Wednesday, 2 September 2015

I'm renaming my grandson

Have you seen the movie The Incredibles? Do you remember the bit toward the end that shows the baby Jack-Jack exploding into a raging ball of flame?

That's my grandson.

You have never seen a temper more full of fury than this kid has. I watched him last night while his parents were at band practice. For the first five minutes he was golden, jolly, happy, smiley. His whole body lights up when he grins. Then he started getting hungry and acting tired, so I fixed him a bottle. But he has this thing about lying down -- he won't do it. He wants to be up and about and involved in whatever is going on, even if nothing is going on. If you give even the slightest hint that you are trying to get him to sleep, his suspicions are aroused and he explodes. He squinches himself into a ball of absolute anger, scrunches up his fists and face, and lets out the most amazing scream...which is endless. Half an hour later, I'm at my wit's end, frantic to find what will pacify him. Nothing. He's inconsolable. The scream goes on and on like a bandsaw in my brain. And it's for no apparent cause that I can figure out. I start chanting in desperation. Oh my word, I'm flunking grandmotherhood. The neighbours will think I'm peeling his skin off and call the police. There is no way this noise is coming from such a tiny body. How does he do this?

In desperation, I took him outside -- and it was like turning off a switch. Dead silence. He hiccuped into absolute stillness, as if nothing had ever happened, as if he had never melted down into a demon child for the past half an hour. He became an instant ball of passive putty.

So we stood and stared calmly at the water fountain for a while, and then we sat in a lawn chair and gazed at the trees for a while, and then I gave him his bottle and he fell asleep for four hours.

Grandson, whatever animator designed Jack-Jack had you in mind. But one thing is certain -- when it comes to being outdoors, you and I are just alike.

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