’s always a large crowd). Since Zoey was a small baby, she’s always seemed anxious when she was around more than a few people–especially when she wasn’t at home. But Sunday, she acted like she OWNED that house. Crowds? No problem. In fact, she ended up charming my niece Skylar’s friend and sitting on her lap for a few minutes.

Who is this kid?

I got ma fork. Where’s the cake?

While a lot of people were getting their lunch on, Zoey, Greg and I wandered outside with a few of the kids and watched as they played with sidewalk chalk (quite possibly the coolest thing ever invented, by the way):

Zoey and her cousin, Rowan

When Zoey got tired of drawing, she decided to explore a bit and ended up in the backyard where she discovered the trampoline. This was the first time she’s been on a trampoline and it was clear she thought it was AWESOME. Her cousin, Rowan, joined her and they played Ring Around the Rosy and giggled and bounced and just generally had a great time.

Doesn’t she look like an adorable little angel?

It was shortly after this picture was taken that she decided to she was old enough to call the shots. We had headed back inside to watch Keagan open her presents, but Zoey got bored with just roaming around the living room. So, she decided that she and Mommy should check out the bathroom. The kids’ bathroom happened to have a shower curtain with a monkey on it that caught Zoey’s eye and I had to do some fast talking to finally get her to leave the room. But on the way back from the living room we passed THE STAIRS. OMG THEY HAVE STAIRS. WE MUST GO UP AND DOWN THE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Okay, so I went down the stairs with her and she did a long walk-through of the downstairs rooms. And then she wanted to go back upstairs where the action was happening. And then she wanted to go back downstairs. I had told her that when we got upstairs, we were staying up there, but clearly, I am just a silly Mommy, who doesn’t understand that my toddler has all of the power. Or at least, Zoey thought so. When she tried to go back down the stairs, I said no and Zoey threw fit #1–right in front of everyone watching Keagan open her presents.

I picked Zoey up and carried her to the empty mudroom and talked to her until she calmed down. Then we returned to the party.

At this point, it was time for ice cream and cake. Zoey said she wanted some and I figured it would make more sense if she and I shared a piece because I figured she’d have a few bites and be done. Not so. Girlfriend plopped down on a chair and insisted on feeding herself the ice cream (she did REALLY GOOD with the spoon, by the way). On her last bite, she decided she’d like to walk around the room. Holding the spoon full of ice cream. Naturally, I said no. And naturally, she threw fit #2.

This fit was of the screaming-while-body-is-completely-rigid variety–right smack dab in the middle of my sister’s living room. So. Greg and I decided it was time to leave. Two tantrums was enough and we’re trying to teach Zoey that there are consequences for being naughty. Greg got her shoes and I tried to put them on her, which led to fit #3.

After that, we headed to the car and went home. Greg and I were absolutely shocked because Zoey has NEVER acted this way before. Sure, she throws tantrums at home every once in a while. But this? Three tantrums in the space of a couple of hours? It stressed me out because, of course, all of it had happened in front of about forty or fifty guests, most of which have children of their own. And I didn’t understand what Zoey was thinking.

But really, is it anything more than she was testing the limits? She’s quickly nearing her second birthday, but I’ve been saying we’ve been knee-deep in the ‘terrible twos’ since she was around eighteen months, possibly earlier. So, what do we do? According to my friends on Facebook, the ‘terrible threes’ are even worse and then there’s the dreaded teenage years. Dear Lord, give me strength.

I’m stocking up on chocolate now.

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