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Diagnosis Feisty

When Quinn was born, he seemed so laid back and easy compared to what we’d been used to. We delighted in the fact that even though one child kept us persistently on the edge of insanity with his constant need for interaction and his neverending quirks and "issues," the other child, The Easy One was there to balance everything out, and help us keep our perspective. Over the past year, what we’ve slowly come to realize is that Quinn is no longer, in any way, shape, or form, “easy”. At best, the kid is normal. At worst, he has turned into an aggressive and manipulative toddler as a result of a dangerous combination: an intensely controlling brother, natural charm and age-related cuteness, and parents who fell asleep at the wheel.

Yesterday we took Quinn to the doctor for his three-year check-up. I’ve been sitting here trying to decide what the highlight of the experience was. For instance, was it when Quinn shouted indignantly as John carried him to the exam room, “No! I don’t LIKE Dr. W!” right at the exact second Dr. W happened to be standing 18 inches away? Was it when the soft-spoken and genuinely friendly nurse asked Quinn to remove his shorts so that the doctor could examine him when she came into the room and Quinn shot daggers out of his eyes and repeated “No!” 25 times at her? Was it when, after John told Quinn to get over himself and took his shorts off for him and also began removing his socks, Quinn shrieked a shriek that suggested his thin, too-small socks were protecting his feet from the burning acid his ignorant parents didn’t realize was spread all over the examination table?

No, innocent readers. None of these humiliating moments were the highlight. The highlight came when, after spending 15 minutes role-playing with Quinn about what Dr. W was going to do, showing Quinn how he was going to have to lay on the table while she looked at his ears and knees and stomach, reminding him about how we use our manners and our soft voices to speak to people, Quinn made his final transformation into Psycho Boy. Psycho Boy started out with a flushed face and a deceiving hide-behind-mom stance that made us all think he was still just a normal, nervous three-year-old child. When we placed Psycho Boy onto the exam table, saying, “remember Quinn? This is where you sit while Dr. W looks at your ears, and your eyes, and your stomach?” he almost kept up the deception. When he heard us refer to his ears, though, Psycho Boy quickly stuck both fingers in his ears and turned away from Dr. W, who was attempting to have a conversation with him. It took all of my strength to get Psycho Boy’s fingers out of his ears so Dr. W could lay him down, but even with both of us pushing on him, his body remained at an unnatural angle, his face beet red, his entire body shaking with the exertion of fighting off two grown women, all the while yelling, “NO! STOP! I DON’T WANNA LAY DOWN!” He finally plopped back in exhaustion, but then he remembered his secret weapon, the one he’d been saving up for this exact moment, the one that would surely lead to his escape from the evil clutches of his mother and his pediatrician. Stuck on his back like a turtle, and with a perfect shot within view, knowing his stupid, stupid mother was focusing on his upper body, Psycho Boy lifted both feet and with animal strength and speed (think: jackrabbit) KICKED THE CRAP OUT OF DR. W’s CHEST.

“Whoah!” Dr. W exclaimed, jumping back from Psycho Boy. “You have strong legs!” Then, looking back and forth from me to John, who was halfway out the door by now, pretending to have suddenly realized his real family was actually at Disney World and he’d best be on his way to find them, “He’s a lot more feisty than his brother, isn’t he?”

Uh, more feisty than Mr. Intensity? Crap. Yes. Yes, he is more feisty than his brother. We’re in deep, deep crap here, people. Send help.