I have a wild child, and it’s not my fault. My husband and I have tried to tame him. I have no idea where this part of him came from. I was not like this and neither was his father. His two older siblings are not wild either. Before I had him, every time I saw a child acting the way he sometimes does, I blamed the parents (and I had kids at the time — shame on me!). I wondered why they couldn’t control their child. Well, it serves me right.
Now I know.
When your kid is wild, they are born that way. It is such a part of who they are that they have a very hard time turning it off. You can calm them down a little, but you can never completely get rid of the wild.
Now that my son is older, he knows when he is going to the bad place, and usually, he can’t stop himself. There are times when I cannot stop him either. I have wrestled this child to the ground. I have carried him out of a public place while tantruming so many times it hurts to try to remember them all. I have locked him in his room. He has gone six days without any sugar and the television (longest six days of my life). I have had meetings with his teachers and his pediatrician. I have tried all the things.
It is not that he is bad — he is wild. There is a difference. He is able to calm down for a bit after he gets punished, but his wild side always comes back, always, sometimes stronger than before.
He is barbaric, and I couldn’t mimic some of the sounds he makes if I tried. He wants to start a YouTube channel called “Dumb Caveman.” This consists of him grunting and making funny faces into the video camera. I have let him do this for three hours at a time because it feels like a vacation. If he has to fart, he will let it rip loud and hard. It wouldn’t matter if we were at the White House shaking hands with President Obama himself. He is not going to hold something in that hurts him that much. I have told him to go into the bathroom if he needs to pass gas, which he is happy to do — for an hour, with his whoopee cushion because that is how we teach mama a lesson.
I have watched him shake his body on the dance floor for four hours straight at a wedding. There was no stopping him — he did not take one break. I was hoping that night would result in him being still for at least a day, but it did no such thing.
He uses all of my baking ingredients to try and blow stuff up while I am in the shower. I have been impaled and ensnared by the boobie traps he leaves in his bedroom more than once. When he found my sewing supplies, he took all of my needles and strategically placed them in our cushions, pointy side up. He called them his secret daggers. He wanted to see what would happen if someone sat on them.
I still have to grip his hand tightly while in a parking lot because he has this urge to run, jump, and dance in open spaces and is not aware of anything else.
When he entered kindergarten, the teacher was very honest and told me she was scared to have him in her class. She had seen the rickrack he caused in the hallways during pickup time when he was younger.
His room is full of crazy experiments. Right now he has a pot of dirt with a piece of gum in it. He is trying to grow gum. This is the least wild thing he has ever done.
Once when he was 2, he was running through the grocery store acting like an asshole. After five minutes and a few buckets of sweat, I forced him in the cart and used all of my strength to hold him down so I could buckle him in. He grabbed a can of green beans and threw them all the way down the aisle. The woman he almost hit came over to me and told me to make sure I get him to try out for baseball or football. To be honest, I was counting on something like that to be a good outlet for him, but after playing one sport for one season, he decided he hated sports. And I don’t force him to play either — I like the other children and coaches too much. It is not fair to them to have my son performing opera on the sidelines while he is supposed to be practicing layups.
During the summer, he is up at dawn picking berries from our backyard for his breakfast. He knows how to put anything you can imagine together. He can tell you how something works just by looking at it. He is addicted to the show Naked and Afraid. I am confident he could survive in the wilderness better than anyone I know. He was bored at science camp because he already “knew all that stuff.”
So, yes, I have a wild child. I have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making him behave. Yes, I am exhausted. But the thing is, I love the shit out of him. He knows what he wants, he doesn’t conform, he speaks his mind, and I believe in him. And while I need him to behave and am trying with all my might to teach him there is a time and a place for his wildness, I don’t want to snuff out the parts of him that make him unique. Some days this feels almost impossible, but he is mine and I adore all that he is.