I’m not sure who coined the term “Terrible Twos,” but I suspect they returned their 2 year old to the hospital for a full refund, because if they’d ever been around a 3 year old they would have done all they could to raise public awareness that 2 year olds, when compared to children who’ve circled the Earth one more time, are delightful company.

The term “Terrible Twos” has not only damaged the reputations of 2 year olds, it’s caused billions of parents to let down their guard on their kid’s third birthday, only to have their sanity ravaged by a toddler that can go from angelic to Attila the Hun in the time it takes to flush a toilet.

I mention toilet flushing because that is one of an infinite number of things that now flips Linus’ tantrum switch. He wants to flush the toilet after you use it, every time, no matter what. The problem is, after decades of using a toilet, flushing it immediately is second nature. But when he hears the sound of a flushing toilet from across the house he shouts, “No! Linus flush! LINUS FLUSH!,” and comes running into the bathroom, drops to his knees and screams at the now refilling commode.

But it’s not just the toilet. If we don’t let Linus hang up the keys when we get home, he loses it. If we don’t let Linus turn off the television before bed time, he loses it. If we don’t let Linus sit at whatever seat he’s decided he must sit at during dinner, he loses it. Basically, anytime something, no matter how trivial, doesn’t go the boy’s way, he’s reduced to tears in an instant. I estimate during a typical waking hour the boy loses it at least seven times, which makes what happened last night so interesting.

When Tricia got off work last night, we took the boys to the Lee County Fair, and the flashing lights, the spinning rides, the barking men advertising unwinnable games, the funnel cake, the fried everything, reduced our threenager to speechless wonder. He rode a couple of rides, which his scaredy-cat father still won’t do, and he watched the heifer show with utmost interest, and even ate dinner well and only tried to run away from us twice —a new record for Linus.

Oliver, who is too small to really enjoy the fair, sat in his stroller and sucked his thumb and was perfect like always. Oliver is so good in fact that I’m starting to think he is God’s way of tricking us into having more children, but we’re not falling for it. I’ve seen Linus go from quietly playing with Thomas the Tank Engine to weeping and gnashing his teeth all because his mother turned out a lamp. I know Oliver would turn any day now, so two kids are plenty.

But I have decided, at least for the next year or so, we will be traveling with the fair. So to all our friends in town, we will see you when the fair returns next year, and to everyone else, “Step right up and see the amazing, the spectacular, the mind-blowing 3 year old who can go hours without pitching a fit!”

Chad Gibbs resides in Auburn and is the author of “God & Football,” “Love Thy Rival” and “Jesus Without Borders.” To learn more about Gibbs’ projects and to purchase his books, visit www.chadgibbs.com.

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