Weird is Good

I’m weird. My wife is weird. Everyone I know is weird. So we try to use that word in a good way around here. The opposite of weird is normal, and normal is boring. That said, holy shit is my 5 year-old weird since starting Kindergarten. Last night as I read him a book, he kept moving his head in a repetitive looping motion on my shoulder, like a cartoon character trying to keep his eyes on a housefly. Kids do strange stuff like that, so at first I ignored it, but eventually became curious and annoyed enough to pry. “What’s this thing you’re doing with your head?”  Without stopping, or even acknowledging that his actions were bizarre, he answered, “Making an H.” Right, that’s totally reasonable — just lying in bed at night using your head as an imaginary pencil to make hundreds of imaginary H’s. There’s air guitar, so why can’t there be air head-writing? Because there’s no regular head writing? Good point. His mother used to air-type with her fingertips “get me out of here” on her leg whenever she was bored, and I chanted “chick woot” like a deranged robot for most of 1985, so maybe it’s a genetic thing.

An hour before, he was sitting at the dinner table obsessively reciting rhymes about how to make various numbers. “Curve two circles around two trees, that’s how you make the number three.” Or something like that. “Make an H and then go straight to the floor. Now you’ve got the number four.” Look, I can’t remember them, and I’m not a poet, but you get the idea: my kid’s brain is overloaded with information and it’s spilling out through any available opening. I suppose it’s good that he’s learning letters and numbers and such, and his teacher is great, but I think a CT scan might reveal that his brain is totally engulfed in flames, and I’d honestly prefer he had more of a slow-burn going on up there. Are we in a hurry of some kind? Do the kids ever get to spend a whole day just staring at a hedgehog? What about a “FUN WITH VELCRO” day?

Not only is he “weird” when returning from school, but since it’s a full day program, he’s also cranky, exhausted and hungry and completely unwilling to admit to any of it. The hours during the day when he’s happy, alert, focused and sweet, are now all spent at school. When he enters the house at 3:30, his body collapses into a heap of need, while his brain powers through the evening like Rocky Balboa in the 15th round. I’m told it takes a while for the kids to adjust to all this. I’m just hopeful that he won’t spend Thanksgiving practicing a cursive D with his tongue on the inside of his cheek, like I did for all of 1979.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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