There is a terror that lives in our home and his name is Joe-Joe. My 13-month-old son terrorizes the house and home with a menacing array of destruction rivaled only by Godzilla.
The other day my daughter Lainey, age 6, had a loose tooth. The lower incisor had been dangling by a thread for weeks and Lainey was too chicken to pull it out. My wife and I suggested twisting it, wobbling it back and forth, chewing something hard, but the tooth would not give way. Joey watched as my wife and I took turns carefully wiggling the tooth, and then he took matters into his own hands. Joey attacked Lainey, caught her with her mouth agape, and with one mighty swoop of his slobbery hand, jarred that tooth free from the gumline. Lainey laughed in surprise and appreciation. The Tooth Fairy delivered three bucks that night. I suggested that Joey deserved a cut, but Lainey kept it all.
The next day, another household predicament: Where was the remote? I searched all day, high and low for it with no success. For three days that thing was missing, certainly gone forever. We were positive that Joey had tossed it into the garbage and our beloved remote was in the landfill. But then my wife discovered the device jammed into the neck of Joey’s basketball hoop toy. It took a while to remove it, but the remote was eventually recovered intact, and in better shape than me some days.
I have been bruised by this baby. He stands 27 inches high, and weighs nearly 30 pounds. He is in the 90th percentile for height and weight, and his head size is 99th. And when he gets mad he starts waving his head with terrible force, like a medieval flail. He’s nailed me in the throat, chest, bruised the orbital bone of my eye. If that doesn’t get you, he pulls hair, or scratches and draws blood.
He breaks everything. Joey pushed his drumstick through the center of his drum. Rips newspapers and magazines to shreds. Bites electrical cords, hands, feet, and has placed everything from rubber bands to, iPods to rectal thermometers in his mouth. He hides his pacifier in shoes, and chucks his toys into the toilet or bathtub.
He loves the tub! Can’t get enough of it. And he’ll scream if he hears that faucet running, until he gets his hands wet, then he’ll laugh hysterically. He also loves toothbrushes for some reason. If you’re brushing, better hand him one or prepare to face the consequences.
Yet all this madness doesn’t slow the kid down. At the end of the day he doesn’t want to sleep. He’s up every three hours, if not two, demanding his pacifier. And then he'll cry and cry and want to sleep in my bed. Then Lainey gets jealous and joins us. Then he sees big sis, goes nuts laughing and nobody gets any sleep.
But the damn thing is, he is so cute. The way he waddles around so businesslike, mumbling about the tupperware bowl he just stole from the cupboard. Or the way he points at an object, makes a senseless remark and then expects some sort of answer. Or how he snuggles into my arms when he’s tired, or plants a big sloppy kiss on my cheek. And of course the way he says, “Dadda.” Melts my heart. Even if he is saying it to the neighbor, or the chandelier, or a car.