Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Dismantle An Atomic Baby

Unless there are sharp bones trying to work their way through Elijah’s face, he is an absolute joy. He loves to give hugs and kisses. Most notably to a hippie coffee shop employee yesterday, which did not get me a free coffee. But, quite frankly, happy baby does not equal funny blog post.

So allow me to introduce you to the Tantrum.

Let’s say Eli wants to touch something you’d rather he didn’t. Like the stereo or my flamethrower collection. When you lift him away he’ll typically wheel his legs in a jerky motion and grunt. But occasionally, he will launch a tantrum. Which involves screaming at a pitch that makes Grover throw himself against the window. He’ll also kick his legs and, if he’s really wound up, smash his head on the ground.

Every kid does it. But I think Eli does it cuter than average. The little stinker will actually peer out of the corner of his eye to see if he’s getting a reaction. Unfortunately, that’s where the difficulty lays.

All the parenting books say you cannot react to a tantrum. If you soothe him or give him what he wants or lock him in the toy box, he knows the tantrum works. Which results in the Terrible Twos, or the Terrible Eighteens or the classic Terrible Freak Out in a Grocery Store. Which is Dante’s third circle of Hell.

But ignoring a tantrum is much easier said than done. Because they are hysterical. I don’t know what it is, but Diana and I laugh like lunatics whenever Eli goes off the deep end.

So we’ve taken to leaving the room when he erupts. He gets it out of his system without the knowing how hilariously awesome he is being. And Diana and I get to jump up and down and hug each other and laughingly trace each other’s family tree to find the genetic blame for his cuckoo bird behavior.

p.s. Today’s photo is a demonstration of what Eli will look like when he goes through that inevitable soul patch phase in his mid twenties.

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