HAVING a 31-month-old kid around the house is great.
For one thing, he cracks me and the Supportive Spouse up just by being there. Having got the knack of conversation, my loquacious son Julian has turned into an all-singing, all-dancing, story-telling entertainment machine.
While Saturday Night Live comedienne Tina Fey mimics the Republican vice-presidential hopeful, hockey mum Sarah Palin, to a T, Julian can do better. He gives a killer impersonation of a Republic of Singapore hopeless and hokey mum with vices - that is, me.
I first started noticing how much my mannerisms have rubbed off on him when he started to chastise me for nothing a couple of months ago.
"I'm so very angry with you," he announced one day, standing before me with an irritated expression, as I sat on the couch minding my own business.
"You're so very naughty! I'm going to throw you away!" he added. Then I got it. He was mimicking my displeasure. But the inspiration didn't stop there.
Soon, he was adopting the Singlish intonation I subconsciously use to issue instructions and notes of caution. "Be careful ah. Slippery ah," he would sometimes say seriously when we had to mince our way across a wet floor.
In the car, he might pipe up from the back like a naggy old soul. "Why are you going so fast" Slow down, Mummy. Let that car go first," he would say.
In the mornings, he would wake up and ask me to stay in bed: "Wait, okay? Don't move ah." He would then bustle round, putting a cartoon DVD on for my viewing pleasure - just like I used to do for him.
It's really nice, actually. I feel like I have a pint-sized boyfriend, rather than a Mini-Me, squiring me here and there.
People talk about the terrible twos, but my experience has been vastly different from all the nasty temper tantrums and unreasonable behaviour that other parents and parenting resources have warned me about. Sorry to seem smug, but I'm wondering if - and hoping - they have passed us by.
Of course, Julian has his "off" days. He has an annoying habit of running away whenever it's time to put on his pants. That irked his father so much that the Supportive Spouse once flung Julian's trousers at him in a fit of rage.
But right now, I'm enjoying Julian's company more than ever. I suspect that how naughty a two-year-old is perceived to be is relative: Relative to how he behaved when he was an infant, what his personality is like compared to other children his age, and what the supervising adult's tolerance levels are.
Perhaps the trick to avoiding toddler meltdowns is simply to recognise that two-year-old boys and girls are full-fledged individuals with very stubborn but no less valid minds of their own, and give them enough room to exercise their freedom. What has struck me most about the not-so-terrible twos is how a child starts to mirror his caregiver's actions, often developing an independent desire to take care of others.
It is this emerging ability in Julian to think of the happiness of others that I am most touched by.
And for parents who wonder whether the hassle of raising a young one will ever pay off, that must mark a turning point from dogged frustration to satisfaction. Excuse me while I bask in a period of bliss, fingers crossed, until his third birthday.