Hormones. Kids Have Them.

Hormones. Kids have them. Both genders. Which was a real disappointment, let me tell you, because I was pretty invested in the sexist idea that I’d only have to deal with wild mood swings in my girl children. But no. Boys have hormones, too. And we often see the effects way, way earlier than we expect.

I remember sitting around with other mothers of 9-year-old boys several years ago. Not to be dramatic, but we were shocky and confused as we stumbled out of the smoldering wreck with minor lacerations and ash on our faces, struggling for air. We all sat there a little pale with eyes too wide, stumbling over our words, most of which came out, “The ??” Swear to God, it was like trying to parent Honey Badger, except maybe regressive Honey Badger with bonus tantrum material.

Well, we’ve been riding the kid hormone train for several years now — not to mention the fact that I’ve been trapped on it for nearly 30 years myself — and I like to think we know how to recognize the signs when we’ve got a new Honey Badger on board.

Raging? Check.
Crying? Check.
Screaming WHY DO YOU ALL KEEP BREATHING AT ME? YOU ARE DOING IT ON PURPOSE and GRRAAAHHHHH! Check.

You know what helps when Honey Badger’s on the train?

NOTHING.

Well, technically time helps, but, as Anne Lamott says, that’s “a very hostile and aggressive position” and we might hope for bad things to happen to someone who tells us that things get better with time. Time? Who has time to wait for timeHoney Badger is going to kill us all.

The worst part for the new Honey Badger is, of course, the fact that the child doesn’t know she’s possessed. The rational being is buried too deep. It may be years before the rational being is able to build enough trust with Honey Badger to whisper, “Just go to your room, Honey Badger. Killing your pillow does less damage.” Frankly, my rational being isn’t always successful at this, and it’s been working on that trust thing for years.

So what do we do in the meantime? I have a new idea.

Our latest Honey Badger did something cool this week. She expressed herself. With screaming, yes. With raging, yes. With crying, yes. But also with art. Art! Which is — get this — appropriate and helpful. (Take that, Time.) And I must say, I feel that this particular work of art gets right to the heart of the matter.

photo (60)

Angery Dragon

So here’s my proposal: Let us take Angery Dragon and make her into flags. Flags we can fly as a warning to all who come near. And flags we fly in honor of everyone who fights the good fight despite our internal Honey Badger. Flags of mercy and flags of respect.

Also, t-shirts. I want mine in wrath black with Angery Dragon the color of molten lava. I plan to wear it 18 days per month.

Sincerely,
It Takes One to Know One

……….

If Honey Badger just boarded your train, you might also want to read
I love you. You’re not alone. Knock it off.

Got a Honey Badger story to share?
DO IT. Honey Badger don’t care, but I do.

Also, what color of Angery Dragon shirt do you want?

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
26 comments
  1. […] sending me messages asking to buy real stuff. “But Beth,” you wrote when I told you Angery Dragon t-shirts were only imaginary, “we need actual t-shirts so we can warn people when […]

  2. Love this post!! I am dealing with three kids who are full of hormone issues. Plus their Daddy and I also have them big time. I love her drawing!!

  3. I want angery dragon in GOLD on a RED shirt.

    I love seeing anyone who can create through the pain. Me, I create on a regular day, so during those angery dragon days, I’m pretty much useless.

    Maybe if I had the shirt, I could get down to it.

  4. Dude. My son (8) has recently gone honey badger. I expected it from my 2nd daughter who has always been passionate (moody to the extreme…). I got it finally when my first daughter, the even tempered one, (now 16) said at about 10 ‘I don’t know why I’m crying!’ to which I replied ‘OH, I know why you are crying’. Totally looking forward to the younger two because they are the wild cards, I’m still figuring them out.

    It’s funny how understanding restores compassion when a moment earlier, resisting the urge to strangle them was the greatest thing I could accomplish.

    I guess I can forgive each of them for their honey badger moments because they have grace for mine, which are honey badger meets radioactive meltdown. (It’s true when they say “Ain’t Momma happy, Ain’t NOBODY happy.”)

  5. I am mostly out of the hormonal loop with my own children (26,17), but my grand daughter (sometimes lovingly called the grand monster) is 7 and I watch her in the mornings before school. I will need a dragon shirt in every color please, but leave the Angery Dragon black, because I am thinking that is the best color for the rage…I love the idea of the fabric done in a nice running shirt. You will not catch me actually running, but the thought will be there ;0)
    You are seriously my fave mommy blogger. I copy and paste you to my friends who are in the throws of parenting, because you are so SPOT. ON. Thank you for your awesomeness (that is probably not a word).

  6. Love love that drawing! Here’s a website that you can get it printed on fabric for that flag. http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome

  7. Also, I have been feeling very Angery Dragon today myself. I may have turned 30 today( May 22…it’s still today because I haven’t slept yet, forget the fact that it is already tomorrow), and people may have let the milestone birthday slip their mind, resulting in me buying my own dinner from McDonalds at 11p.m. GGGGggggrrr…tear*

    1. Happy belated birthday Natalie! People who forget birthdays should be drawn and quartered (in keeping with the dragon theme!). For my own 30th birthday, my idiot ex-husband married the wench he broke up our marriage for (I – idiot that I am – threw him a huge surprise party for his 30th birthday 2 years before). Yes, he did this ON my 30th birthday. He also should be drawn and quartered. Yes, I’m 47 now, and yes, I’ve (mostly) moved on, that is, until I’m reminded of it. Anyways, I understand sucky birthdays. Sorry yours was awful. I hope 31 is so magical it makes you forget all about 30!

  8. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I make my living as a Nanny and babysitter, so I have seen Angery Dragons of all ages and genders in many different situations. It makes me glad that I get to go home after a while and leave the dragon fighting to those that birthed said dragons. That being said, I would like an Angery Dragon shirt in every color please, because I choose my shirt colors according to mood, and I want to be able to sport the warning dragon at any given time.

  9. Oh yes, boys do have hormones and 9 years old – there right now!
    Yes, I want an Angery Dragon in red ‘cuz its awesome!

  10. Oh, man. This both soothes and terrifies me. Soothes because, like most of your posts, I can say, “Oh, praise Jesus. I’m not alone.” But, terrifies because my precious little Honey Badger is only 7. And he’s my second child. So, while I’m so close to being done with diapers I can feel it (couldn’t write “taste it” in the same sentence with “diapers”. Ew.), I am only on the brink of Honey Badger Days. Lord in Heaven, rescue me from this pit of despair.

    My boy got himself RPCd today. For the second time. The woman in the office put her hand on my arm and said, “Hey. It’s ok.” Because I clearly looked like I felt on the inside. *sigh*

    I want the black shirt (the color of the Pit of Despair), but I want my dragon to be neon orange, so as to draw attention to the Angery Dragon, because we all know that’s really the point of her, right?

  11. Oh dear, now I’m even more afraid of what will happen when 5.5yo, who is already prone to DRAMA and CRYING and SCREAMING, gets hormones. I’ll need that flag.

    1. Just so you know, when my 5.5yo who was prone to DRAMA and CRYING and SCREAMING turned 8, I picked her up from school one day and she was in tears – not little tears either. Big giant alligator tears. With sobbing. And gasping. The following short conversation ensued (for reference, Ms. Fox was her 3rd grade teacher and we are halfway through the school year)…

      Me (slightly concerned): What’s wrong?

      Megan: (sniffle) Ms. Fox. (gasp, snort) called me (sniffle) a (sniffle) uh (gasp) DRAMA QUEEN (wail)

      Me: Oh, Megan, I don’t know WHY she would call you that!!!

      LOL Megan grew up to take three years of drama camp in her middle school years and put on a very good show as the witch in Out Of The Woods Jr (you can see one of her solos here if you want: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBdRb5MVw5E). Sadly, her 9th grade drama teacher squashed her love of the theater. But I can tell you that the drama has seemed to die down some in real life too (she is almost 16 now), so there is hope!

  12. I feel as if you just peeked into my windows, saw what my life was like right now, and gave me a big, understanding hug! Our honey badger came out a year ago at the ripe old age of eight. Now aged nine, she sneaks around, tricking us with hugs and sweet smiles…then, BAM!!! Right between the eyes with a snarky remark and a slamming door! This angery dragon doesn’t want to be told what to do, especially by such old people who don’t know what it’s like to be nine. Yeah…

    I want my t-shirt in red; not because it symbolizes anything, but just because it’s my best color. I’m like that.

  13. I’m going to go off the Pill at the end of the summer, and I’ve been on it for 11 years. I’m kind of scared about the return of PMS, which is also going to come around the time we launch our company’s main project (which we’ve spent the last two years working on). I think mine had better be some sort of neon color, and I’ll probably need 5 of them – maybe assorted neon colors? Poor, poor co-workers!

  14. I would wear one of those shirts, totally. Also, do they come in toddler size, coz my toddler has lots of angery dragon in her?
    That’s actually a really good dragon. Way better than I could ever draw. Hurray for expressive art.

  15. Why 18 days/month?
    That drawing is amazing! To respect the original I’d wear the shirt in white with the drawing in black, during and after PMS 🙂

    1. Because there’s 3 teens and 1 of her. 18 sounds like the low side of the range to me. 😉

  16. Oh Beth, you made me laugh and cry at the same time, and it all made me look like an insane person to my 3 year old! It was the phrase about the “breathing in my direction”! We have had TWO “Honey Badgers” going ’round and ’round with that arguement for a couple of years now! You hit it. Square on the head. And we need 5 of those shirts, worn randomly when the laundry hasn’t been done and it’s on top of the piles in the bedrooms. Thanks for the uplift and understanding, and I think I’ll go and finish that laundry today. 🙂

  17. Oh! Totally not affiliated with that company in the link! Just think their idea is so awesome.

  18. Have you ever done this before… http://www.childsown.com/? Because Angery Dragon could be one super awesome gift for an angery child. 😉

  19. I want two shirts. And I want one that I can run in…you know, a fancy tech shirt. I would SO pay for those, as I am all angery dragon myself this week.

  20. Sorry for the RN up there. That should say Em

  21. A certain teenaged child I know collapsed in tears the other day when we refused to turn on the air conditioner, wailing “Why are you being so mean to me??” Angery dragons do not like being overheated.

  22. Fabulous idea! Angery dragon will be the mascot of raging, hormonal children and all the mothers trying to tune them out. I get most anxious about the boy hormones. When they are small and stomping their feet and yelling at you in their underpants, it is pretty adorable. But I imagine the same tantrum on a boy that outweighs me and is no longer afraid of my cross eyebrows and it terrifies me. Like, I’m pretty sure I’ll just cry. So this is the excuse I use to put on weight.

    1. I have a 15 yo male Angery Dragon that stands at least 6 inches taller than I and has concrete boats for hands and feet. I’m afraid we are becoming pros at patching walls and dodging snarky comments that come from outer space. It’s really difficult to discipline with love when all you want to do is release your own Angery Dragon. I guess that’s why it takes 2 to have children. The Lord knew we would need to tag-team with someone when they found that hormone stash.

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