January 14, 2004

Piss and Vinegar

And I'm not talking about me. The Boy has recently rediscovered his boyness; no, not any specific body part, just a general sense of "I am ruled by testosterone, ergo I must run around like a crazy man, throw tantrums, refuse to eat or use the potty or bathe or go to bed (see: throw tantrums) and generally ruin everyone's lives." I'm blaming this in part on the cold weather which has prevented us from spending hours outdoors climbing, jumping and running around. But mostly, I am blaming testosterone. Join me as we traverse the weekday hours from 4 to 8 p.m.: The Toddler Zone.

4:00 p.m. - Arrive at daycare to retrieve The Boy, who is leading 7 other toddlers on a crazed run through the place, shirts pulled up over their heads. Smile apologetically at Miss Katie and bundle Boy into car.

4:15 p.m. - "Mommy, play music!" Dutifully put in Tom Petty CD. "No, mommy, other music." Sigh and put in Hole's Celebrity Skin. At least I don't have to keep grabbing the volume knob--Courtney wails, but she's not a potty mouth. Other CDs in the car include Johnny Cash, Aimee Mann (who is a potty mouth--I am adept at anticipating the "turn down" moments), Wiggles, and Little People. Also some classical. The Boy is nothing if not well rounded. The Boy applauds loudly at the end of each song, tiny tow-head bobbing to the beat of "Malibu." I ignore how bizarre (and old) this makes me feel, and drive on.

4:45 p.m. - Arrive home. The Boy decides it will be fun to refuse to leave the car. It's 35 degrees out. This isn't fun. Also, mommy needs to go potty.

4:50 p.m. - Get out of car and into house. Boy demands Thomas video and plants himself in the middle of his train set. Commence thirty minutes of watching and rewinding the same 6 minute Thomas episode over and over and over.

5:00 p.m. - Hublet is home. Boy forces him to "play Percy and coal car" and rewind the Thomas video. I attempt to quietly start dinner.

5:05 p.m. - No such luck. Boy wants to help cook, which he does by loading random trains into dishwasher and fridge, dumping oatmeal and seasoning into a bowl and stirring the contents frantically, and managing to find every single hot, sharp or otherwise non-childproofed item in the kitchen and then either touching it and crying, dropping it so that I will trip over it, or putting it in the trashcan. Hublet is called in for reinforcements, but is no help as he is watching ESPN with one eye and The Boy with the other.

5:40 p.m. - Dinner is served. Chase Boy around house to force him to wash hands. Allow him to bring Diesel to the table. Try to ignore him so he'll eat. Wipe applesauce off of Diesel. Wipe applesauce off of Boy. Confine dog to kennel in back bedroom. Attempt to locate bowtie pasta underneath giant mound of parmesan cheese in Boy's bowl. Give up and give him bologna, which is all he wants to eat anyway.

6:00 p.m. - "Mommy, I run around like crazy man!" Boy proceeds to run around like a crazy man. When Hublet expresses concern, reply that it won't last long.

6:05 p.m. - A thud, followed by crying.

6:10 p.m. - "I up high!" Look over in time to notice Boy flinging self from arm of sofa into a flying somersault on sofa. Look around house at shoes, coats, trains, books, pieces of chalk, dinner plates, and assorted flotsam strewn everywhere. Put sofa pillows on floor to soften the inevitable and attempt to quickly do laundry, straighten house, clean kitchen, converse with Hublet (who is doing the same things), feed cat, dog, and fish and monitor news.

6:15 p.m. - "Mommy, be monster!" "Come on, da-da! Hide monster!" The chase is on.

6:30 p.m. -
"Daddy, be monster!" Repeat above, running through house shrieking in fear or moaning with arms outstretched, depending upon role being assigned by the toddler now affectionately referred to as Napoleon.

6:45 p.m. - Bath time. Chase toddler. Dump toddler in tub. Take toddler out as he insists he needs to go potty. No, the big potty. Suspend toddler over big potty. Nothing happens. Back in tub. Toddler pees in tub. Run fresh water. Rinse soap out of toddler eye. Rinse toddler. Get very wet. Coax toddler from tub. Brace self, bodily extract screaming wet toddler from tub. Dry. Lotion. Diaper. PJs. Free toddler and go change clothes.

7:00 p.m. - Listen to nightly debate about which video to watch. Watch Boy throw tantrum because Thomas video did not spontaneously erupt fully formed from TV screen the moment Boy spoke the words "Thomas video." Look forward to glass of wine. Give Boy warm milk.

7:30 p.m. - Bedtime. Tantrum. Brush teeth. Tantrum. Read three stories. Tantrum because he wants four, even though he's had three every night since birth. Into crib. Tantrum. Covers? NO! Then, "Covers?" Then, "Lay down." Promise to lay down for 5 minutes. Leave after 5 minutes. Tantrum.

8:00 p.m. - Get glass of wine and settle in chair in middle of destroyed den. Shut off brain and join Hublet in rousing game of Return of the King.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at January 14, 2004 02:51 PM

Sorry -- girls and boys don't become differentiated in the piss or vinegar until much later once the effects of puberty start kicking in. Blame it on old MAN winter.

Posted by: Academy Girl at January 14, 2004 02:59 PM

Well, Old Man winter still counts as testosterone, then, right? Sort of?

Spring cannot come too quickly.

Posted by: BAW at January 14, 2004 03:02 PM

It's a pretty fast effect. Girls are more active at first but boys take over.

Dog bite fatalities 1979-1988 (10 years, an insignificant cause of death but lopsided against boys)

less than one month age, boys 4, girls 5 (same)
one to 11 months age, boys 6, girls 10 (girls active)
one to four years, boys 36, girls 20
five to nine years, boys 23, girls 6
ten to 29 years, boys 8, girls 1

Measures sticking-finger-in-dog's-eye-and-yelling-boo behavior, probably.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at January 14, 2004 04:02 PM