Your description of your toddler comes right out of the child-development textbooks. That time of life begins with a bang (like the crash of a lamp or a porcelain vase) at about eighteen months of age and runs hot and heavy until about the third birthday. A toddler is the most hard-nosed opponent of law and order, and he honestly believes that the universe circles around him. In his cute little way, he is curious and charming and funny and lovable and exciting and selfish and demanding and rebellious and destructive. Comedian Bill Cosby, father of five, had some personal experience with toddlers. He is quoted as saying, "Give me two hundred active two-year-olds and I could conquer the world."
Children between fifteen and thirty-six months of age do not want to be restricted or inhibited in any manner, nor are they inclined to conceal their opinions. Bedtime becomes an exhausting, dreaded ordeal each night. They want to play with everything in reach, particularly fragile and expensive ornaments. They prefer using their pants rather than the potty and insist on eating with their hands. And most of what goes in their mouth is not food. When they break loose in a store, they run as fast as their little legs will carry them. They pick up the kitty by its ears and then scream bloody murder when scratched. They want Mommy within three feet of them all day, preferably in the role of their full-time playmate. Truly, the toddler is a tiger--but a precious one.
I hope you won't get too distressed by the frustrations of the toddler years. It is a very brief period of development that will be over before you know it. With all its challenges, it is also a delightful time when your little boy is at his cutest. Approach him with a smile and a hug. But don't fail to establish yourself as the boss during this period. All the years to come will be influenced by the relationship you build during this eighteen-month window.