I'm loathe to admit it but I finally understand why so many pesky people warn you about all the perils of age 3. Within the last few weeks Jude has reached a before unknown level of unmitigated jerkiness, and I'm not quite ready to say 3.5 is my least favorite age but let's just say if I get punched in the chest one more time I might turn into a 300-foot irradiated lizard and destroy a nearby village with no memory of how I got there. Just... the irrational rage, and the screaming, and the punching? Really just the punching. Can that stop now? Thanks in advance.
Here's an example of an everyday conversation in the grumbles household right now:
I walk into the living room, holding an empty cup. "Jude, Dad bought juice. Would you like some juice?"
Jude turns his head and starts staring me down, searing off my skin with the heat of one thousand suns. "I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU!"
"Well that sucks, sad story man. But..." I point slowly and emphatically at the cup, "Do. You. Want. Some. Juice?" Point at cup. Point at cup.
My clothes are actually afire now from the power of his death stare and terrified mice are abandoning ship, pouring out of my orifices.
"-- YOU'RE NOT MY MOM ANYMORE." And he turns his head back towards his puzzle/alphabet game/episode of Phineas and Ferb and continues on his merry way.
"...So no juice then? Great." Shuffle back out of the room, /end scene.
He's the most adorable anarchist I know.
--Except, of course, when he isn't being a huge asshole/typical 3.5-year-old he's the smartest, funniest, most ridiculous person I know and I can't get enough of him I just want to eat him up gnahhhhhh. Ten minutes after the punching stops I'm ready to scoop him up and nom on his Jude-face while he screams in terror because his mother is a love-raptor with a hunger for moar love.
The good news for the safety of the public at large is that this very special behavior seems to be reserved for me and me alone. There's a little white-linen covered table in the corner of his heart with a placard that says I Heart Mom!! and then he runs over smashes the table to bits with a hammer and gets up in its face and tells it it sucks real bad. Is this the price one pays to raise a lovely, spicy young human? Because OUTSIDE the table in his heart which is reserved only for me he is funny and polite and quick to be helpful and kind. He seems to be getting along in life quite fine, great, even, except the part where he is mean. To me.
There seems to be a special developmental phase that only comes around right before he learns something big. Some awesome new skill is rolling around in there, sucking up all his brain bandwidth and holding it hostage with learning, meanwhile his skills of acting like a boy instead of a feral dog are rendered null and void. The week before he learned to walk he screamed like mad for hours on end; the week before he started talking in sentences he threw things at my head; the month before he started asking me existential questions about the purpose of space and stars he threw my heart in the trashcan and set it on fire.
By Monday he'll be ready to rebuild a motorcycle engine with his eyes closed. RIGHT? I mean, totally worth it.