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Quinnisms: Tragicomedy At Its Best

Quinn is the "baby" of the house. I have "baby" in quotes because in my head I realize that at 2 1/2 years old, he is no longer technically in that category, but since he carries on baby-like dialogue, has chubby toddler cheeks and silky thin hair, and still wears diapers, I will cling to the "baby" title as long as humanly possible without completely losing my last shred of dignity. (The kids were 18.5 months apart, so their true "baby" days went by in a blur; let me enjoy what little is left!) From the beginning, Quinn has fit the Baby Mold - he walked later, talked later, hit all the difficult stages later than average and later than Bryce had. He was termed The Easy One (sorry Bryce, but there's no getting around this one - you were definitely The High Maintenance One) from the very earliest days of his existence, and until the horrible reality of his second year gave us the rudest awakening of our lives, he was pretty consistent with his content, laid back, happy, easy-going nature.

The "terrible twos" with Quinn have really been more like the "bipolar twos" - he can't completely let go of that sweet, wonderful underlying puppy-like personality, but he also can't control the Rage of a Thousand Demons that seems to come spewing out at the most inoppurtune moments - in the middle of a quiet section in the grocery store or restaurant, for instance, or during a phone call from a client while, idiot that I am, I attempt to give directions to a photo shoot location for John after I, idiot that I am, make the idiotic decision to be an idiot and pick up the phone with a two-year-old in the room. IDIOT! Bryce ALWAYS picks those times to take whatever Quinn is interested in, seeing as how he's bigger, stronger, and faster than Quinn, whose only defense is to unleash his fury on the world by taking a deep breath, first trembling in preparation, then tightening his entire body and letting out a blood-curdling SHRIEK while simultaneously pointing both fingers straight out in front of him as if to say, "I condemn you all to HELL, you treacherous fiends!!!!" Whoah. And you should see his bad side.

Then there are the moments that Quinn cracks up entire rooms full of people (and in these times I can hardly remember the demon-Quinn who will terrorize us all if we keep him up too late, even by ONE SINGLE MINUTE). The other night at dinner things were a little dicey - the boys are always both on edge and we teeter between threatening to send them to their rooms and just throwing in the towel and giving them permission to destroy the entire house, just so we don't have to worry about things breaking anymore. But sometimes Quinn really saves us all with his hilarity, and the other night was one of those times. After several admonishments for spreading cold, sticky noodles around on the table, dropping bread chunks into his water glass, smashing black beans into paste, and loudly interrupting everyone at one point or another, Quinn got out of his chair, which was about to be the final straw for my patience level. I told him to get back into his chair and he turned around and in a very Eeyore-like, fake deep voice said, "O-KAY.. M o m m y..," which made us all giggle. Then he realized he had an audience and said, "Watch THIS!" and proceeded to mouth what looked like gibberish, with a completely straight face. We were laughing with the silent, can't breathe kind of laughter that really could have caused us to choke since we were eating at the time. We realized after a few minutes (this went on and on) that he was actually doing his famous "roll call", only without sound, because then he started pointing while he was doing it. It got difficult for him to keep up, so he started whispering rather than mouthing, and we heard this little two-year-old whispery voice pointing out everything at the table: "That's soup, that's cornbread, that's milk, that's Bryce, that's butter, that's a spoon, that's mommy, that's daddy, that's Quinn..."

Because Bryce talks SO MUCH, Quinn started out having a difficult time getting a word in edgewise, which is probably why he was a late talker. And now that he's perfected the art of Getting the Attention of Those Around Him, he won't let it go without a fight - hence, the notorious roll call mentioned earlier. If he doesn't have anything in particular to say, but feels left out of a conversation, he will do this sort of stream-of-consciousness talking that gradually increases in speed and volume until he's sure that 100% of the available listening audience is tuned in - this usually starts out with him repeating the last part of the most recent conversation, then pointing out everyone present in the room or car, and by the time he has your attention, it seems to turn into some kind of weird, fast-forwarded version of a reprimand for something completely random. It ends up going something like this: "It's a big slide for older kids. We're not going on it today because it's late, we're going home to bed, and there's Happy Donald's (a morph of Happy Meal and McDonald's, I think), french fries chicken nuggets milk there's Brycethere'sdaddythere'smommythere'sQuinnthere'sBryce. [now he has our attention due to speed and volume] No, Mommy, don't say that!! Don't say that, Bryce! Daddy, don't say that. DON'T SAY THAT!!!" We're all dazed and confused by the end of these exchanges, but Quinn thinks they are quite amusing. And he gets exactly what he wanted out of it - an audience.

I think these performances are as much for his entertainment as they are for ours, though. This puppy-like creature has used his baby status to achieve complete and total manipulation. Hey, if his bipolar two-year-old self gets some satisfaction from making us all squirm between delight and terror, let him have it. He deserves something for the challenges he faces as the final of four time- and attention-consuming individuals. No, I'm not biased towards the baby. Not at all. But isn't he adorable?