What's the opposite of sensory overload? That's what's been going on here the last week or so.
Ryan has been a cranky little bastard, because (I think) he's seeking some sort of sensory input he needs but isn't getting. Maybe he needs to run around outside more, and the cold weather is taking its toll. I'm not sure what exactly he needs, but there are only so many hours each day my back can handle turning him upside down, spinning him, wrestling with him, mauling him.
So this afternoon I stuffed Ryan into his winter coat and chased him outside. He rode his tricycle! He ran and laughed and seemed really happy! He chased squirrels!
And then he chased a squirrel across the street.
I went freaking ballistic. I screamed; he ignored me. I grabbed his shoulders; he smiled. I yelled at him until it was clear he had gotten the message and he cried; it took quite a lot of yelling for that to happen. It was like he was enjoying the sensory input of my yelling at him so much that he didn't notice the anger behind it. And he was so excited about running that he didn't realize he was in the street.
At this point, my mother would point out that the root of the problem was the presence of a squirrel. I come from a long line of squirrel-haters. My grandmother used to catch squirrels in "humane traps" and then submerge the traps in a barrel of water and drown the trapped critters. My mother once asked my father to airbrush a few little silhouettes of squirrels on the fender of her car: one for each squirrel she had run over; strangely, my dad declined.
I do not blame the squirrel in this case - it showed no signs of wanting to be chased.
So I will keep wrestling with Ryan and encouraging him to do somersaults and headstands so perhaps he will get whatever input he's been seeking in a safe way - one that doesn't involve playing in traffic.