When they cross the threshold of some places, their mind shuts off and whatever nibbling of a demon that lies in wait within every child takes control. There is no longer a difference between indoor and outdoor voices; there is only CAPS LOCK. There is no longer walking or standing or sitting; there is only running, full-tilt. There is no longer patience and courtesy and manners; there is only chaos.

On a good day, they have pure, unadulterated energy coursing through their veins, urging them to maintain constant movement. Their bodies are perpetual motion machines, fueled by oxygen and chocolate milk and fishie crackers. On a good day. When they cross the threshold of some places, they become pint-sized nuclear warheads, detonated upon entry.

This energy is new, but also not. They’ve always been, from the moment labour started, high-energy children, both of them. Sleep is for the weak, they’ll rest when they’re dead, if you’re not moving, you’re dying, GO! GO! GO! They leave a wake of destruction and ruin, like a tornado or a hurricane or both, working in tandem. There are brief moments of down time, emphasis on brief, where they’ll play quietly or silently colour or watch part of a movie without uttering a word. These are rare and precious and priceless. Like a diamond, but not one of those blood ones.

But in between the calm comes chaos. They’re filled with a toxic blend of hyper-joy and frantic-rage; the concoction swirling around inside of them as one, terrifying life-force. They’re kids just being kids – not unusual or abnormal in the slightest – but lately, it’s like they’ve taken their child-like insanity, concentrated it, and then they lose every semblance of control of themselves they’ve ever had. At certain times and in certain places, I also lose control of them, too. There’s no speaking to them as they can barely hear my pleas to JUST. CALM. DOWN. over the sound of their own screaming voices.

It’s possible that I’m exaggerating, but that would be the post-traumatic stress disorder talking. All the memories of loud, outdoor voices, temper tantrums, and sauciness have strong-armed the good memories into repression. I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seems. My children are sweet, hilarious, loving, incredibly intelligent creatures, but, possibly because of that, they are exhausting, both physically and mentally. Again, not unique or unusual, it’s just, after nearly 6 years at this parenting gig, I still haven’t figured out how to deal with it. There are no breathing techniques or specialized training that makes every stage of childhood easy to deal with. The one we’re in now, with the EXTREME energy and the boundary exploration and the testing of mommy’s patience, will ebb and flow into something better or worse or more or less or completely different altogether and I have no doubt I’ll have absolutely no idea how to deal with the next stage either.

There are so many good times with my children and with all children. Too many to quantify. They’re wee bundles of goodness, packaged together in adorable paper and bows. It’s those insignificant things, a staple in the box that cuts your finger or a fit thrown at Granny’s house, that fog your memory briefly. Sometimes you can’t see the rainbow past the storm clouds, and that is such a waste of time. But I can’t help it as much as anyone else. This stage is frustrating and I can only trust that we will, eventually, get through it.

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