Bamm-Bamm lives…

I realize that admitting I was a big fan of the Flintstones growing up, probably dates me a bit. I can deal with that. But, can we at least say that I was very very young when I watched. No, really, I was. For those of you deprived of this fantastic show, here is a brief overview:

 The Flintstones is set in the town of Bedrock in the Stone Age era. The show is an allegory to American society of the mid-20th century; in the Flintstones’ fantasy version of the past, dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths,  and other long extinct animals co-exist with barefoot cavemen, who use technology very similar to that of the mid-20th century, although made entirely from pre-industrial materials and largely powered through the use of various animals. The characters drive cars made out of stone or wood and animal skins and powered by foot.

 Admit it, you’re DIEING to rush out and get the DVDs.

Anyhow, I’m assuming that most of you are familiar with the Flintstones, so I won’t go through the painstaking process of explaining to you who Bamm-Bamm Rubble was. Let’s just briefly say that he was the abnormally strong adopted son of Betty and Barney Rubble and would frequently be seen screaming “Bamm-Bamm” “Bamm-Bamm” while simultaneously swinging his toddler-sized club. Oh, yes, he was a charmer. I’m honestly not sure what Pebbles saw in him.

In any case, I always thought that Bamm-Bamm was a made-up character based on some clever animator’s idea. But, guess what, he lives! I know because I saw him first hand.

During our recent whirlwind tour of the East Coast, we decided to lay our weary heads (and suitcases) at a friend of my husband’s for a night. From here forward we’ll refer to them as D and M (for Daddy and Mommy). Although I wasn’t thrilled about making yet another stop for just one night, given that D is such an old friend of my husband’s I acquiesced. It also seemed to be a potentially good idea as they have two kids ages 5 and 2 and I thought that I should, at the very least, think about my daughter. How fun for her to have even MORE kids to play with? She’d already had so much fun with her cousins.

D&M live in New York State in a picturesque town. The kind you want to paint but don’t get good cell phone reception in. Upon arriving at their abode, we pulled up their long driveway, and I see a cute curly-headed toddler standing inside the door with a huge smile on his face. It was endearing, really. We soon made our way inside where we also met the five-year-old (I say “met” as we haven’t seen him in years) and waited for D (who works in Manhattan) to return from work. Shortly after making ourselves comfortable, the dynamic duo sprung into action– leaping from tall heights and moving objects. My first thought was “Boys will be boys.” But, shortly into the visit, I realized that something was up. The two-year-old seemed a bit aggressive. He was terrible with sharing and grabbed every toy that Ellie wanted to play with out of her hands. And, he was strong. Like, not normally strong.

Ellie soon thereafter discovered one of those cute “ride-on” cars in their living room. Not UNLIKE a Flintstone mobile. You climb in, manually close the door, and then move the car with your feet. A toddler’s dream, really. She was thoroughly enjoying herself, minding her own business, and looking very cute with her polo dress and pigtails and wide smile as she “rode” around the room. And, that’s when HE made his appearance.

The two-year old, who I’ll fondly refer to as Bamm-Bamm from here on out went full steam ahead toward Ellie, swung OPEN the door of the Flintstone mobile, grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, pulled her OUT of the car, and then threw her onto her back and head on the hardwood floor. It was like something out of the Sopranos. “Bamm-Bamm!” “Bamm-Bamm!”

To be fair to his mother, she did immediately go over to him and tell him that that wasn’t right and put him in a time-out on the couch. Now, I’m not one to judge other people’s parenting styles. I mean, it’s  not like I know what the hell I’m doing half the time. But, my kid does that and they’re getting a FIRM reprimand and time out in ANOTHER room away from everyone. And, the voice is being RAISED. They’re not getting a “suggested” time out that involves me coddling them on the couch under a blanket. I swear I even think she slipped him a boob.

Once we all recovered from the incident – Ellie had stopped crying, Bamm-Bamm was out of his time out– the kids started playing again. Ellie once again was playing by herself, this time on the couch with a doll. I was pleased to see how quickly she recovered. And, then, not actually believing what I was seeing, Bamm-Bamm heads straight for her with epic speed and with all his might grabs the front cradle of her hair and pulls as hard as he can. “Bamm-Bamm!” “Bamm-Bamm!”

Now I’m freakin’ pissed. To say the least.  Once again, Bamm-Bamm gets a reprimand. Once again, in a soft quiet “you really shouldn’t do that honey” kind of a way. Then Bamm-Bamm’s Mommy turns to Ellie and says, “Ellie, if Bamm-Bamm pulls your hair again, you just say, Bamm-Bamm, I don’t like that. Please don’t do that.”

Ok,  now while I appreciate where she’s going with this, these kids are TWO!  Ellie can’t handle a brute like this. Nor should she have to.

At this point I knew this whole visit was a bad idea but also knew I had to  accept that we couldn’t leave and would just have to make it through the night and then bolt early in the morning.

Fortunately, Bamm-Bamm’s Daddy, or D, came home soon thereafter and things calmed down a bit. That is, if you consider a two-year old scaling built-in cabinets trying to retrieve a hard-to-reach boxed milk and then falling on his bum while his Mom laughs calming down. I more mean that at least Bamm-Bamm left Ellie alone for a bit.

It became pretty clear to us over the course of the night, that D&M were just beaten down. The kids don’t really go to sleep well, they don’t stay asleep well, and they get up early. They don’t really have any boundaries, and were clearly running the household.

 The next morning (and suffice it to say, it was a loooong night with not much sleep) we got up and went in to give the kids breakfast. Soon after they were fed, the games were to begin again. Ellie would start screaming from another room and I would rush in and say “What’s wrong? What happened?” And, she’d look at me through tears and say “Bamm-Bamm!” “Bamm-Bamm!”. I didn’t really know what he was doing and fortunately didn’t see any blood so figured there wasn’t any long-lasting damage, but, then immediately thereafter, right in front of me, I’d see him go right up to her and push her HARD in the chest. At this point, I had to start stepping in. And, so, did PB (As a refresher, PB is my husband). Someone had to. Bamm-Bamm looked at us kind of surprised, amused, not sure. He didn’t seem to process what we were saying. Firm discipline? Huh?

About then, I started hearing that scary voice from that old Poltergeist movie – GET OUT. I immediately started to pack up while PB took a shower. The kids were continuing to “play” in the family room and then once again, screaming and crying coming from Ellie. I rush downstairs and what do I find?  Bamm-Bamm had gotten into PB’s duffel bag, taken out his tennis racket, UNZIPPED the case, took the racket out and was hitting Ellie with it. (He’s probably thinking – finally, a REAL club. After all, cave boys need clubs.)

It is about this time that my head nearly pops off and I begin to think about long term damage – about all the money I am going to need to fund my two-year-old’s therapy to recover from post-traumatic stress syndrome. I’m also thinking, what kind of mother am I to subject my child to such abuse! My heart is pounding and I’m fully engaged in the fight or flight mode as I furiously tell PB that we need to get out of there.

You’re probably thinking that this is the last of it, right? It must be. Well, sort of. There was one final incident of Ellie falling down the stairs that oh, I don’t know, probably took about 10 years off of my life and added about 15 more gray hairs. And, although, Bamm-Bamm wasn’t directly indicated in the fall, you can be SURE that he was right there on the stairs with her, nearby, taunting, as only Bamm-Bamm can.  His Mommy seemed concerned about Ellie falling, of course, and responded with “Did he push her?” It was a fair question and an easy assumption. Once we assured her that he didn’t, she said “Oh, do you not have stairs in your house?” Well, um, no maam we don’t, but, Ellie has been going up and downstairs on her own for a long time just fine. She’s just not used to a little cave boy breathing down her neck, screaming Bamm-Bamm and swinging a club at her. Forgive me if she’s feeling a little uncoordinated this morning. (Excuse me for sounding so snarky but you know how protective a lioness can get over her young.)

We finally made it out of there, wheels screeching down the road swearing never to return.

Truthfully, we feel for Bamm-Bamm. After all, he’s only two. He needs to be shown the ropes. He needs to learn boundaries. He needs to learn how to navigate social situations with his peers. And, on some level, I even feel for his parents. Parenting is a hard gig. Harder than I ever imagined. I wish them the best because they’ve got quite a road ahead of them.

For me, I think I’ll  just stick to television Bamm-Bamm. He seems to be a lot safer.

He looks so innocent here too, doesn't he?

He looks so innocent here too, doesn't he?

 

*Photo is courtesy of  i-love-cartoons.com.

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One Response to “Bamm-Bamm lives…”

  1. Oh. My. GOD. I mean, HOLY SHIT. That is some seriously disturbing behavior – on the part of the child AND the parent! I mean, i typically don’t judge other parents. We all have our stuff. But violence cannot be tolerated EVER! I was cracking up though at your relaying of the “time out”. Likely slipping the boob… LOL!
    Poor Miss Ellie. I hope she isn’t too traumatized to hang out with the Boy Cousins. I swear that I would never slip a boob or speak in that San Francisco I’m Reasoning With My Child voice if that were to ever happen- which it WILL NOT!
    As an aside – another very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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