So apparently Rollie has acquired a split-personality.
Yesterday, sometime around 3 o'clock, my darling son transformed himself from the happy, agreeable, only slightly rambunctious and this close to potty-trained little boy he'd been all day into a spitting, toy-throwing, floor-peeing, sister-squishing monster.
It was quite miraculous, really. One minute he was diligently building his train set and occasionally glancing up at the TV to catch glimpses of his new favorite character (Wubzy) while I checked email and puttered around in the kitchen, the next thing I knew, he was jumping up and down on the couch, and when I told him to get down, he did a flying leap into the middle of his train tracks and started kicking over bridges and overpasses he'd just set up. And when I asked him to stop doing that, he attempted to do a cartwheel over Elsa, who up until then had spent the last five minutes trying to pick up a piece of grass embedded in the carpet. Unfortunately, Rollie is not a gymnast--he ended up doing a barrel roll and fell flat on Elsa's back.
I sent him to his room, where he stayed for a total of twenty seconds before running out clutching every blanket he could find from his room and flinging them over Elsa's head. And then he went for another cartwheel, though this time he really didn't make it, and kicked Elsa in the face (at least I think so--it was sort of hard to tell which end of hers was up beneath all the blankets).
The only reason I didn't immediately bind Rollie to his booster seat with duct tape was that I knew exactly why he was behaving this way: No Nap. On days when Rollie decides he'd rather play with every conceivable toy in his bedroom (and hence scatter them around so that by the time I discover what he's up to I can hardly see the carpet beneath the mess), his personality deteriorates. Rapidly. Perhaps you, too, have noticed the final stage in what I like to think of as the Stages Of Consciousness. The first few stages, Awake&Normal, Borderline Functional, and Whiny I can deal with fairly well. But all the Over-Tired stage makes me want to do is get in my car and drive. Away. Like, super-duper fast.
Let's examine this fascinating final stage more closely, shall we? Since we all have so much time to read anything longer than instructions on the back of a box of macaroni and cheese.
Over-Tired. We can break this stage into two sub-stages. Your child’s disposition will determine which sub-stage he falls into, although some children will vacillate between the two, or in special cases, occupy both at the same time.
Over-Tired Silly. This stage is when appendages flail for no apparent reason, when any instructions you may give will bounce off like pebbles off bullet-proof glass. This is also the stage that will most likely result in a trip to the ER, because while there is normally little regard for his own well-being, when a child is Over-Tired Silly, there is absolutely none. While he might be somewhat cautious when he scales his baby gate, when he is Over-Tired Silly, all bets are off. Distance judgment becomes severely impaired or vanishes completely; a child in the Awake&Normal phase might see a three-foot leap from the coffee table to the couch as risky and dangerous, an OTS child sees it as an absolute hoot, and will perform the jump over and over until he either injures himself and becomes Over-Tired Miserable, or you scream I can’t take it anymore and retreat to your bathtub with an entire box of wine. If this is the case, he will still be performing this maneuver, but will no longer have you to torment with it.
And while the OTS stage is annoying, exhausting, yet somehow kind of amusing all at once, it is by far a better stage to deal with than…
Over-Tired Miserable. This stage is exactly as it sounds. Your child is over-tired and he is making you miserable. He’s miserable, too, of course, but Over-Tired Miserable has a Midas effect. Everything and everyone an Over-Tired Miserable child touches will also become miserable. This is when tears spring forth if the child is so much as breathed on the wrong way. When any suggestion is met with a ‘no’, even if you’re suggesting a visit to Santa Claus himself coupled with a promise that every wish and dream the child has ever had is about to come true. This is the absolute last stop on the express train to Unconsciousness-ville. Not much can be done with an Over-Tired Miserable, except to deposit him in the nearest bed and hope sleep comes soon. And then you can have a drink, because anyone dealing with an Over-Tired Miserable child for any amount of time deserves to be richly rewarded. In my book that means with alcohol. Big surprise.