But at the same time, he's so freaking cute.
It's like he's got free will now, and he knows it. He can say no, and argue his point. He can give a reason why he doesn't wat to do something, or why he did something wrong. He can say he doesn't want what's for dinner, or that he doesn't want to go somewhere. He talks about how he "wishes" daddy was home or "wishes" mummy would stay in his room during nap time. He can change his mind, which he himself finds fascinating and hilarious. He realizes his mistakes, like when he thought one thing but it turned out to be wrong, or if he forgot something or didn't notice something. "I didn't NOTICE them!!!" he yells and laughs, when he sees someone at the playground he hadn't previously acknowledged.
And all that is fine. Really, it's the whining. [note to the OED: I propose an alternate spelling for "whining": "whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining". It's more onomatopoetic.] Apparently the correct response to any question, request, or general statement is "but WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????????!"
And it's not just the question. In the morning, when he asks Why, I can answer "because blah blah blah". But by 5:00pm, the only answer I have patience for is "because I effing said so!!!" It's a patience thing. And the sound. I read once that whining in a toddler is like crying in a pre-verbal baby. It's just a way of communicating. But I have to ask: why would a child make a noise that drives a parent close to homicide? That doesn't seem evolutionary beneficial.
The funny part is that an hour or so away from him, I have trouble remembering why it's so terrible. Even now -- he's been playing adorably with a neighbor kid for nearly an hour, leaving me free to write this whole post, and I can't remember why I wanted to throttle him this morning. But I know when we get home, he's going to say something that me want to sell him on craigslist.