I say this all the time : “If Loki had been born first, he would have been an only child”. I’m kidding ,of course. If having twins didn’t stop me from having more babies, one difficult yet adorable boy isn’t going to put the kibosh on me reproducing. I say it with love and a little laugh but I’ve learned that it isn’t something you say in certain company (i.e, gatherings for “Attachment Parents” ) or I get that look . You know…the look that says I’m the meanest mommy ever.
Loki the Adventurer is #5 in the birth order and the first child who made me seek advice from a professional. By professional, I mean a Dr or “expert” who wrote a book about parenting. It was something about raising “spirited” children. Spirited is a euphemism for ,”Holy shit, if I don’t figure out how to deal with this kid,I’m going to lose my motherfuckin’ mind.” There is a good deal of swearing involved in raising a spirited child, something the book never mentions once. What ultimately made me reject the book was when the author stated that allowing my spirited child to indulge in superhero fantasy play, such as pretending to be Batman, would make him a violent killer. Quack. Batman doesn’t technically try to kill his enemies,duh.
Besides being a geek mom who knows that sort of thing about Batman, I also worked in the field of Early Child Development for over 10 years. From my personal observations, fantasy play is a fantastic outlet for channeling energy creatively and does not necessarily lead to being aggressive. Case in point: I watched my own kids a few years ago playing with army men & military vehicles. It became a UN peace keeping mission to save some unicorn who was being bullied by dinosaurs in a sheltered valley. There was lassos involved and maybe some tranq guns but no blood shed.
That 10 years I worked with kids? I worked with some pretty challenging kids but the experience doesn’t translate for shit when dealing with your own darling little miscreant. I have learned that others like to think that they are experts on issues relating to my child. One day I was in the post office for all of 5 minutes and a complete stranger said,”You should have him tested for ADHD. I think he has that”. Really? Are you a Dr, lady? No but her father was the principal of an elementary school 30 years ago and for awhile, she taught kindy-nepotism-garden at his school. Therefore, she was totally qualified to label my kid ADHD based on 5 minutes in the post office.
According to our pediatrician and every teacher he’s had so far, he does not have ADHD or any other lettered disorder. He’s just …wait for it….
“A spirited child”.
Last summer, we had THE incident that inspired the “Adventurer” part of my darling spawnling’s Blog-Given name. It was very quiet in la Casa de la Loco . Too quiet. Mothers know that this is when you can expect trouble. Non-mothers don’t always get that. They think that mayhem makes a loud noise but they would be wrong. I did a quick look around the house, calling Loki’s name. No answer and no sign of him. He had done this not-so-cute thing before where he’d hide and think it’s funny that everyone is running around like crazy people screaming his name. When he’d riled up enough craziness, he’d come out…giggling, the little monster. This time, no sign of him, despite his 3 sister’s and my own frantic searching. That was when I knew he wasn’t in the house at all and that ,my friends,was when I freaked the fuck out.
Literally a minute after the freaking out started,the phone rang. Thing 2 answered it. Her eyes got very big as she listened on the phone. She handed me the phone immediately and said,”It’s the police.They have Loki.” Five years old and already the cops are nabbing him. I thought I’d have a good 10 years before that happened.
I spoke to the nice officer on the phone, who explained that another off duty police officer was stopping in at the liquor store and saw this little boy ,wandering around in nothing but his boxer shorts, headed in the direction of the nearest circus caravan. No, not really. He was headed in the direction of the library, actually. At the library, the police asked if anyone knew who he was. Well, yeah…they did. We only go there every single day. The librarian gave the police our home phone number and that was how they figured out who the hell to call to get this kid back where he belonged. When I later asked Loki why he did that, he just simply said,”I wanted to go on an adventure.”
According to Google Maps, the liquor store is 217 ft from our house and takes 47 seconds to walk there. Put in this perspective, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. It really,really was though. The police officer who delivered my son to my front door could see that I was a frazzled cocktail of hysteria,embarrassment and relief. He was very sympathetic and I will forever appreciate that. I explained to him , “I have 4 children older than him and this has never happened before!”. It’s become a typical thing for me to say.
Actually, I said it just a few weeks ago when he hid in school because he was upset with the teacher. They had to search the playground and classrooms, finding him eventually under a teacher’s desk. “I swear…this has never happened with my other kids before!”. It doesn’t fix anything but it makes me feel better. We all know those families where ALL the kids are always in trouble and act like a bunch of wild animals and you kind of know it has to be a parenting issue, not really the kid’s fault. This is my way of saying,”See? The other ones don’t act like that! I’m not a complete fail, I swear!”. I’m sure that sounds like I’m shirking my accountability for my “spirited child” and his actions but it’s not like that.If anything, I’m sharing the accountability for his shenanigans. It’s my way of saying I’m trying to figure this all out and I’m hoping I figure it out soon before he makes the world implode. Be patient with us. When a reasonable expert’ writes a book that allows spirited children to run around pretending to be Batman, we’ll be golden.