July 28, 2004

The Adventures of Truculent Poop-Head Boy

Episode I - The Saga Begins

In a middle-class house in a middle-class neighborhood in suburbia, USA, there lived a Boy. The Boy was two and 11/12ths years old, fond of trains, running around, Spiderman, blue tiger monsters and bands of singing Australians. His life was an uncomplicated one, and he was happy. Until one day, when The Boy suffered a radioactive emotional meltdown that transformed the mild-mannered toddler into Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Yes, Truculent Poop-Head Boy, scourge of parenting magazines everywhere! His awesome powers include Mega Door Slamming with Kung Fu Knob Grip, The Ear-Piercing Wail, Turbo Parental-Avoidance Speed, and the Power Pout. Fear his wrath! Dread his trigger moments, like being asked to clean up, go potty, eat a meal, take a bath, go to bed, get up, wear clothing, or breathe! Grab your extra-strength Tums and prepare for the next turgid episode of Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Our story opens during dinner-time at The Boy's house. It is a simple repast: hot dogs, baked beans, broccoli and applesauce. Yet something is amiss with this merry tableau; The Boy has been asked to wash his hands before sitting down at the table. And before you can say "tater tot," The Boy transforms into Truculent Poop-Head Boy! The adults respond calmly at first, giving TPHB a choice: either hand washing or five minutes in his room. But TPHB escalates the confrontation! He releases the first weapon in his arsenal, the Ear-Piercing Wail! The adults--now with ears full of cotton wadding--reiterate the choice, and take up positions on either side of the wailing anti-hero, but TPHB is too fast for them, and with a blast of Turbo Parental-Avoidance Speed, he jets out of the kitchen and into the den!

Recovering quickly, the adults manage to corner TPHB after only a brief chase and escort him to a domestic holding cell, which has the added advantage of being sufficiently soundproofed to mitigate the effects of the Wail. They return to their meal, keeping an ear out for any further sign of disturbance. Five minutes later, they approach the ominously quiet holding cell and open the door, only to find TPHB prepared with the Power Pout. Caught unawares and helpless before this onslaught, the adults hug TPHB and ask him if he's ready to wash his hands. TPHB considers for a moment, the transforms back into The Boy and acquiesces. Tragedy averted! Well, until ten minutes later, when The Boy is asked to stop playing with his food and eat it.

What will happen next? Will Truculent Poop-Head Boy reappear? Will door-slamming and thrashing about commence? Will the dog, cat and betta fish pack their belongings and go in search of a quieter household? Tune in next week for another indegestion-inducing episode of Truculent Poop-Head Boy!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 28, 2004 09:29 AM

And in 10 years or so, he'll transform into Truculent Poop-Headed Teen. See parents suffer whiplash from TPHT moodswings! See towering fury caused by the word, "No." See the TPHT oppressed by brutal parental uncoolness!

Posted by: Jack at July 28, 2004 12:13 PM

Shouldn't this post be in the "Perils of Reproduction" category?

There are days when I come home and Mrs. A greets me with, "Tell me again why I love my children?"

Posted by: LittleA at July 28, 2004 12:54 PM

'Mother love' is that emotion which clouds our judgement and prevents us from drowning our children at birth, only to continuously regret that decision over the next 20+ years...

Throw him in the closet and toss in red meat once a week until he's 18 and becomes the state's problem.

If only kids would put all that energy and determination into something besides defiance. If you could find a way to bottle it up and sell all that excess, misplaced energy, you could make a mint.

Posted by: Claire at July 28, 2004 01:51 PM

Even Michael Moore was once someone's child. Sigh...

Posted by: Husband of BAW at July 28, 2004 03:27 PM

Well THAT'S a pleasant thought, dear.

Posted by: BAW at July 28, 2004 03:40 PM

I don't know how to break it to you BAW, but the "terrible twos" is a myth created by psychiatrists and pediatritians to ensure that the species survives to go to kindergarten. I have three children of my own, and three friends also with three children each. We are all of an age now; children grown and gone from the nest (make a note to yourself and stick it in your personal time capsule "They always come back... Always" Learn it, live it)

But I digress. Of the twelve children we have raised; none of them, I repeat, none, suffered from the terrible twos. But ALL of them contracted the Terrible Jesus-why-didn't-anybody-tell-us-about-what-happens-when-a-baby-turns-three Threes.

You have our sympathy.

Posted by: Nan at July 28, 2004 09:55 PM

Oh, my baby had the Terrible Twos. Three was fairly sunny-tempered. Four was, as my husband said, cynical. Five was sunny and smiley again. And so it went.

Posted by: Laura at July 28, 2004 10:07 PM

Until the age of about 3 and a half (maybe 4) what you are dealing with is a self-centered, tempermental little creature governed wholly by impulse and appetite. You will get nowhere until he grasps the concepts of threats and bribery, and is capable of amending his own behavior in response to them. When you can say "Sweetie, stop that or Mummy will spank!" or "Darling, if you are an angel, Mummy will by you an ice-cream/cookie/toy"--- and he willingly obeys, well, then it gets a lot easier. Until that happy day, don't torment yourself with high expectations. Just pour yourself a glass of chablis, and start thinking of all the creative bribes and threats you'll have to deploy when he is a teenager.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at July 29, 2004 12:34 PM

I've always said (along the lines of Claire]'s post) that God didn't make little kids good - he made them cute, so we don't kill them right off the bat.

John Rosemond has a great book titled "Making the Terrible Twos Terrific). He make the point that for the first 18 months or so, children get treated like little emperors. Thye get wheeled everywhere in their portable thrones, every bows down before them, and they basically get adored. After 18 months or so convincing them (rightly so) that they're the center of the universe, you then either spend the next 18 months breaking them of the idea or end up with Truculent Poop Head Adult. The 2 year old point is just the changing over from one regime to the other. If your subjects started defying you an even (oh, the humanity) demanding that you do what THEY say, wouldn't you act like the little guy?

BTW - if you go to rosemond's web site (www.rosemond.com), you'll see a link to the "bill of rights" on the left side of the homepage. It's off the charts on the Snark-o-Meter.

Posted by: Pete at July 29, 2004 03:04 PM

Pete, I think there's a little more to toddler negativity than that, although certainly that's a lot of it.

My adorable 18-month-old niece-by-marriage hit the toddler negativity thing head-on. I asked her if she wanted a snack and she said "NO!" even as she reached out to take it.

Posted by: Laura at July 29, 2004 06:43 PM