He loves Jesus, but he is the baby.

I adore this time of year…gathering my boys under the Christmas tree, letting them explore the boxes of ornaments, sitting on the cozy polar bear rug reading Christmas books. All should be peaceful (at least as much as possible with 3 small boys).

However, our 2 year old has a meltdown Every Single Time we mention Baby Jesus. He emits loud, piercing cries of, “NO! I’m the baby!” punctuated by emphatic gestures to himself that I’m worried may injure his eye.

He also starts hyperventilating when we mention putting hay in the crib for the Baby Jesus: “NO! That’s MY bed!”

Ah, 2 year olds (JM refers to the antics of this endearing age as “keeping it real”.) It was kind of cute the first time. Now it’s very loud. No amount of rocking and telling him he’s my baby or any explanation can convince him that we are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Christ in our hearts and that Baby Jesus won’t actually be moving in to take his place in the crib.

Since this is  not my first time in 2 year old world, I have followed the sage advice of MaryAlice and given myself permission to do what I gotta do. Which in this case includes placing a temporary moratorium on the phrase “Baby Jesus” and speaking instead of the Christ Child (which I find really lovely) or “when Jesus was born.” The crib may only be referred to as the manger.

Of course I anticipate many 2 year old meltdowns during Advent. But I see no need to create more opportunities. So we will read our books and construct our nativity scenes with the Christ Child in his manger and, God willing, keep the peace in our home and our hearts.

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  • Kat

    Tex, he is just so cute! It sounds like he may have inherited some of his godsister’s “spunk” :)nMy 3 year-old does something similar…Whenever anyone has a boo-boo, she instantly needs to have the same boo-boo – “my toe is hurt, too, I need a bandaid!!” Just like you said, it’s cute the first couple of times, and then it just becomes loud 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Tex, HILARIOUS and super-adorable. My now-2.5 year old went through a major baby phase between 2 and 2.5, she only responded to “Baby Eloise” (named for Lisa’s babe), but now she’s all big girl. I have to say I’m glad!!, because it’s also been accompanied by better behavior and self-control. Although it’s way too comfortable being in the second trimester and having no other babies : )nnYou have to remember this and tell him stories about it as he gets older–these Advent meltdowns and jealousy of baby Jesus will be a favorite in family memory for sure!!

  • Marion

    Dear Kat – I’m afraid this will seem a bit like cyber-stalking, but I have been hoping to get in touch with you after following you Builders for a long time, and after you were lovely enough to link to at least one of my articles in Faith and Family (on Adoration, etc.). I believe we live very close to each other in Houston and would love to get together! If you’re interested, my email is rnForgive me for this very public contact (and perhaps you could erase the post for me?!) Looking forward to being in touch!rnrnMarion F.C.

  • Anonymous

    Haha! Our two year old insists that there are two babies in our family. He’s definitely resisting being a “big boy” and allowing his baby sister to be the baby…it’s cute, but it gets old fast. Love the phrase “Christ Child.” We will have to use that one more often around here. Love all these Advent posts ladies! I haven’t had much time on the computer lately because we are battling a stomach bug…but I’m enjoying all the links and ideas.

  • Mary Alice

    Stomach bug started tonight in our house, did you give it to us over the phone, Red?nnTex, I love that you have found creative solutions to this. One of the things about toddler meltdowns is figuring out the triggers, which gets so much easier once they can communicate a little bit. nnYour children will sound so sophisticated when they speak of the Christ Child! nnRelated the the straw in the crib, our new pastor grew up with this tradition and so this year he has put a huge manger in the vestibule of the church so that the whole parish can put straw in for the good deeds they do throughout the week. It is so dear to me, I can’t imagine how it makes his mother feel! These little things do impact the children for the rest of their lives.