07 May 2011

When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro

This is something of a personal triumph for me. I've managed to incorporate an apt reference to the work of my favorite writer, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, into the subject of parenthood. Because this post is indeed about weirdness. Kid weirdness in general, I suppose, and the weirdness that I can only imagine is completely unique to our child.

There is an oft-repeated refrain at our house, typically uttered when the Doozer is out of earshot or out of the room or possibly sleeping. There are variations, but the gist of the sentiment is this: That kid is weird. "Such a weirdo," my wife will turn and say to me whenever we hear him through the monitor, chattering on and on to himself when he should be going to sleep. Telling himself about things that happened in his day or the plot of the latest Dora the Explorer.

And this is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is so much weirdness in our house these days. My wife and I are pretty quiet, homebody-ish types and we have spawned a miniature maniac, a kid who is a character all day long, every day.

My father recently observed to my wife that when the Doozer is taken somewhere (like his grandparents' house) or even has people outside his immediate circle (being the wife and I) in his home, he is strangely reluctant for a short period. He holds back and it takes a little time for him to warm up. Or as my wife put it, "Let his freak flag fly." But then fly it he does. And I like this sentiment. Because that's exactly how it is.

This is definitely one of the central tenets of good parenting (or at least it should be): Creating an environment that is conducive to letting your child do just that, fly his freak flag. I'd like to think we've done this. If our son's range of eccentricities and affectations are any indication, I suppose we have.

There is his fascination with gargoyles. Someone in our neighborhood had a giant, inflatable one in their yard last Halloween and it had the result of inspiring a full-blown obsession with the Doozer. So much so that at Christmas, the wife and I actually looked into gargoyle toys (to go with the wooden castle he was getting). And guess what? They don't seem to exist. Because normal kids, they do not want to play with gargoyles.

There are the bizarre bedtime routines. Where he must pretend he's going to go to sleep on the floor and we must leave the room and wait for him to come find us before we can put him in his crib. (I'm pretty sure the whole "I'm going to sleep on the floor" bit must be gone through at least twice each night.) Bedtime is an epic affair, full of minor detours and sometimes crazy rituals, which he pursues with the intensity of a zealot.

He often insists that he does not like the food he's been served for dinner. He will protest and complain and emphatically display his disgust with the offerings — then proceed to completely clean his plate. He'll proudly proclaim that a plastic iguana toy is his best friend (named Lucy). At least this week. Before that, it was the Wampa snow creature from Star Wars. (I mean it, the kid is weird.) And just recently, I heard this exchange in my house:

Doozer: Mama, you should laugh!
Wife: Ha ha ha!
Doozer: What's so funny, Mama?

And so we have learned to embrace the weirdness that now runs rampant in our home. We engage in the rituals, we laugh at the "jokes," we encourage the oddities. And perhaps we are not the quiet, reserved types we think we are. Perhaps all this weirdness is what he's inherited from us (beyond his love of books, which I feel comfortable claiming). This pint-sized personality spreading zaniness in our home is likely the reflection of two parents who are, in reality, and despite repeated protestations, a couple of kooks.

And I suppose that's fine with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment