The two-year-old: Complicated. Lovable. But most of all, psychotic.

8:30 p.m. Thursday. Henry is being tucked in for the night.

Henry: [scratching his ankle] I have an itch.

Me: [Applying hydrocortisone cream to the poor kid’s rashy leg.] How’s that?

Henry: You made it feel better.

Me: Well, I’m glad!

Henry: Thank you for the cream.

Me: [startled] You’re welcome, Henry.

Henry: Thank you for making my rash feel better. I love my Mommy. [Puts a hand out to touch my cheek.] You’re soft.

Me: Who are you and what did you do with my son?

8:30 a.m., Friday. Henry and I are eating oatmeal.

Henry: [sounding eerily like an air horn, if an air horn could speak] No, not this bowl!

Me: You want another bowl?

Henry: [weeping] No!

Me: [sipping my tea calmly while Henry glares at me through his tears of rage]

Henry: Don’t drink your tea!

Me: But I like my tea.

Henry: No--don’t like it!

Me: I’m going to go sit over there now. [I move to the couch. Wouldn’t you?]

Henry: Don’t sit over there! Stand up!

Me: [My resolve falling apart because he’s making his oatmeal soggier with his tears, I stand] Do you want me to sit with you?

Henry: Don’t stand up!

Me: [beginning to sit]

Henry: Don’t sit! Don’t stand!

Me: Ookay.