Oliver is 2 years old now.  He’s not quite 2 and a half, but he’s getting there.  A few months back, he developed what is perhaps the most annoying habit in the entire world.  This sweet, adorable, loving little boy will occasionally and without warning, scream at the top of his tiny lungs while smiling his cute little face off.  Just to clarify what I mean by this, it’s more of a shriek than a scream.  It’s a high pitched, ear splitting noise that pierces your very soul.  No place or time is off limits to this either.  He could be in acceptable places like a large outdoor playground or a field or in a crowded supermarket or, my personal…whatever the opposite of favorite is…the car.

We had a long car ride home yesterday from Monica’s family reunion upstate.  Parker was sleeping soundly and we figured that Oliver would conk out so we’d have a peaceful ride.  No such luck.  Oliver was up the entire way back, screaming like a madman.  Despite us trying everything we could possibly think of to stop him from doing this short of stuffing a sock in his mouth, he kept gleefully doing it.  It got to the point that Parker woke up and was crying.  To paint this mental picture for you, we’ve got Oliver shrieking, Parker crying, Monica trying to soothe them both, and me driving with gritted teeth, hoping to get home as fast as possible so I can get the hell out of that car and perhaps jump out of a window.

We got home and I dragged Oliver upstairs, changed him into his pajamas, threw him in bed, and then went to unload the car.  Meanwhile, he was clearly not tired, so he proceeded to get up and yell for me at the top of the stairs.  After taking a minute to calm down, I went up there, put him back in bed, tucked him in, and then closed the door.  This set him off on a fit, despite the fact that he told me to leave and to close the door.  Kids can’t make up their minds.  I let him cry it out for a few minutes before going in there and calmly tucking him in again.  I sat with him for a little while and it was like everything was totally normal.  He was my sweet little boy again and all was right in the world.  All of the aggravation I had built up during the car ride washed away.  Here was my son, curled up in bed, clutching his teddy bear under his Spider-Man blanket and he just wanted me to sit with him for a few minutes before he fell asleep.

That’s the thing about being a parent.  It can be the most rewarding, literally awesome thing in the entire world one minute and the next, it can be a terrifying, soul-crushing beast.  Despite this, I wouldn’t change a thing.  The good far outweighs the bad. Just know that some day I will not only wake my son up in the middle of the night just to hang out, but I’ll also be sure to shriek at an inopportune time in his life.  Maybe at his high school graduation or his wedding day.  Dad doesn’t forget, buddy.