Saturday, March 8, 2008

And the Gold Medal Goes to...

Beijing 2008. Summer Olympics. Did you know that a new event is being introduced? I kid you not. Bird is in training and has been for oh, two years now. I think he's got a real shot. Yeah, a real shot. I'm willing to bet that one sight of him with his game on, and all other Olympians, some not even in his event, will run. Far, far away. Like out of earshot for fear of pummeling him.

Out with discus throwing, in with tantrum throwing.

Bird can throw a tantrum so extreme that even Hollywood can't reproduce it in HD widescreen to do it justice. I'm talkin' screaming, kicking, throwing, upturning chairs, wild shrieking tantrum. He rolls around like a possessed little freakazoid and makes sounds that don't occur naturally in the animal kingdom in mating season (similar to sounds you'll hear come out of Chez Dirt & Noise if McBush wins in 2008).

The tantrums were so horrific at one time that Mac Daddy and I sought professional help. At first we thought the local bartender would be help enough, but we soon realized that the toddler t- shirt that says "I drive my daddy to drink." is more funny when it's not true. Cathy, a family counselor, came to our rescue. Cathy had more arrows in her quiver than Cupid in a freshman dorm. And you know what? Each and every tactic worked. There were times that life was not pretty in our house, despite my best efforts of keeping up appearances. Bobbi Brown can only do so much to mask my hereditary dark circles.

These "episodes," shall we call them, occurred rather frequently. I gave up wearing heels and walked on pins and needles instead. We never came up with an algorithm robust enough to predict what would spark a tantrum. Did the peas touch the sweet potatoes? Did I put his left arm into his shirt first? Was the cat looking at him? Even Malthouse, my stats professor from Northwestern, wasn't up to the task.

And so there we were. Left in the cold wondering if it was worth it to even leave the house. Surely we could survive without milk and toilet paper. It was worth sparing a square to avoid taking this ball of tantrumic kinetic energy to the grocery store. I can't tell you how many parks, museums, play areas, and oh, public places in general, I had to haul Bird out of in the traditional fireman carry. Imagine if you will, thrashing child over my shoulder, whimpering baby in my arms, and me, a crimson contortion of defeat. I still recall that feeling of defeat so palpably that my brain puts up a crossing gate, refusing to let me all the way in.

There were times Bird and I were both left with scrapes and bruises. Me from his wild flailing of appendages as if he had suddenly become Doc Ock, and him from my struggling to hold those limbs in place. My future looked bleak at the time, and I thought I wasn't cut out to be a mother (not that turning in a letter of resignation was an option). Somehow this was all my fault, genetically or otherwise, and I couldn't even see a glimmer of light the size of a paillette. This period was the worst of my Sisyphus existence. By a long shot.

I am relieved to say that this period has ended (and I'm praying that Deal misses this stage...allow me to bask in the land of make believe). Bird has become a joy. Yes, he still has his fiery moments. We all do.

My parents like to shake their heads and exchange knowing glances, mumbling some nonsense about karma and divine justice. Surely I was never in training for the 1972 Olympics.
And the Gold Medal Goes to...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


High Heeled Mama said...

Love the new banner!

And am fearing the tantrum stage...my 1 and a half year old is walking a fine line into this stage right now. Often dipping his toe into the squealing, limp bodied, stomping, flailing that I fear will become my entire existence at any moment. Good to know it has an end!

Norman said...

Goodness. good writing, i'm experiencing the tantrum stage all over again, even though my kids are adults. you brought it back too vividly. One clue for others who are going through it...a tantrum is a kid's way to get attention and say the whole world is reduced to his perceived need of the moment. If you just walk away from him/her...be it to leave him rolling in the grocery aisle, or alone with the dinosaur bones in the museum, he will quickly realize the world has kept turning and he will wonder where you are, calm down and come looking for you. Of course, when you leave him to his own devices, you only leave far enough to go around the first corner so you can keep an eye on him.