Let me start by saying that I have three young children ranging in age from three to nine. My kids are precious to me, and I cannot imagine my life without them. How could I live without having known their sweet laughter, their gentle natures, and their inquisitive minds? I take great joy in their triumphs and simple pleasures, and I feel their struggles and pain like a knife in my heart. I am lucky since I have not made any choices on my children’s behalf that I regret, so far. But none of them are teenagers yet, so I’m sure I’ll be changing my tune in a few years. As much as my children have been a source of fulfillment, I have discovered that my little crew can be enigmatic.
For instance my daughter, (whom I will call Julie at her request) is a vivacious nine-year-old who can make grown men weep as she plows through the Halo universe on Xbox. She cackled maniacally and throws down some shocking trash talk as the digital bodies’ pile in her wake. She frowns on public dancing and condemns it as silly and too sexy. Meanwhile she thinks nothing of breaking wind in the food court of our local Mall and calling it humor. Julie can clean a kitchen until the chrome sparkles like the sun, but I need hip boots and a snake bite kit to walk through her bedroom. Julie is often found trying to interpret Homer’s “Odyssey”, but can’t seem to spell ‘tree’. Julie is adored by all that meet her, but came home one day covered in cuts and bruises. She explained to me that these injuries occurred when she looked the neighborhood bully in the eye and asked, “Does it hurt being so dumb?”
My oldest son Kwiss (the name he requested for this article) is a quiet and reserved child with a significant speech impediment. So when my sweet natured boy goes off his nut, my husband and I often so flabbergasted that we cannot bring ourselves to punish him. Several days ago, our family woke to find the spare bathroom completely flooded. The water that covered the floor was two inches deep, and it poured through a crack in the floorboards to the laundry room below. We raced downstairs to find the cat box overflowing with…stuff. Harvey the cat was tip toeing about and looking perplexed. Kwiss readily admitted to the flooding with a confident frankness uncommon in six-year-old boys. He explained that the flood was achieved by plugging the overflow hole in the sink with toilet paper and covering the drain with a cup. When I asked him why he would do such a thing, Kwiss replied quite matter-of-factly, “It was an espearamint in gwabbitty, Mom! An’ I was bowed.” I still haven’t figured out what he said, but it sounded reasonable at the time.
Sonic (again the name suggested by the child in question) is my youngest and has the nastiest case of the ‘Look at me!’ syndrome I have ever seen. He insists on wearing all of his pants backwards and spikes his hair with Vaseline. He has never taken a picture with his tongue in his mouth, and likes to ‘die’ when total strangers point at him and tell him he’s cute. He leaps out of closets and screams, and then he laughs when mommy falls down the stairs. And it is not just my pain that Sonic takes delight in, but the pain of his siblings, friends, and himself as well. He cackled when he threw a baseball at Kwiss and hit him in the head. (Kwiss is fine; he has a head like a cinder block). He roared with laughter when his ‘girlfriend’ from down the street stubbed her toe running from the ants. And he nearly passed out with hilarity when I found him with his head buried in the drywall. My husband is considering a career change to home renovations due to all the Sonic sized holes in our walls. Meanwhile, the Pediatrician is confounded by Sonic’s odd behavior.
While I wait for my children to break new ground in the next stage of their childhood, I have learned that I need precautions. I’m stocking up on home repair tools and sheet rock. There’s always band-aides and antiseptic ointment in the first-aid kits. And I’m always on the look out for helmets to protect the children’s heads.