Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 is a day that will live in infamy. It will go down in the record books of recorded history as the day that Otto Francisco Cohen had his first official knock down, drag out tantrum. Add to that crying, snot swirling, fist clenching, lip shaking, oh so shrill screeching and body stiffening and you have a small window into our late morning here at Casa De Cohen. Dave was walking out the door to go to work when this craziness began and like the menschy, super cool, awesome husband, electric guitar powered ultra dad he stuck around and we conquered the beast together, one giggle at a time.
It was as if the devil himself entered Otto through a portal in his sippy cup and took him over like a terrible fashion choice on a very great actress. When you see Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep stroll down the red carpet looking like an old discarded sofa bed or a Wooly Mammoth after the slaughter you know it is not really them you are looking at but a vessel that has been taken over by a soldier of Satan. Behind every poorly dressed star is a bitter, coke addicted stylist who once had aspirations of an acting career. Yet, after too many failed relationships with directors and dealers who wanted her to stop her bad acting and start sucking their wieners, she began a life of blow for breakfast, collecting cats and buying great accessories at discount prices.
My child, on the other hand, was possessed by a beast much more deadly, the hysterical split personality tantrum monster. For some reason he was upset that daddy was having a conversation outside with a neighbor instead of handing him a cookie ASAP. Then, after coming into the house and being given the dreaded cookie, he proceeded to scream and holler, wanting to be picked up and put down, left alone and coddled, ignored and lavished with attention all at the same time. He had no idea what he wanted and no way of getting it. Sybil was in the house!
Daddy went upstairs to shower and all hell really broke loose. I sat in my bathrobe with wet, uncombed hair and no underwear on trying to console a small child who hated every ounce of my being. Always make sure you are wearing under garments before heading into battle. It is confidence builder and something I was clearly lacking today. His behavior was such that you would think I had cut off all this fingers with a plastic knife and made him watch as I fed them to the cat, who is a very slow, picky eater who chews with his mouth open. I offered him a ball, some juice, a book and total silence but none of these options seemed to calm him down. How about a broken toy Ferrari, a wind up car with a wheel missing, a small, wooden block made in China with toxic paint and a terrible drawing of a cat, a half deflated balloon with a skull on it, a deck of 47 cards or a half eaten piece of banana walnut bread from October that you just found in your toy chest?
To my surprise, none of these wildly attractive items seemed to quell his hysteria. When his dad came down stairs he began to cry even harder for me and wanted me to pick him up. I bent over to get him and he recoiled in disgust. Nothing says unconditional love like your tiny, yet professionally loud son screaming and running away from you as if you were a dude in a van with a masking tape collection and a pile of old Tiger Beat magazines.
Dave and I both knew he needed a diaper change and some food but neither wanted to go it alone. If I changed his diaper and Dave left, I would be the bad guy and pay for it for hours. Dave, in turn, would get the same treatment if he went solo so we banded together and hoped for the best. I scooped him up and followed Dave upstairs where we both had to hold him down as we removed his urine filled diaper and tried our best to calm the wildebeest. He was so mad and uncooperative that all we could do was stare down in amazement at this Tasmanian devil that we both spawned. He actually came out of my belly and I thought that at least he wasn’t acting this way the day he was born. That could have been really painful and extremely embarrassing and very, very messy.
After successfully getting him changed and into some pajamas, I put him down on the rug and we both just let him scream it out as we silently read our favorite books of his. Dave got lost in Cowboy and Octopus and I perused a collection of Ogden Nash poems to see if he had ever written one about a never ending tantrum and could shed witty light on the subject. No such luck but our interest in something other than him made Otto finally come to his senses. When he realized we were ignoring him completely and enjoying ourselves, he stopped crying and came over to me and collapsed in my lap. I held him for ten minutes until Dave decided it was time for him to finally get going. Otto looked up as soon as Dave got to the door of his room and ran to give him a hug. Otto then pulled away and pointed at the stairs and laughed as if nothing had happened. That little fucker. He went right back to awesome and adorable as if no tear or a glob of snot ever left his body.
He is now sleeping soundly after a big lunch and a lot of inside jokes and knee slapping humor. Those fart sounds are priceless and always bring back the funny around here. Whatever set him off will forever remain a mystery but I can be thankful that the inevitable finally arrived in the safety of my own home. It did, however, not rear its ugly head at Target, at the play ground, on an airplane or God forbid, in a Mommy and Me class where other mommy’s could see how hard core Little Lucifer could be and never invite my angelic child over for a play date again. Hmm, now that’s an idea.