When you are the youngest child of three boys, you get left out of a lot of things that look like a lot of fun. And when you’re the youngest child of three boys and you are left out of a lot of fun things, you seek to destroy those things in the hopes of participating or at least getting some attention.
My family didn’t have three kids and we were a boy-girl sibling pair, so while the destruction surely happened - there is one familiar story my mom can hardly tell without choking with laughter about the time I was playing with Barbies and Leland would pick up the one I had just put down, rip its head off, and huck the head as far as he could across the basement - I can only imagine that its frequency was less than it currently is in my house. After all, elaborate LEGO creations are hardly doll appendages. When a LEGO fortress with docked rocket ships is hucked across the room, it makes a big mess and that big mess is guaranteed to send the older brothers to mom in hysterics.
I surely pay less attention to Freddie than I did to either Charles or Jamie when they were two. The majority of the books read aloud in our house are books for the school-agers, meant to fulfill their 20 minutes per night reading requirement (a surprisingly high bar to hit when you work all day and have meetings and fitness classes and sports practices and someone has to cook and clean and make lunches and fold laundry, et cetera, ad infitum), so poor Freddie doesn’t often get to hear about the Little Blue Truck or how Mater saved the day this time. He only gets a bath when he absolutely needs it, and often I make one if his brothers get in there and monitor him while I catch up on housework. He doesn’t get his teeth brushed in the morning. Sometimes I look up from feeding the dog to find that he is using his scissors on the drapes or has turned the bathroom sink into a footbath. I don’t get down on my hands and knees and play trains very often because, dammit, it hurts.
Freddie seeks attention any way he can, and he is good at getting it. Recently, Jamie played basketball at the Y with other 3-5 year olds. It was a weekly practice to learn skills and I had to take Charles and Freddie with me and keep them occupied while Jamie learned how to pass and dribble (sort of). Right before the five-week program started, I was hit by my stupid dog and her stupid dog friend at the stupid dog park and sprained my stupid MCL. I could barely walk for a few days and definitely couldn’t run or get up from a sitting-on-the-floor position with ease. Which is what we did at the basketball practice: we sat on the floor for an hour. I mean, that’s what we were supposed to do, but it’s hard to sit still when you’re two. One big brother was playing basketball and the other big brother with chilling with a friend playing games on the friend’s mom’s phone, and I was chatting with one of MY friends (I have some!)… kiddo started feeling neglected, I guess. So he did what any self-respecting toddler would do: he pulled down his pants and ran as fast as he could away from me.
He was pretty fast, and I had a hard time getting up, so he made it a good way across the gym before I caught up with him. He was wearing a red cloth diaper and shrieking as he ran and if I hadn’t been trying really hard to keep him from disrupting the basketball practice, I would have laughed until I cried.
It got a bit less funny the next time he did it.
Pretty soon, it was a grand game, and I had to pull him, squirming and squawking, out of the gym. By then, though, the pattern was set. Every time we went to Jamie’s basketball practice, Freddie dropped trou and ran away, giggling like a wee piglet.
Then it was Christmas and we didn’t play basketball for awhile, but Charles just started his elementary-age league and sure enough, on the sidelines with my sweet punkin, what does he do when he sees all the kids with basketballs? Immediately tries to pull down his pants and run away. The world is less forgiving of the cute, pantless boy when it’s an actual game with coaches and whistles and defense and everything.
I had a friend in college who got naked, or nearly naked, at every. single. party. Freddie is going to be the guy who streaks every. single. game.