Darin's Point of No Return

My child is a lunatic.

Now, “lunatic” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Does it mean that she’s stark-raving mad, and a threat to public safety? Does it mean she’s a playful goofball, oblivious to all social norms, with a solitary pursuit of making herself laugh at her own level of wackiness? Does it mean she’s unpredictable, and has a proclivity to “howl at the moon?”

Yes. Yes, it does.

She’s a lunatic, by every definition of the word. Equipped with the unique ability to make me laugh at a moment of light-hearted silliness, stare at her in disbelief as I question everything I ever thought about her level of common sense and to wordlessly wonder if I’m raising an evil genius, the child stretches the parameters of sanity, causing tears and laughter to all who venture into her path.

I’m directly in that path. I know of what I speak when it comes to the lunacy of this little bundle of joy. Trust me when I say this: L-U-N-A-T-I-C.

This is not a situation where we see instances of lunacy sprinkled into her personality. No, no, no. In all honesty, we sometimes see instances of sanity sprinkled into her lunacy. From the moment she opens her eyes until the very second her mother and I are high-fiving each other after she falls asleep at night, she is high-speed, no-drag, all-lunatic, all-the-time.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, every 4-year-old is a handful.”

Sure they are. And every snake has a tongue, but some are much more dangerous than others and require a lot more safety-standards in place while handling them. I mean, I guess I’m assuming every snake has a tongue. It’s not like I walk around “snakey” areas on purpose and conduct oral exams...

But I digress.

My point was that my particular little bundle of joy is, well, one of those snakes that you have to be a little cautious around. Not that I’m calling her a snake, mind you, but, well, if the forked tongue fits...

Her lunacy is a good thing nine times out of 10, at least to this warped mind. I enjoy that she yells “Hello” at every neighbor who takes a walk by our house, and get a kick out of the fact that she laughs her hardest when she realizes I’m teasing her about something. It’s awesome that she dances and sings when she gets to first base during a T-ball game, and there’s very little, if anything at all, that I enjoy hearing more than when she sits down next to me and asks if she can cuddle.

But, oh boy, there is a switch.

You know how mild-mannered Bruce Banner “Hulks” out and becomes a ferocious, building-wrecking beast when he gets angry? Yeah, the Hulk is a wimp.

Did I mention my daughter is a lunatic? She goes from smart to, well, not smart, in the exact amount of time it takes her to process that we asked her to do something. What I mean by this is that she gets punished every single time she acts up, and there is little, if anything, she hates more than getting punished.

But what does she do? Yeah, she gets punished.

“Pick up your toys.”

“But I’m tired.”

“Then take a nap.”

“I don’t want to take a nap.”

“Then pick up your toys.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“Here’s an idea: Pick up your toys and I’ll get you a snack.”

“But I’m tired.”

“Here’s another idea for you: Pick up your toys or get punished.”

Guess which choice she makes? Every single time. And guess who’s the bad guy?

Well, my wife. I’m far too handsome and dashing to ever play the bad guy. Nobody would ever buy that casting choice. I’m more like a Prince Charming-type-guy than...

Second digression this week. I apologize.

Eventually, she wears down and picks up her toys. Or brushes her teeth. Or stops trying to make her cat wear a princess costume. Or eats her brussel sprouts. Or stops trying to hotwire the car while we’re asleep at night. Still reading? Just had to check.

Every kid is a lunatic. I get that. And there honestly isn’t a thing I’d want to change about my little one’s personality, because the positives of her particular strain of lunacy outweigh the negatives. I remember saying right after she was born that my goal one day was to stand in a crowd and overhear someone say about my daughter, “Man, she is a handful.”

And I want her to be just that. I want her to work for everything she gets. I want her to not let anything get in her way. I want her to find laughter in even the most mundane of acts. I want her to be the captain of her life’s journey.

But a little less lunacy would be nice. Just saying.

Executive Editor

Darin is a native of Washington, D.C, and studied journalism at Temple University. He is a combat-veteran Marine, and has worked as a reporter and editor throughout the country. He is married and has one daughter, who doubles as his harshest critic.