Don’t go taking the title literally. I’ve never been in possession of a micro-penis or a tiny man named Richard. I swear! I’m referring to our son Oliver, who despite being the squishiest little mound of sugar-coated marshmallows, has a profound propensity to being a dick.
When it comes to toddlers, I think we can all agree that they are in a state of continuous exploration and experimentation. It’s kind of like college, but without the binge drinking and Adderall. Ok, maybe not so much. Though he’s recently made some questionable choices in beverages. Bud Light, kid? We’ll have to work on your palate.
As infants find their footing and graduate to being toddlers, their newfound steps give mobility to their curiosity. When it comes to Ollie, he wants to put his hands on everything, which in turn ends up in his mouth. We’re talking about anything from the T.V. remote to our dog’s toys. Then there’s his limited ability to communicate his feelings, wants and dislikes. I can only imagine the frustration of trying to express yourself, armed with only a few words and gestures. I’m reminded of The Miracle Worker, where Helen Keller repeatedly thrashes about, unintentionally inventing krumping.
Let me run you through a typical scenario:
Ollie is walking around the living room, spewing his adorable yet unintelligible blabber, like a drunken dwarf. He spots a scented plugin attached to the outlet and pauses. He then looks over at my wife and I, knowing very well that the plugin is off-limits. His little fingers start twitching, anxious to grab it. We sternly tell him “no.” Ollie proceeds to wipe his ass with our cautionary words by mischievously smiling and grabbing the plugin anyway. Another example would be his aversion to kindly refusing food, choosing instead to flail his arms and sending his plate and cup into orbit. That boy smiles as though seeing his sippy-cup sail off the high chair for the seventh time is an accomplishment. He’ll then be so sweet that you’ll find yourself wondering if he did that on purpose. He’s a pint-sized Jekyll and Hyde.
It leaves me to question whether he is in fact a toddler, or the manifestation of a vengeful spirit. If so, I may have to revisit a previous article (The Exorcism of Oliver Bowie). But the reality is that he just doesn’t know any better. It’s our job to make sure that he eventually does.
We as parents need to suck it up and stay true to the end goal. We should be patient. We must be consistent and persistent with reprimanding, redirecting and understanding our kids. They are ours to mold. Don’t allow your little dick to become a larger one (settle down, that’s not what I meant). Love, nurture and lead by example. We didn’t become parents to sit on the sideline. We did it to create a life we can share this vast amount of love with. Being anything less than patient and loving with your kids is a disservice. And when you start feeling like you’re going to snap, step away for a moment and:
unleash a muffled scream into a pillow
shed a few quick tears of frustration
beat the living shit out of your life-sized Chewbacca plush (doesn’t everyone have one?)
walk back out refreshed and ready for another emotional assault