The Exuberant Mr. Tom

When I was a kid, I had a friend who I would go and spend a week with most every summer.  This friend had a baby brother she adored. Let’s call him Tom.  Tom was the same age as my own baby sister, probably about 2 at the time.  My little sister was sugar and spice, a precious doll baby who was always smiling and well behaved.  So, when I got to my friend’s house this particular summer, I was HORRIFIED to find that little cherub faced Tom was actually the Muppet Animal in a toddler’s body.

In my twelve years of life I had never seen anything like it.  This wild, untamed little person was wreaking havoc on their entire household!  What was wrong with this child?!?  What was wrong with the whole family?!?  I was aghast as over the week I watched one chaotic situation after another unfold involving Tom.  Tom was screaming.  Tom was throwing things.  Tom somehow locked himself in his room and cannot get out.  Tom was screaming more.  Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off  trying to appease this pint sized dictator named Tom.

At the end of the visit I eagerly went back to my own home, where three little girls sat around quietly playing with dolls and reading classic literature.  I was SO very glad I would never have to deal with the likes of TOM again.

At least not for another 23 years.

My Tom, aka Dash, was born like a tiny 8lb 4oz freight train.  The doctor was running down the halls of the hospital just to get there in time to catch him.  He started screaming immediately, didn’t stop for about 3 months, and now he just REALLY LIKES to scream.  The littlest thing will set him off.  Zero to meltdown in one second flat.

But really, he doesn’t need something to upset him, he’ll scream just for fun.  SCREAM. Laugh. SCREAM. Laugh.  SCREAM some more.  He is delighted by his own deafening loudness.

Take this morning for instance.  Up until 10pm the night before (as usual), Dash slept in until 7:30.  I carried him down the stairs, but when I went to set him down, he pulled up his landing gear and refused to stand.  I set him down anyways, gently, because frankly, I wanted both hands to get the coffee pot going.  Cue SCREAMING.

Okay, maybe the little dear is hungry.  I had promised Finn I’d make waffles, but I gave everyone yogurt smoothies to tide them over.  Dash was happy with for a minute, until he decided it was more fun to turn the sippy cup upside down and watch it drip.  I took it away because yogurt smoothie is too expensive to pour all over the floor.  More SCREAMING.

One thing that Dash really likes playing with is water.  It seemed like a good substitute for the dripping smoothie, so I filled a little plastic tea pot and gave him a bucket to pour it into.  He took the lid of the tea pot and dumped it on the floor.  “WAWA!  WAWA!” he hollered in a raspy voice, demanding a refill.  Soon, all the kitchen towels are on the floor, soaked to capacity.  Finn comes in the kitchen to check on his waffles.  “Be careful, the floor is…” BOOM.  “wet.”

Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just wet and ticked off.  Okay, that’s enough of that.  “WAWA! WAWA!  WAWAWAWA!!!!”

Soon enough (as in before my brain completely liquefied), the waffles were ready.  Everyone was at the table eating.  Dash took a couple of bites and then started chucking his food at Beau.  “AGGGGHHH!  I can’t eat!  That’s disgusting!!!” wailed Beau, pointing at a piece of waffle.  Beau has a weak stomach, which is an inconvenient trait to have around here.

The table was quickly vacated and I washed Dash up.  Within moments he was back at the table, climbing on top of it, eating the big boys’ breakfasts off their abandoned plates.  Perhaps this was his plan all along?

After breakfast is REALLY over, I am trying to clean the kitchen.  Dash wants to be IN the dishwasher.  Like standing on the door.  I remove him for his own safety.  SCREAMING.

I wonder if recordings of babies screaming have ever been used in psychological warfare?  I mean, I hope not, but it would probably be very effective.  After a couple of hours of listening to Dash’s high decibel complaints, my eyeballs feel like they are going to fall out of my head and I just want to melt into a puddle on the floor (except that we have enough of those already.)  The point is, I will give him most anything to get him to settle down.

Oh, you want to smear blueberry juice all over yourself?  Okay.  Hmm, we do have to wash you off before you go on the carpet.  SCREAM!

Dump the crayons out all over the floor?  Why not?  I hate to risk upsetting you, but may I suggest some paper to go with those crayons?  No?  SCREAM!

Oh, you found my camera?  And you have that in one hand and a piece of waffle in the other?   Sorry to bother you, but could we please not rub the waffle on the camera lens?  SCREAM!

I was really starting to think that this was A LOT of meltdowns, even for Dash, and he might not be feeling very well.  Then the big boys decided to start moving furniture around in the living room and putting cushions on the floor.  Dash was immediately distracted from his tantrum and delightedly joined them in dismantling our primary living area.

All three of them played nicely for quite some time, at least until Finn closed the door on the playpen with Dash inside and we all had a moment of panic that he was going to freak out.  Fortunately, Dash knows how to dismantle the playpen.  He learned that around the same time that he figured out how to open cabinet locks and scale furniture to reach the highest vantage point.

Yup.  He’s a real handful.

So, what ever happened to Tom?  I don’t know, I lost touch with my friend when her family moved out of state.  But I have a feeling the now grown up Tom is using his boundless energy and exuberant personality to do something fantastic.

And I’m sure Dash will do the same.  As soon as he gets over the food throwing stage.


The exuberant Mr. Dash.

The exuberant Mr. Dash.


  1. Oh Jennifer! You are so strong (and a good mommy), but I will still pray for you. Lol!!

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