In ancient Parent-lore, there is a legend. A tale of tears, gasps, and flailing limbs. A tale that strikes fear in the hearts of even the most experienced and gallant of parents.

According to this legend, children across the land vanish. After months of agreement, snuggles, and always-happy bathtimes, their panicked mothers and fathers are horrified to find that their children have been replaced . . . by two-year-olds.

The Terrible Twos, they call them. The Terrible Twos have come for you.

Now, I’m convinced that this legend is simply that. A legend. Why? Because the Terrible Twos are spoken of as an inevitability . . . something that is experienced by almost everyone. Something that provides parents across the globe with some frustrating, headache-inducing common ground.

So why does it seem like I’m the ONLY ONE IN THE WHOLE DAMN CITY with a toddler who is experiencing these Terrible Twos?

Charlie and I went to the park yesterday. This very nice boy (just turned 2 a month ago, by the way) shared his sand toys with Charlie, and actually let him play with the much cooler green shovel, even though it was clear he desperately longed to scoop things with it. Those two played contentedly for a good 30 minutes, and then chased each other down the slides for a while after that.

Then it was time for our little friend to go home. I swear, his grandpa said, “My dear Thomas, I say it’s jolly good time to head home now. Your dear grandmum has prepared us a lovely lunch of mashy peas and bread pudding.”

To which Thomas replied, “Why of course, dear Grandfather! Let me just try and poff my beloved green shovel from my old boy Charles over here and we’ll be on our jolly way!” And, after I pried the green shovel out of Charlie’s clawed hands, Thomas happily hopped into his stroller and called out, “God bless us! Everyone!”

I swear, that’s how it all went down.

Now, fast-forward about 45 minutes. Charlie and I have been at the park since 9:30. It is now almost 11:40. This is plenty of time for a park trip. So, just like all the parenting books tell you, I say, “Okay, Charlie, we’re getting ready to leave now. You can go down the slide one more time, and then we’ll go bye-bye.”

You see, it’s not good to simply say, “Okay, all done. Time to go,” because that would obviously cause them to have terrible attachment issues with their pool toys or something.

ANYWAY.

Charlie seems to look at me in understanding as he climbs up for one more trip down the slide. And then I pick him up and take him over to the stroller.

Have you ever tried holding a totally amped-up, crazy excited Jack Russel Terrier? Well, a totally amped-up, crazy-PISSED toddler is very similar to that. Except this one wears shoes and knows just how to knock your glasses off your face.

So here I am, trying to force a screaming child into a stroller while he does his very best impression of an unyielding steel beam. Moms whose kids are busy giving them foot rubs and feeding them grapes stare at me like I forgot to put on pants this morning. I’m not sure if the wetness on my face is sweat from embarrassment and effort or if it’s toddler-snot.

Do people hide in caves with their toddlers from age 2 to 3? Is that why I’m not seeing this? Is Charlie playing a sick, not-funny joke on me? Are all the moms playing a sick, not-funny joke on me?

I don’t know, but until I start seeing more flailing limbs and flying glasses, it’s going to be difficult for me to believe in this “widespread phenomenon.”

What about you guys? Someone please tell me you’ve had to retrieve your glasses out of the sand . . . or grass . . . or pool. Anything to make me feel like I’m not a complete parenting failure.