There is frightening new evidence mounting daily to suggest that my son is, for lack of a better term, a punk.
Fact: He tried to self-apply a temporary tattoo on his face. Very punk rock. He’s obsessed with earrings, necklaces, anything jangly. And just yesterday at Walgreens, I caught him eyeballing the black hair dye. Where have we gone wrong so soon?
It’s really more the behaviors that are troublesome. He’s starting to have opinions, he gets bored now, he’s so over pop-up books. He’s leading la resistance, one overturned plate at a time.
He does most of his damage at meal time. He loves little chewy crunchy things, like puffed rice. Mealtime generally starts with a generous helping of such an item, a palate-cleanser, if you will. Well, Bub has gotten the notion from somewhere that puffed rice makes a much better tile decoration than it does an appetizer. Dozens and dozens of innocent rice puffs thrown to impending doom in a matter of seconds. Senseless.
I first noticed the behavior with his bottle a while back. As opposed to just plowing through the contents like he was on Man Vs. Food, he started stopping, looking around, smiling at me. But not cute smiling, more like taunting. ‘I bet you want me to drink this, huh, Daddy?’ his eyes said. ‘Well, guess what? I’m gonna throw it on the floor instead!’
Now of course I am hip to the fact that kids do go through a phase of fetch, where hapless parents around the globe chase and pick up happily-discarded items. But this is different. He doesn’t care if I pick it up, he just wants to create discord, to give the world the finger (albeit a tiny one). It’s progressed now to him picking up his entire plate of food and dumping it over. Usually with a pronounced grunt. Sometimes on the tray, sometimes on the floor, he doesn’t care. He’s punk rock.
But it goes beyond the highchair. Example: He used to really love Changing Table. I mean, the two of them formed a special bond that lasted many months. I think it’s clear now that Bub is moving on. I’m sorry Changing Table; it’s not you, it’s him. Now as soon as we put him down to change him, he starts squirming, rolling, generally trying to enact the no-pants dance. So punk rock. And it’s funny, I have to admit, though I suspect one illicit bodily function would take the ha right out of that one.
And this is perhaps the real problem. He does this stuff and we try to correct him, but it’s hard to do when you’re laughing. The other day at lunch, we had a bona fide conversation. He wouldn’t eat his banana, looked at me and said ‘Ahhhhh,’ to which I answered ‘Ahhhhhh.’ He looked at me, thought about it: ‘Ehhhh. Ahhhh.’ Interesting. ‘Ehhhh. Ahhhh,’ yourself. ‘Uhhh. Ah. Ah. Eh.’ And so on. It was a good talk. Then I put some Sex Pistols on, and we split the banana.