Stuck in the middle with you

He’s a brick shithouse in a tutu.  That body bounces off the walls of our tiny Los Angeles home, leaving wreckage in its wake.  He is strong and headstrong and also has a big head, which he is not above using as a battering ram.

During school, he is under control.  The daily routine, the group of friends, and the physical activity keep him regulated.  But the summer session got out two weeks ago, and Benjamin has fallen to pieces.

He is breaking things he likes – such as his new castle – just for the thrill of seeing them come apart.  He is hurting people because it adds a little spice to his day.  He is calling everyone a “baby” – the only insult he knows – in order to get sent to the Unkindness Chair so that there is a little variety to his morning.

Zachary is in camp all morning, which in theory ought to mean there is more time to devote to Benjamin, but he is caught in the middle.  Too young for day camp, too old to be satisfied hanging around the house so his baby sister can nap and nurse.  Our au pair is on three mornings a week so that she or I can take Benjamin out to play, which certainly helps.  But, I need her help afternoons and evenings, too (ever tried to get a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a ten-month-old bathed and in bed by yourself?), so I cannot have her on every morning.

And, even when we go off together, it’s not the same as the Under-Five Cocktail Party that is preschool.  He is an extrovert, and suddenly he has been yanked from his peer group.  Playdates?  Everyone is travelling or has plans.  Or maybe they just don’t like me.  The one or two playdates I can scrounge up each week only underscore how starved he is for peers, as he turns into Charming Dude for the duration then reverts to Mr. Destructo the minute the playdate is over.

I get frustrated.  He is so big and so strong and so fucking verbal that I forget – we all forget – that he is a baby.  A confused baby who cannot understand why his daily fix of friends has been yanked out from under his extra-wide feet.  We have to protect his older brother and younger sister from the force of nature that is Benjamin, of course we do.

I just wish we could soothe his rage.


May I, ahem, point out the little button on my sidebar?  You can click right here to go vote for this blog at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. I know it is a hassle to register, but I would really, really appreciate it.  I am trying very hard to provide editors some actual evidence that people (other than those who share my last name) actually like my writing.  Your vote would help a great deal.  (Feel free to vote for other smart and funny and also funny and one more funny blogs while you are there.)  And to those who have already voted: thanks, dude.

15 responses to “Stuck in the middle with you

  1. That sounds so tough and frustrating for you right now. My dad always says, “This too shall pass.”

  2. Oh noooo I can imagine all the flying objects…summer can only last so long …
    I am glad Zachary is enjoying camp 🙂

  3. She Started It

    I think 3 is the hardest age ever. Rage is a good way to sum it up.

    Hang in there.

  4. Want to come hang out at my house for awhile?

  5. I hope that the summer passes quickly, and that in the meantime you’re able to find some outlet for Benjamin. Three really is a tough age, too old and too young and still really unfinished around the edges.

    And good luck with the Blogger’s Choice Awards! 🙂

  6. The absence of school is really hard for some kids, at some times, and I do think 3 is the age of neuroses in boys. People so often suggest that boys need to be exhausted physically and that’s the answer to their boisterousness, but they seem to forget that that means exhausting the mother too, and you have too much else to do to let that happen. I used to wish I had a stake in the garden, with a leash attached to my son, and that he could run around in circles! Good luck; I have everything crossed he does that little bit of growing up soon.

  7. My daughter needed an outing about 4 days out of 5. Trip to the zoo, beach, wherever. If she got it, she was content. If not? She was a grouch.

  8. I recognize this. My son is the same way.

  9. Agh. I remember the days of feeling that something really crappy like this was NEVER going to end. Poor little dude. Poor you. I offer my useless sympathies and hopes for improvement. And I will vote for you as soon as the site re-emails me my password, which I apparently have forgotten.

  10. Poor kid. Poor mom. Three is such a tough age for lots of kids and it sounds like it’s doing a real number on Benjamin. You have my sympathy.

  11. I wonder if it is the name Benjamin. My Ben is the same way. Perhaps the name is synonymous with distruction. Hmm…
    And the bedtime thing? Yes. I get it. I just got my 6, 4, and 2 year olds fed, bathed, and in bed while my hubby is out of town. And I’m a few days away from baby number 4 making an appearance. I am certifiable. 😉

  12. My 4 year old seems to be in that phase this summer. To young for most things and so he gets bored and causes trouble.

  13. I agree that 3 is the hardest age. Hang in there. He’s lucky to have a mom who gets him.

  14. Cheeky Monkey

    He’s three? Ooh, that is a hard age, for precisely the reasons you delineated. I think it’s easy to forget that three year olds really are babies. Poor kid. Poor you.

  15. This first line – He’s a brick shithouse in a tutu – is the best.