The nice thing about nuclear warheads is that to start a launch sequence, as I understand it, there are multiple steps involved, including sign off from the highest levels, codes ferried around by a military officer, duplicate keys held by two separate individuals on a submarine. Checks and balances.
In five-year-old world, there are no such safeguards in place to ensure an explosion of atomic proportions doesn’t just happen at the drop of the hat. There may be warning signs leading up to the event, where interventions, which may or may not work, can be applied. Or it could just spontaneously combust like an invisible spark igniting a cloud of clear, odorless, highly flammable gas.
Tonight I experienced the latter.
First of all, Justin accidentally hit our nine-year-old neighbor’s hand with a baseball bat. He ended up with just some badly sprained fingers and a sprained wrist, but it initially looked worse. So while his parents took him to urgent care for x-rays, Barry and I had yet another actions and consequences and this is why we don’t randomly swing a bat discussion with Justin.
Later while I was at the grocery store, I bought some cupcakes to take over when they returned. A small gesture, but I’m grateful to have non-vengeful neighbors who understand that accidents are accidents, and not get all unglued when kids do careless things. Justin helped me put them on a plastic Dr. Seuss plate (“Are they gonna give us our plate back?”), and was excited about the prospect of taking them over.
When they returned Alex was inside taking a bath. Justin was playing in the backyard and came running over to me. I went inside with him, and Alex was standing at the door, in the nude, covered in bubbles, wanting to come along to take them over. I started to go get a towel for him, and told Justin to just hold up a minute, but he was already out the door.
What happened next caught me completely off guard. Now I had a wet, slippery, and naked kid going into complete histrionics over not getting to hand over a plateful of cupcakes. His tantrum was replete with screaming, shaking, shouting, screeching, biting, squeezing, and pinching. Truly one of his finest efforts. He kept yelling, “I’M SO MAD!!!” You know, just in case I didn’t pick up on that through the aforementioned screaming, shaking, shouting, screeching, biting, squeezing, and pinching.
He was rendered to a state where he was incapable of any reasoning or rational thought. The only acceptable solution to please him would have been to jump into a time machine made out of a DeLorean, set the destination for three minutes in the past, gun that baby up to 88 mph, and prevent Justin from taking the cupcakes over without Alex. Without messing up the space-time continuum in the process.
Anyway, it would have been helpful to have even one warning sign that this was about to go down. The National Weather Service can see tornadoes develop on radar. The NOAA gives hurricane warnings days in advance. There has to be some electromagnetic brain monitoring or something that can give me some insight as to when a perfectly content child will mutate into a whirling and sputtering Tasmanian Devil.
A heads up would be much appreciated.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012