The transition from babyhood to toddlerdom is a bit like watching someone experience spiritual possession. The pea-soup-spewing kind of possession, where everyone who survives an encounter with the individual feels both relieved and horrified.
What happened to this sweet and innocent person? How did he become this unrecognizable monster?
These are questions mothers ask themselves about a year and a half after their babies are born. When something like a haunting takes over their house. Important items like keys and wallets disappear. Contents of cabinets are thrown across the floor in the blink of an eye. Shoes find new homes in the trashcan. And at night, when the parents try to surrender to sweet, sweet sleep, the echo of barefoot baby footsteps make the hairs stand up on their arms.
We recognized the first real signs of paranormal activity in our own home a few weeks ago, but things came to a head one night before dinner. After shoving pans of food into the oven to roast, I turned to busy myself with something by the washer and dryer. One minute — maybe two — passed. And then I heard the crash.
With such gusto I nearly gave myself whiplash, I turned back into the kitchen. And there he was: my indomitable second born. Sticky, bare feet planted on the kitchen table, hands held in the air, devilish grin pushing back his formerly angelic cheeks. And there were the victims of the sudden outburst — a dinner plate and drinking glass — shattered into a million pieces on the floor.
Later that night, while cleaning the remnants of dinner flung onto the floor by the same tiny hands, I had a gut-wrenching revelation. His loud screams, frequent reply of “NO!” to every verbal communication sent his way and erratic behavior all pointed to one truth: There are now two toddlers in my house.
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of two boys.