I hadn't originally intended to write anything like this today, and I certainly hadn't intended to start a whole series of posts. In fact, I had hoped to be able to share some beautiful photos from OK Mozart with you, as I took the children up there today to listen to Native American stories (for M1) and (for M2) learn a few Irish step dancing steps from my friend Megan.
Sorry we couldn't stick around, girl. I wanted to get some photos of you to share, 'cause you were rocking those shoes and your hair was too cute for words!
But anyway. I have no photos of cute Irish step dancing shoes or equally cute hair. M2 didn't learn any Irish step dancing techniques. In fact, while the plan had been to hang out through the workshop that was to end about 2:45 and then get to chat with Megan for a while, none of that happened. We left the festival by 2.
Because my child is crazy.
DISCLAIMER!!!: For the purpose of this series of posts, I may use the term 'crazy' as an affectionate and endearing term for potential mental illness. I might also say 'nuts' or 'insane' or heaven knows what else. Please don't take offense. I'm not talking about anyone else's kids here. Just mine. Though if you think yours are a little bit bonkers, feel free to say so. I won't tell.
I really do use the term crazy with affection and endearment. Promise. I adore my munchkins and missed them something fierce last week. And I'm sure that there are times when all parents believe their kids are nuts. Certifiably insane. Off their rockers. Out of their gourd. Etc.
Told you I'd use all sorts of terms.
My kids, though, are special. OK, OK, all parents think that, too. And all kids *are* special. I love watching them and learning from them. But let's go through a few things that may indicate that your kid's sort of special isn't what most people consider normal:
1. If your kid goes to school for nine months with the same teachers and classmates in the same place and then comes up one day with severe separation anxiety and clings to you like a Tenacious Howler Monkey and screams like a Tenacious Howler Monkey once or twice a week for the remainder of the school year, she might be a tad off.
2. If you've ever taken your child to the pediatrician for a well-child visit - the same pediatrician in the same office where you've been going since before this child was born - and watched her throw a fit so massive that even the doctor voices concern, you may have a little bit of Crazy on your hands.
3. If you've ever videotaped the tail end of one of the above-mentioned fits and had your friends show it to THEIR friends because holy crap, that's one massive tantrum... and, again, that's just the TAIL END of the fit... you may have cause to worry.
4. If you've ever had to physically defend yourself from one of these fits and/or given your child her umbrella because she "has to bite something right NOW" and then watched her chew on it for 15 minutes straight and leave teeth marks all over it... and she's FIVE... and you're just glad she used her words and isn't biting or pinching or hitting YOU for once... well... you get the idea.
6. If you've ever watched your child go so sub-human/glassy-eyed during one of the fits that she is no longer capable of talking and only elicits grunts and primal screams and inflicts physical pain and breaks stuff...
6. If you've ever read both "The New Strong-Willed Child" and "The Explosive Child" in less than a week and thought, "Well, those were interesting books and might help me with my semi-predictable Asperger's/ADHD/anxiety kid, who now seems incredibly normal, but what about the OTHER one??"...
7. If the next book on your list to read is "The Bipolar Child" because *something* has to fit this kid so you can figure out how to handle her...
You might be me.
I know that, with only one or two exceptions, none of you have seen M2 behave this way. Those of you on the exception list probably saw the video. ;) I know that some of you are probably looking at this list and wondering what kind of discipline I employ. Others may be thinking that I should re-read those books. Some may be completely shocked that any kid can act that way. And yet others might be reading this list and thinking, "What do you mean, that's not normal??"
My problem is that I am not a child psychiatrist. Or psychologist. Or developmental pediatrician. In other words, I Am Not An Expert.
Realizing you might be the parent of a child with a case of Crazy is kind of like taking a kid out of Little League, sticking him in a World Series game, and whispering in his ear just before the pitch, "You better hit a home run, kid. Everyone's watching."
Makes you want to pee yourself.
Makes you realize that you might know how to play baseball, but you don't really know HOW to PLAY BASEBALL. This is the big leagues, and in parenting, EVERYONE watches. Everyone is sitting there wondering how come you can't get your kid under control, wondering what on earth you did to make him or her scream like that, watching while you struggle to cope the best you can, and - worst case scenario - pulling the number for the Department of Human Services (the Oklahoma name for Child Protective Services) out of their pockets to turn you in for slacking off on your job.
And it's a daunting task.
Up next: The difference between M1's brand of crazy and M2's and why I can handle him but not her. For now.