Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wile E. Coyote, Super Meanie

Did I mention that my little girl has the most infectious giggle in the northern hemisphere?Well. She does.

When her little face lights up with laughter and she rolls about chuckling at her own wit it is all I can do not to scrunch her up in a sweet-smelling little girl bundle and hug her to me as she herself used to do with her toys when she was a tiny toddler.Tonight she was giggling in just such a way, sitting on my lap as I caught up on the doings of my Facebook friends, and she rolled one merry eye up and asked me what I was doing.

"I'm reading my mail." I replied.

She thought about that for a moment.

"You're a coyote, Daddy." she stated, and giggled explosively at her own wit, "And a meanie. A coyote and a meanie!" And then she gyrated with laughter and insisted I tell everyone on Facebook that I WAS a coyote and a meanie.

What else could I do?

Everyone's asleep and it's really time for me to go to bed, what with my nasty cold and all, but my big boy continues to have night terrors, remember those? Poor little tad. Just a few moments ago he roused, shuddering, sobbing and sweating. I went in and tried to calm him to no effect. Finally I woke him - difficult and problematic with night terrors - and talked him down. I hugged him, stroked his back and told him everything was OK. Then I suggested that he think of something nice, something that he liked, to help lull himself back to sleep. And he couldn't think of anything.Not a single thing.

I love my little guy. But I'm starting to see that he doesn't have much joy in him. The anger has receded somewhat. There's still not a lot of happiness there, though. And I'm not sure how to teach it to him and I'm not sure how he can find it in himself. But I think he will need it, because the winters are cold and the nights are deep, and if you can't find the glow of warmth within yourself it's very, very easy for the lamp to flicker out.I can only hope that he can somehow kindle some joy in himself. It seems to me to be a very hard, stony sort of life without something or some things that do nothing but provide you pure, useless, unrenumerated delight; bare trees at dusk, the fresh smell of a loved one's skin, the sound of rain.

But how do you explain that to a six-year-old?


Pluto said...

I'm speaking without any knowledge of your situation but I find it hard to believe your guy is as joyless as you depict him at this moment.

There's a LOT of stress in growing up, just ask my two teenagers who are positive that their parents are out to wreck their lives! (If only they knew our real plans, they'd be even more afraid! Heh, heh, heh)

That stress can appear to overwhelm the joy in life that is necessary to keep living. But the joy is frequently still there even if it is hidden.

On the other hand, if you feel you have serious cause for concern, you'd better see a professional. Our family has occasionally been touched by clinical depression and it is far too formidable to face unaided.

FDChief said...

Pluto: One reason I do keep an eye on him is that Mojo has had to deal with bouts of everything from "the blues" to full-on depression. So there IS a genetic connection there.

I do find it kind of sad how tough growing up seems to be. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of time to just enjoy being a kid. And I think it's tougher on our little man because he's not a self-entertaining/self-starting kid like his little sister.

When left to herself she will spontaneously find something to do. He, on the other hand, will mope around and then complain that he's bored. Poor little guy; I know that he's got to figure out how to deal, but you know the deal - the hardest part of being a parent is not being able to stop from wanting your kids to be smart, and sound, and happy, and healthy...even when they don't seem to want that.

Pluto said...

My wife's got similar issues and we keep an eye on the kids for the same reason.

We noted that the kids are much more self-starting as toddlers than they are as older kids so your daughter may face similar issues when she gets older, though hopefully not as severe.

Note of humor: You just THINK it's hard to get a 6 year old going. Teens are harder to get started in the morning and even harder to get to bed at a reasonable hour, especially during the Olympics as all the good stuff starts happening after 9:30 PM here.

More realism: I kind of suspect that its always been way tougher growing up than anybody remembers.

Too authors have had a romantic vision of a safe fascinating world that beckons to the children and they can safely experiment with anything without fear. What a load of crap.

I grew up isolated, with middling-serious medical problems, and afraid of my shadow. It wasn't until my late teen years when I finally started developing some self-confidence that I started having a little fun in life. I think a large percentage of people alive would tell a similar story if they were honest with themselves.

Ael said...

Do you have a dog?

Lisa said...

Not to be pat, but I buy into the old idea of humours. We all have inherently different temperaments, IMO. There is nothing you can do to affect his. He will witness joy and happiness -- the panoply of life -- and be as content as he is wont to be.

Please don't punish yourself if what you see does not comport with what you'd choose. I know a man who did this, and he has become quite embittered, to match the temperament of the offspring.

It is a sad fate he has chosen. But being of a religious background, I s'pose he feels it is mete pennance.

Lisa said...


"Mete pennance" for something over which he has no control.

Sadly, we purposeful and ego-full humans are always looking for our part, but sometimes, we have none.

FDChief said...

Lisa: I'm experienced enough at this daddy thing to have the wisdom to know the difference. IF the boy is going to hell, I can't pick the color of the hand-basket.

But like any tragedy, it's grievous to watch. And with little Bryn's birthday coming soon, it's harder still. Sometimes watchful waiting is the most painful exertion of all.

Lisa said...

But as you know, parents don't direct the whole mise en scene.

The little guy may be a budding melancholic, BUT, he may find a passion perfectly well-suited for his temperament, and that would constitute his own personal joy, right? And that's all we can hope for.