Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fight or Flight, a Toddlers Path to War.

Well, I have had the chance to witness something truly incredible this morning.  I got to see how an infant wages war.  It was terribly funny, cute, and a little disturbing all at the same time.  I was amazed and laughing so hard that I couldn’t stop the carnage that was sure to ensue until after having a coughing fit.

I am hoping that you all are familiar with the fight or flight reflex/response that was taught in junior high.  If you haven’t heard about it before, then you are either wickedly ancient or too young to be reading this blog.  Either way, I think I can explain it in a nutshell.  If I am remembering this properly the fight or flight reflex happens when your adrenaline raises after thinking that that you are in some type of danger or something.  Therefore, you either fight whatever is scaring the crap out of you or you fight it.  However it is really defined in the text books doesn’t really matter at this point, because I am one hundred percent certain that I saw a perfect example of it this morning when the little man decided to attack the dogs, cats, or just whatever was around, including me.  Here, let me provide you with a story illustrating the events that took  place.

As in every other morning when Momma is at work, the little man and I were playing tag and wrecking his train set that I just finished putting together.  Nothing new going on, just playing like usual.  Well, pretty soon we started jumping and shouting and dancing like we seem to do frequently too.  I didn’t take any notice of the fact that our dogs were laying down in the kitchen dozing off because we were in the living room/romp room.  During our energetic play time the mailman delivered our mail and knocked on our door, which he sometimes does when he knows we are in the house.  Unfortunately, today his knocking caused one of the dogs to bark.  As it turns out, the little man was right on the threshold between rooms, and the sudden noise of the barking scared the crap out of him.  I mean the poor little guy looked terrified as he high-tailed it right back to me as quick as his diaper clad ass could move. 

However, before he could reach me he spotted one of his long curved pieces from his train set lying lonesome on the floor. So, he grabbed it, and, as it turns out, a wooden piece of train set is more than weapon enough for a tiny tot to wage war with.  Anyway, he picked up this piece of train track and his faced turned from one of terror to a face I can only describe as baby fierceness!  As I was holding my arms out for him to run into I became confused as to what the hell he was doing.  I have never seen him look like that.  I stood up as he was turning around, and I was about to go and pick him up when he hauled ass towards the very same dog that scared the crap out of him in the first place.  However, this time he wasn’t screaming in terror.  I swear I heard him yell out something like, “It’s go time now Bitch!!!”

I stopped for just moment and wondered when he learned to speak like that  when I suddenly remembered that he was charging the poor dog, who realized the grave danger he was in by that time and decided to retreat up the stairs as quick as his ancient ass could carry him.  Well, the little man was apparently not satisfied with this outcome because he then turned on the other dog yelling out “RAAAAAaaaa!!!”  For a second time my baby’s adversary fled and escaped up the stairs rapidly. 

Well, for some reason, this was not a glorious enough victory for my son.  He was obviously looking for a fight with something, and his blood lust would not be sated until he had one.  Then he spotted our cat who was sleeping on our couch, peacefully, and he decided to charge it, violently.  The poor kitty didn’t even know what hit him.  Before the cat could react my battle enraged toddler was on top of him swinging his sabre like train track piece viciously and surprisingly coordinately for his age.  Fortunately, the cat, who is used to being mauled, decided to stay his ground, initiating his best defensive posture.  He curled into a tighter ball intending to wait out the storm of baby fury.  Here I managed to get a hold of my battle crazed ten month old and tell him sternly not to hit our animals because I will not tolerate cruelty.  Well, I am not sure my message got through to him.

For, it was at this point that the battle turned and before I knew it I was under attack as well.  My only ally was a stuffed snowman, who, unfortunately, fell in the heat of battle to a vicious tracking upside the head.  I can still see his plush carrot nose folding tragically as my son systematically attacked when I close my eyes.  This left me with only one option, fleeing. So, I ran.  This was apparently was the right thing to do because my baby started laughing hysterically all of a sudden and chased after me without his weapon.  Oddly enough, it was like we were continuing our game of monster baby tag and nothing like the battle had ever occurred.  The only visual signs of something astray happening here was the eerie lack of furry pets on the first floor of our house.  Both the dogs and now both our cats are hiding out upstairs afraid of facing another possible onslaught.  I can’t blame them either because that is one fierce baby.

After all the smoke had cleared and the house calmed down to an amiable truce, I started worrying about what all had taken place.  I wondered if it was normal for a tenth month old to behave like that.  Then I recalled my high school health class, in particular the lesson about the fight or flight response.  It seems that my son inadvertently provided a perfect real life display of it for me.  Neat!  But, what a wakeup call it was nonetheless.  What am I going to do about stopping such a reaction from happening again later on?  I can’t have him acting like that when he gets older.  What if he decides to wage war when he starts going to school?  Yeah, I know I have a few years to worry about that, but it is still disconcerting.   

I guess the only thing I can do to stop him from becoming a horrid little tyrant in the future is to perpetually remind him that that type of behavior is not ok.  Somehow I am going to have to teach him that he needs to use his words instead of his muscles.  Go ahead and laugh it up!  I know that I am probably overreacting, but I am a firm believer in nipping things in the bud so you don’t have larger problems in the future.  No one wants to be the parent of that kid.  I think that my concerns are legitimate, but my wife thinks that I am being silly.  I can see her point.  Any kid is likely to become a little asshole if they don’t have parents who actively parent.  Yeah, I agree with that one hundred percent, and I can probably point out 5 examples of crappy parenting for every ten families I see when I go shopping, but that doesn’t mean that half the kids I see while I am out and about are little assholes.  It just seems to be that way.  Realistically, it is probably closer to a third of all the children that I see are little jerks.  


But, it doesn't really matter what the numbers of children with assholish tendencies are.  The point is that they are out there.  No amount of thinking me a drama quen is going to change that fact.  Sure, I fully acknowledge that I have a flare towards the theatrical side, but that doesn't mean that that isn't called for in this instance.  


Well, anyway, as I discussed this little episode via AIM with my wife, she finally made a point that I can’t argue against.  All this really showed us was that our son will stick up for himself and I should feel relieved knowing that.   “Fine then” I replied in my mind, “You Win!  Our baby probably isn’t going to turn into some psycho mass murderer who feasts upon the flesh of others.  Are you happy now?!  I admitted it!”  I don’t remember how I actually replied, but I still think that that could happen.  After all, he does have a reputation for being violent now.  Just look at him and tell me it isn't possible!


You can't tell me that this isn't a photo of something completely evil!


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