This list may or may not have been written during moments of frustration over the past few months…
Sleep. Okay, I can’t really complain about my kids when it comes to sleep because relatively speaking, they have all caught on to the idea that normal humans sleep at night.
But Calvin’s of the opinion that sleep is for the weak and really only gives in when his body can no longer remain upright.
He stopped napping at two years old. Despite the fact that he doesn’t stop moving from the time he wakes up. Which is probably why he passes out at a reasonable time. His body simply runs out of gas.
But if it were up to him, he would be mastering his ninja skills into the wee hours. And lately, he has apparently leveled up and been rewarded with extra energy, because he is now fighting sleep harder than before.
He runs and flips and zooms his cars when the rest of us are wearing down. We all want to snuggle in bed and he is all “Peace out, fuckers. Imma just stay here and burn the house down.”
Potential injury. He is my daredevil child. From the moment that he was mobile, he was trying to climb. From the moment he could walk, he was trying to jump.
I never leashed any of my children, but with him, I’m wondering why I didn’t.
He darts in grocery stores or parking lots. He runs toward swimming pools sans floaties or other life saving devices. He is forever doing “tricks”, which involve cartwheels and handstands near brick fireplaces and coffee tables. He jumps off of furniture and finishes with a somersault.
Every five minutes, I am bracing myself for our first trip to the emergency room.
What anyone else wants. He thinks that he’s the king of the world and that what he wants is paramount to what anyone else wants.
His show better be on TV or be prepared for a meltdown. The family is having chicken for dinner? Nope, he wants spaghetti. I want to listen to Dave on the car radio? He wants Twenty One Pilots.
Let me be clear, this doesn’t mean that he gets what he wants. And we don’t give in to his tantrums. But that’s just it… it’s all a battle of wills. We win, but not without a bit of torture.
He’s a four year old tyrant, hellbent on being in charge of the house. So we have to deal with the fallout when we break the news to him that he is not, in fact, the sole decision maker in the family.
Inside voices. As soon as he found his voice, he has never stopped using it. I always say that his body and his mouth are moving from the time that he gets up until he passes out. And he is LOUD. Whether he is playing with his cars or throwing a fit or chasing his sisters, he is almost guaranteed to be yelling or providing us all with movie quality sound effects.
My hope is that once he starts kindergarten, he will figure out what acceptable volumes are. Otherwise I will probably hear him all the way on my end of the building.
Clothing. More often than not, my son is missing at least one piece of clothing. Modesty isn’t something that he is concerned with.
In his defense, he does get hot easily and is prone to sweating. Probably because his activity level is on overdrive.
But nonetheless, he could at least be wearing appropriate attire. The most common item of clothing that he has done without? Pants. Also underwear, but almost definitely pants. He could be wearing a sweatshirt, but his bottom half will be almost bare. It doesn’t matter if it’s 80 degrees or 20 degrees, he doesn’t have any interest in wearing a full outfit.
We are usually able to wrangle him into something presentable when we leave the house, but at home, you never know how much of Calvin’s body you’re going to see.
Most of Delanie’s friends have seen his penis. He doesn’t care and over time, neither do they. They just expect for him to be half naked when they come over.
Tidiness. If you come over to my house, you can expect to see his cars everywhere. He can’t just play with a few at a time, he needs at least 30 to accomplish whatever race or crash he’s trying to create. He loves arranging them on the coffee table, but he also makes them fly across the hardwood floors and you have to tread lightly unless you want to step on one and go flying.
And lately, his toy explosions have extended to Legos, and we all know how dangerous those suckers are. So our house has basically transformed into a death trap. Be warned.
Public scrutiny. The girls would be punks at home, but when we were out in public, they behaved like angels.
So the first time that Calvin threw a tantrum in public, I froze. Totally appalled and embarrassed and helpless. I didn’t know how to navigate this foreign territory.
What would people think? That my child had been possessed by a demon? That he had been previously raised by wolves?That I was the most unfit parent they’d ever seen?
I have since developed a thicker skin and deal with his fits in a more experienced manner. Like the one time when he wanted to be carried while I was pushing the grocery cart. Walking was unacceptable, as was sitting in the cart. So here I am, pushing the cart with a screaming toddler hanging off of me like a damn monkey. And I somehow managed to do it without completely losing my shit.
Where’s my award for Mom of the Year? Because I earned it in that moment.
The word “no”. In Calvin’s world, everything is up for negotiation. Every request is met with a “but”.
So while he hears us when we tell him not to do something or that he can’t have something, he’s just not willing to accept “no” as an answer.
With the girls, in the worst of times, they would reluctantly follow directions. They didn’t defy or refuse. (At least until Delanie became a preteen.) So reasoning with a slightly evil munchkin is not something that I have a lot of experience with. He’s not going down without a fight. And even then, the fight is more of a game to him, which is completely exhausting to us.
Consistency is key, yeah yeah yeah. And nine times out of ten, I stick to my guns. But there is the occasional moment when I am on the brink of insanity and just have to give in. You know that Mom of the Year award that I potentially earned? This is the moment when it was ripped from my hands.
Education. Kids of this age are tiny sponges, absorbing the world around them and seeking mental stimulation. You know what Calvin has absorbed? The names of various models of cars. The most effective ways to beat up his sisters. Every way to drive his mother up the wall. You know what he hasn’t absorbed? Books. Letters. The ability to properly hold a pencil or crayon. The girls were far more interested in these things. He’s listened to too much Pink Floyd, practically yelling “I don’t need no education!”
I’ve already established that he doesn’t stop moving from sun up until sun down. So why would I have ever thought that he would let me read to him? He starts kindergarten this year and as an educator who works at the school that he’ll be attending, I feel like a failure. People try to reassure me that it’s okay and normal and blah blah blah. I wish that made me feel better. It doesn’t. I can only hope that when he gets to school, he will see that the other kids are doing this shit and he’ll follow suit.
Or he’ll be the next Jackie Chan. After all, he’s well on his way with his plethora of ninja moves.
Time. Yours or anyone else’s. Like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, he doesn’t care how, but he wants it now. The world has to stop turning when he wants his drink refilled or his Lego man put into its helicopter perfectly. His time is more important than yours. Apparently this should be common knowledge, damn it.
Oh, it’s only 12:30? But he wants to watch Rusty Rivets! But wait… it doesn’t start until 1:00? That’s unacceptable! Calvin’s clock says that it’s supposed to start whenever he wants it to! Calvin’s clock doesn’t follow any rules!
My son is proof that no matter how many years of parenting you have under your belt, you still don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. That even if you’ve done an average or, dare I say, above average job with some of your children, you may feel like you’re failing most of the time with others. That children who were created from the same combination of DNA are still somehow completely different.
But as difficult as he can be, I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.