I’m tired of being cooped inside by soggy cold dark weather but I suppose there’s no use in complaining: it’s January, and I live in Seattle. Get over it, self.

Still. Still! It’s madness around here sometimes. Madness, I tell you. (This is me clutching the front of your shirt, breathing little cuckoo puffs in your face.)

Dylan has entered some sort of thrilling new stage where he’s very energetic, very talkative, and very impulsive. In other words, he’s a giant pain in my ass. He’s become the sort of child I used to read stories about and chuckle indulgently: oh, come on now. No! No! I’m here to tell you these wicked children exist! I have one in my house right now, pounding the wall angrily because I’ve enforced Quiet Time, which used to be Nap Time, but is now I Don’t Give a Fuck What You Do In There As Long As I Get a Break from Your Little Face (PS: Love You!) Time.

The other day I emerged from the shower to find a series of long jagged tears in the fabric of our living room couch, stuffing poking out, each hole haphazardly covered in Scotch tape. After a flurry of denials from both children I eventually learned that Dylan had gotten his hands on a pair of adult scissors and performed the sofa appendectomies, while Riley had attempted to conceal the damage.

The next day, Dylan drew on his face with a Sharpie. The day after that, he drew on the wall.

Never mind the time I heard Riley announce he was going to the bathroom, then moments later his annoyed instruction: “Don’t touch it, Dylan.”

So we’ve got one kid who’s become impishly, adorably awful in that he cannot be trusted not to destroy entire sections of the house and wallow joyously in someone else’s private toilet affairs as soon as my back is turned, and then there’s Riley, who has returned to a stage I thought we had passed years ago, the stage of the Why, usually combined with a Hey Mom.

Hey Mom, what are you doing? Putting on my shoes. Why? Because I’m going to take out the garbage. Why? Because . . . it needs to go out. Why? Because that’s where the garbage goes? Why does garbage go? Because that’s . . . because it’s . . . because it goes in the can and then every Monday the truck comes and picks it up. Why? Because . . . because . . . uh, let’s talk about dumps.

Now, many times these spiraling conversations actually lead somewhere useful and I chalk it up to a Positive Homeschool Learning Experience of Some Kind (see also: Landfills, and Recycling!), but sometimes it reminds me exactly of that Louis CK routine:

Kid: Why?
Louis: Well, because some things are and some things are not.
Kid: Why?
Louis: Well, because things that are not can’t be.
Kid: Why?
Louis: Because then nothing wouldn’t be! You can’t have fucking nothing isn’t, everything is!
Kid: Why?
Louis: ‘Cause if nothing wasn’t, there’d be fucking all kinds of shit, like giant ants with top hats dancing around… there’s no room for all that shit!
Kid: Why?

Meanwhile Dylan does both the Why AND the Toddler Stutter AND his voice has a super high pitch AND he makes no sense half the time AND he’s obsessed with reenacting things so it’s like having a cross between Porky Pig and that Chris Colfer kid everyone loves from Glee asking me about stuff while they’re on PCP. “MOM? MOM? WHY DAT COW GOES CROSS THE RIVER ‘CAUSE HE DIN’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM LIKE DAT FERRY BOAT AND HE FELL LIKE DIS.” *demonstrates, dramatically, a falling cow* “RIGHT MOM? RIGHT?”

Riley: “Hey Mom? Why is it it 3 o’clock?”
Riley: “Hey Mom? Why aren’t hamsters bigger than dogs?”
Riley: “Hey Mom? Why are you rubbing your head?”
Riley: “Hey, hey, hey MOMMM?”


Yesterday around 4:30 I was pretty sure the top of my skull was going to simply detach itself from my head and float away, carried by shrieks and gobbles and midair thrown Legos, and I happened to look outside and it was light grey. Instead of pitch black, you see. O, there is hope.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

Next time Riley asks why it’s “X o’clock” tell him: “because Einsteins theory of relativity that time is arbitrary and it is X o’clock MERELY because society agrees that this point in time is X o’clock.” That will blow his mind!

13 years ago

I pretty much hate 4:30pm

13 years ago

Love your post–you have such an amazing gift for writing– and love reading the comments! With four young boys myself (#3 being the craziest-dear-God-where-is-he-when-it’s-quiet one), this had me in stitches!

And Amber punching her Mother-in-Law…Hilarious!

13 years ago

Hi… not sure if you believe in this at all but sounds to me like your kids might be a bit oversensitive to sugar and food colourings? My two little cousins (3 and 5 too) were like that until their parents decided to see what happened if they ‘cleaned’ up their diets for two weeks. They seem like completely different children!! They are still quite active and frankly, a bit annoying but so much easier to deal with.

You have seen the results of cleaning up your eating habits… why not your kids’ (kid’s, kids’s)?

PS. I realise I have no idea what you do actually feed them so I might be completely wrong assuming it’s the sugar thing.

Hopefully this stage passes soon!

13 years ago

Well, that about sums it up. And also explains why it sucks when I forget to take my antidepressant. My kids are the same way!

valeta brown
13 years ago

Me too.

And I have three kids. Thank god for public school.

13 years ago

My kids have been uh…challenging lately. I didn’t make the connection with the cooped-up-ness, so thank you for doing that for me. Here’s my main grievance: my 9 year old son
feels like he needs to know everything that is said in the house, anywhere, at any time. That doesn’t sound so bad until a small person is following you around demanding that you do an instant replay of every single conversation and every single word, all day and all evening long. Growl.