Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bambi Hit Me First, Daddy

Kids will be kids.

I don't really know what that means. I've heard it said sometimes when teenagers do something stupid like letting of firecrackers outside the VFW to remind the people inside of more interesting times abroad. And from time to time I've heard it used as a catch-all term to explain away a child doing something they know they shouldn't. On a personal level I was chatting online with a few people I know about how over the last fortnight (in particular) my children have turned insane. My daughter has her moments. But she has turned up her dial to 11 and has been a constant nuisance. All the rules she knows well have been tossed to one side. All the ways in which she herself has remarked are unpleasant in other kids - she's giving them a go. As for my son? Well...

I jest (aside: not really...). My son is two and a half. So his behavior is as typical as you can imagine at this age. He's like a volcano of emotions and he has absolutely no idea how to contain or channel those feelings. So when he feels the seething rage of injustice because someone has dared to be within a foot of his specially-designated couch position it's somewhat forgiven. Take an example from a few days ago where he stood atop a mound of dirt that I'd dug up in the back yard. His sister also wanted to be on top of the mound. Plenty of room for both of them after all. A few short months ago he would have thought that was nice. But oddly he now feels a sense of territorial challenge has been leveled at him and that he must defend his castle. We are all primates, are we not? So he starts frothing and growling. Then they both start pushing and wailing. A few short moments later he has graciously descended from the mound to a plastic tub that I've filled with broken bottles, wire and other assorted ephemera that the former home-owner and now-neighbor felt compelled to bury in the back yard. As I'm well aware of the prior few moments of alpha-chimp ridiculousness I had some sense that he had run off looking for a handy weapon with which to batter his sister with. So I was already telling him to calm down/distract them both/give them something else to do to change the tone. No use - a few short moments later he was literally throwing glass at the pair of us. At which point I had to somehow approach him and get him to let go of something that - if he grips it any tighter -- is going to cause a serious problem. Thankfully that incident passed without anyone getting wounds.

As I said though - that kind of lack of control I can understand. He has no idea how to stem the flow. But his sister is a bona fide mentalist lately. She knows what she is doing. She understands much of her behavior. She has years under her belt of being told repeatedly by teachers and whatnot that her attitude is a breath of fresh air. She's very weird in that sense. I'd regularly pick her up from school only to have her teacher make the effort to point out that whilst many of the other kids were practically flinging their own shit at the walls, she was being well behaved and polite. That's her "thing" you see. Which is why it's especially infuriating to see her completely losing it for hours at a time at the moment.

I've mentioned before that it must be a difficult thing as a parent to know your kid will be an arsehole when they're older. I don't feel like that at all. But I had somehow separated a very firm belief in my worldview that external influences greatly outweigh personal individuality when a kid is developing behavior. Which is weird because I've been loudly remarking about certain family member's fucking awful behavior and how it is not a good thing to be around. And yet I found myself in that weird spot of wondering if brat-like behavior was a thing all five year old's regress into. Amusingly yesterday's Willy Wonka movie involved an Oompa Loompa song that pointedly remarks that a brat is made by a father and a mother. So you can't go blaming the natural aging process there. Which is when I went online and stumbled over all the "kids will be kids" stuff. Actually there was quite a lot of stuff I read about how five year old boys are vile little shits because they are bombarded with militaristic hero-worship guff on television and through toys. So Murder, Death, Kill 24/7 combined with a hyper-masculinized society that pushes boys to be testosterone-fueled aggressive mercenaries. Which I could somewhat agree with if there wasn't also a parallel concern amongst large sects of people that thinks that boys are being feminized and that they have "caught the gay" because makeup is more common for teen boys these days. Nothing sounds more harmful to me than having a room full of people, "praying away the gay" and elevating what they feel is a sin to some sort of super-sin. Presumably the circle-prayer the whole church have after that the gay one to, "pray away Mr's Gould's vaginal thrush" is done with equal veracity.

Anyhoo - my daughter's thing has a knock on issue as it's her birthday this week. Part of her ranting, screaming, talking-back shit is that she's been asserting her authority over her dominion as a tyrannical queen. Therefore my wife and I were somewhat reluctant to feed that unpleasantness by getting her a large, flashy present. In this case a new bike. Practically she might only get a month and a half of acceptable biking weather (it snowed October 18th here a few years back after all...). And while she would love a brand-spanking new bigger bike she is more than delighted with the one she has now. So a big, shiny new toy for a child acting like a spoiled arsehole might not be conducive to teaching her the right things. So we are going for a more behavior-controlled idea of joining a club to learn dancing. Not some ballet nonsense - something called tumbling. Which considering she dances like an epileptic, slam-dancer that sounds more her thing anyway. Hopefully that's an appropriate gift. Although if we were buying her something appropriate to fit her mood I would like to get her this -:

Which reminds me - we need to zoom out and figure out someone else's birthday present too.

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