Often, during the course of this pandemic, we have remarked that our children are slowing becoming savages. Surely, they are turning feral, devoid of proper socialization. Just this past week, my son decided to time himself as he peeled a banana. With his feet. Not that I saw this unfold, I had to hear about it from our nanny. He did this, for our nanny. Apparently he did it in under a minute and didn’t bruise or squish the banana at all, which leads me to believe he has practiced this before. Afterward, he buried the banana in the snow in the back yard for, “an enrichment activity for the squirrels.” At least he’s a considerate monkey, like Curious George, who is not a monkey, because he doesn’t have a tail.
However, when I say that we are raising savages, that wild child ideal is not actually what I’m talking about. Mostly. No, my children have the uncanny knack of being totally and utterly savage to us and each other. They routinely roast each other with the ferocity of a rabid fan base who’s icon has done something they dislike. And the best/worst part of it is the absolute stellar moments of this savagery are almost always unplanned. It’s the best because the roaster is as unprepared for it as the roastee. It’s also the worst because there is no way to capture it, except in memory, and then for the next few days they struggle to recapture that magic and it’s painful AF as they butcher a beautiful moment.
I started noticing this proclivity toward sharp, absolutely cutting wit when my eldest child was only five or six. She was playing soccer for the first year and was not loving it. She hates running and is a bit of a loner, and a team sport where it’s all running was probably the worst choice for her. Anyway, we were walking toward another practice and she was dragging her cleats, trying to delay getting there. I had already found out why she didn’t like practice on the ride over, so I looked at her and said, “What you need is just a ridiculous amount of optimism. Like, just stupid optimism. Just, run into it and yell and not think about it. We can even make tee shirts to wear together!” With no hesitation she said, “I’ll wear the shirt that says ‘Optimism.'” I was so proud. It was also the inspiration for this Blog.
Jump to just before the beginning this pandemic and my daughter passed the torch of savagery to her younger brother who was eight at the time. One day they were all joking around and trying to top one another by saying how awesome they were when Sophia said, “I can be a model.” And Sam looked at her earnestly and says, “Yeah, in the Renaissance.” The entire table was silent for a heartbeat and then we all fell out. Sophia looked both shocked and proud, Jayme and I nearly fell off our chairs, and Elaina, the youngest, just looked confused. Sam actually looked hurt. Turns out he thought he was giving a complement, but he knew it was a funny one, but had no idea how savage it was. If you don’t, take a moment and search “Renaissance Models.” To Sam’s credit, he was legitimately appalled when we looked up “Ruben-esque.”
About two weeks ago, our youngest took up the mantle when Sam was laying on the floor (as young children do) and said, apropos of nothing, “Do you know what I hate about jeans.” and Elaina, sensing an opportunity, said, “That you can’t button them.” Pure savage, and the final twist of the knife was the evil cackle that emanated from her when she realized she scored a kill shot. Turns out, Sam’s pants were unbuttoned and she was making an observation, but her pure enjoyment of the burn was truly the savage part.
We say we’re trying to not raise feral children, and for the most part we’ve succeeded, my kids all want to help out the neighborhood, donate time and money for good causes, they go out of their ways to be kind. But some days turn into full moons, their bloodlust gets the better of them and nobody is safe. I can’t wait to unleash them onto the world, and I’m not in the least bit sorry. Except for their future spouses. For them, I’m deeply sorry and as a wedding present I’m setting aside money for your first year of therapy.