I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
September 29, 2011
Between the ages of birth and three years, my son had his share of “moments,” many of which have been documented on this blog.
From the time he was born he started things off with a bang, screaming bloody murder practically around the clock. After several doctor visits and unpleasant x-rays, the official diagnosis was acid reflux– but I suspected (and time proved me right) that much of his frustration was actually due to the fact that he wasn’t able to do much of anything. I could see in his teary eyes that there was desire to crawl across the carpet. To grab the toy. To feed himself his dinner. But his flailing baby body was betraying him. As he got older and more independent, mercifully the crying stopped.
And the oral fixation began.
Bruiser chewed on any and everything within his reach, from electric cords to the soles of his daddy’s work shoes. I routinely found small objects in his mouth– Legos, rocks, rubber bouncy balls… He drank his bathwater when I wasn’t looking. Sucked on his fingers while playing at the playground. Gave me a thousand nervous breakdowns as I imagined all the illnesses he was sure to contract. Measles. Chicken pox. Rubella. Whooping cough. Yellow fever.
And that wasn’t all.
The first three or so years of Bruiser’s life are a haze of temper tantrums, near-misses, impossible saves, and last-minute rescues. The fact that he was also the most loving and affectionate child I’ve ever known kept me from completely losing my mind- and the Internet was also invaluable. I’d read blog posts and comments from my online friends detailing their own misadventures raising the opposite sex, and be reassured that my son wasn’t displaying the emerging tendencies of a future homicidal maniac.
He was simply… a boy.
Fortunately, right around the time he turned four, he miraculously transformed from a mini-Tasmanian Devil into a complete and total delight. This year for the first time, we can take our son to movies, restaurants, and puppet shows, and feel reasonably certain that he’ll behave. He’ll sit through story times, absorbed by the pictures and plot. He loves playing “school” with me and begs to do worksheets and learn his letters. He’s still exuberant, but also very well-behaved in public.
But as I’ve discovered, certain things continue to set him off.
I learned this after a recent trip to California Pizza Kitchen. There, the children were exposed to their first Revolving Door, which apparently ranks on the kid scale right up there with escalators and glass elevators. Both my children excitedly took their places and started pushing. You can guess what happened next.
They went faster and faster as they got the hang of how the door worked, and while Hubs and I popped out inside the restaurant after an extra turn for the kids’ sake, the children kept right on going, laughing wildly. After another turn, Punky emerged, breathless, inside the restaurant. That left Bruiser all alone, pushing the door as hard as he could, running around and around… and around. I caught a flash of his eyes on the fourth go-round and realized that the Tasmanian Devil had re-emerged.
“Come out of there, Bruiser,” I said nervously as he ran past me. He shouted out laughter in return and kept pushing. “Come out NOW,” I said as he revolved past me again. He kept going.
On the next go-round, I reached out, stopped the door with one hand and pulled him out with the other. He was shaking with mischievous glee. “HA HA HA HA HA!” he chortled, looking around wildly for something to knock down or scribble on. “HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHA!” In front of us, the maitre d’ grimaced and I had disturbing flashbacks of pretty much every restaurant experience we’d had with Bruiser until he was about 3 1/2. I got down on one knee and held him by his shoulders.
“Calm down,” I hissed. “You are out of control.” He blinked at me in surprise and at that point, I saw something familiar in his face, and knew that this wasn’t simply a behavioral issue my four-year-old son needed to conquer.
I was witnessing the male mind at work.
While most men are able to function calmly and rationally, they all have their revolving doors, don’t they? Just when you think you can predict their every move, something comes along that sets them off and leaves them whooping and wild-eyed. It could be fairly harmless like NFL football or fishing… or it could be more sinister, like high-stakes gambling or a peroxide blond in a too-tight dress.
I realized as I stared at my son that we mothers (and girlfriends and sisters and wives) can never hope to eliminate that switch. It’s hardwired into the male brain, delivering an electrifying jolt of euphoria when flipped.
All we can do is try our best to pull them out when it looks like they’re making asses of themselves.
P.S. My latest post for the Tommy Nelson blog is up today — It’s about one of my very favorite Ferrier Family traditions. If you love me, you’ll go read it and leave a comment! ;D
Image via Chad K/Flickr
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I think I just peed my pants after reading the last few paragraphs! You are SPOT on with that!!
Thanks, Brittany! 🙂
My son and I moved from Park Slope Brooklyn to Nashville a year ago. Before the move, I despaired that my overly calm, aloof 5 year old who could navigate the subway system and order Starbucks perfectly was not “boy” enough. Two T-ball seasons, countless hiking trips, and a Nashville Metro School year later and I now completely understand what you mean. We couldn’t be happier to have such a crazy kid 🙂
Awesome! So glad it’s working out. I happened across the Park Slope Parents Twitter account a few days ago and all I can say is… You’re definitely in a different world now! 😀
My stepson was in frequent timeouts for his actions and even though he could sit there perfectly still, I swear he was plotting his next few moves of mayhem, to be performed as soon as he was “free” again. He is almost 17 now but those preschool days remain clear in my memory because I had never seen anyone like him before. Good times…
It’s crazy looking back, isn’t it? 😀
I just loved this SO much, you pretty much decribed both of my boys. We are into the blissful 4’s with my oldest but my little guy is right in the thick of things at 20 months. Counting the days until January 2014….
Ha! I know the feeling! I loved his baby/toddler days, but they were HARD, I won’t deny it!
Counting the days til Jan 16th, 2014, sister! *high five*
I have two girls, and though we want to eventually have a boy, sometimes I get scared thinking of it.
Ha! I was scared when they told me I was having a boy! I can’t imagine life without him now, though. 🙂
Just wait until the hormones kick in. Then you will have “revolving door moments” on steroids. I.e., jumping up and/or down FULL flights of stairs at the mall or at school (where that is apparently frowned upon), just because they are there… 🙂
I am definitely worried about those days- especially thinking of some of the things the boys I knew did in Junior High and High School! *shudder*
Oh my gosh this is so true!!!!!!!! I grew up with three brothers and now have a toddler son of my own (and a baby on the way – pray for me!). I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Boys are psychotic. Girls are too in their own way, and sometimes you come across the rare girl that also exhibits those crazed behaviors, but boys…boys are a special breed for sure…
The older he gets, the more I’m discovering that his brain really is wired totally differently from his sister’s. 🙂 It’s illuminating, that’s for sure!
So there is hope for my Samuel? Because truthfully his cuteness is the only thing keeping him off a curb alert on cragslist. I am kiddddinggg. Or not.
I mean, really, my daughter has thrown one public fit in her life. My son- oh sweet baby capuchin monkeys, they see us coming and wince. It is so embarassing.
So, 4 is the magic number huh? I only have 2 1/2 years of madness left to go then….
Sorry I was doing the math:
2 1/2 years x bottles of wine= AA
2 1/2 years x boxes of chocolate= heart disease
Guess I will stick with prozac.
Ha ha ha! I SO remember those days. And yes. A glass of wine at the end of the day (or chocolate) definitely helped. 🙂
Yup. They don’t ever officially grow up. Last night I was scheduling some appointments for my family. I needed my hubby’s input. I asked him 3-4 times when he turned around and said, “I’m watching TV!” We both knew how ridiculous this sounded so we couldn’t stop laughing! At least he knew what an ass he was being 😉
Ha! Shamefully, I’ve DEFINITELY had that feeling too. But my response is a deep sigh and a very obvious pausing of whatever I’m watching on the DVR. ;D
OMG. I just had the SAME experience with my four year old boy and a set of swinging double doors at the vets office.
Ha ha! I can only imagine..
So, you’re telling me that you are 100% sure i can NOT take him back to the hospital? I mean to leave him there? My son will be 2 in November and the “terrible two’s” started at walking age which was at 11 months with him. I would’nt quite put him at tasmanian devil levels YET but i know it lurks in there taunting me. ::looks at notes:: And you say it will never really go away?? Lol. Such encouraging words you speak. ::walks out of room::
I still remember when my son wouldn’t stop crying the night we brought him home from the hospital. It was 2am, neither one of us had had any sleep and as I paced the floor with him, it occurred to me that I couldn’t take him back! In my mind, I was going to be dealing with crying and no sleep for THE NEXT 18 YEARS! LOL. Fortunately, it finally occurred to me to look on the Internet for newborn sleep solutions- I read that letting him sleep in his carseat might help. I put him in his carseat and he went right to sleep. Something about feeling enclosed, I guess!
I STILL use his infant carseat! Not when i drive but when I’m home cleaning & i want to sweep, mop or vacuum. I put him in it and place him in the middle of my queen bed or another room I’m not working on & turn on ELMO. Def a life/sanity saver. You know how frustrating it is to clean & have the toddler tornado wreak havoc at the same time.
I totally understand. I had a Baby Bjorn bouncer that I had found at a consignment sale that both kids LOVED. It was the simplest thing, but it was totally invaluable and I don’t know what I would have done without it!
When I was pregnant with my son everyone told me how EASY boys were, and my daughter was already a dream child so I thought this kid thing was going to be the easiest thing ever. Then my son came along and was scaling our kitchen cabinets and standing on top of the counters and jumping off of the arms of furniture . . . all before turning one year old. I would think “If I can just keep him alive then I’ll worry about my sanity later”
I remember thinking that– “How am I going to keep him ALIVE?!!!” Fortunately, somewhere in the third year a cautious streak kicked in. PHEW.