Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Perpetual Motion

When I was in about second or third grade we had an assignment in school to write an essay about someone in our class. For some reason our teacher wrote one about me (odd number of students?) and she titled it "Perpetual Motion". She described me as always moving - bouncing a leg, fidgeting, playing with my hair. I don't think it was so much about being high energy - which I definitely am not - but having nervous energy. All of the women in my family are high strung and nervous and I tend to gravitate towards people like this. But lately I've been wondering if I've passed this quality to my kid(s).

Twice now when I've picked up B from school the teacher has commented - laughingly - how he came to school bouncing off the walls and they had to tell him repeatedly to settle down and/or take him outside to run off his energy. I'm so used to him being like this that I don't even think about it; I only notice on the rare occasion that he's not like that, how shocking it is when he sits quietly or is gentle or contemplative. The other day when he was watched for a few hours by a sitter and then I had a few hours with him before heading out to my next gig, I was dreading having to take him out somewhere or dealing with him climbing the walls at home. To my surprise he pulled out some books and read them quietly, then spent ages stacking and playing with packs of wipes. He never does this. And I had a moment of, oh my God, is this what other kids are like? 

Our typical day involves letting B out of his room in the morning to have him immediately run all over the house screaming, banging into walls and kitchen appliances, smacking into me hard and trying to pull me into the floor, stomping on my feet and hitting and kicking me repeatedly. Evenings are like this as well. Try getting this Tasmanian devil to sit down and eat, brush his teeth, put on socks and shoes, etc's a Herculean task.

Is my kid hyperactive? I don't think so, although the jury is still out. I think he's high energy but I don't think he's unusual from what I've observed in other boys his age. But oh my God would my life be easier and more enjoyable if I had a quiet little kid who built model airplanes and worked on puzzles. Most days I just can't handle being a punching bag all day long, I really can't.

Still and all, I know his energy, and spunk and defensiveness, are good qualities for later in life. I see little boys who let other kids take their toys or get pushed around and do nothing, and I worry about them. Bumpus...Bumpus'll cut a bitch.

For now I can only channel his energy in positive directions, be thankful for the quiet moments, and pray for the day his brother is big enough to be his grappling partner.


  1. It does sound exhausting. Elena is high energy too but will focus that energy on quiet activities...sometimes. I joke that she just goes & goes until she suddenly just falls asleep! Hang in there!

  2. It has been difficult having a little girl who is like this. People are even quicker to label her hyper or think she's just naughty. The little boys who are bouncing off the walls are often called "just boys being boys". In any case it's a miracle if there isn't a huge mess in the house for five minutes, or if she's sitting quietly to do something. So I feel ya.

  3. Oh my gosh that sounds SO exhausting! My girls have a ton of energy but it's quite controllable and they play independently and together pretty well. We spent a few hours at a 4 year old's birthday party with mostly boys this past weekend - and some of the boys were SO rough with each other - my girls and I were taken aback. It would be really trying to manage!!

  4. Absolutely exhausting! I do think he sounds pretty normal for his age but lord love a duck, it sure would be nice for him to channel that energy into quiet activities. Fortunately, I am certain that one day, he will.

  5. wow, that sounds hard! I think C has a decent amount of energy but it's [usually] easily channeled, as long as we don't stay home too long. i also find that three is SO much better with this stuff than two. I definitely don't understand how people can stay home in their PJs all day with little ones!

  6. I'm with Abby... staying home all day is SO much worse than having somewhere to go, as hard as it can be to get out of the house and to manage while wherever we are. Bumpus really does sound pretty high-energy. Jordyn can be that way, too, but she can channel it, and she LOVES to sit and "read" books - out loud to herself, me, or a baby doll, or have me read them to her. Hang in there - I bet he'll settle down with time.