Journal entry: August 7, 1971 (age 2) – Toddler on a Sweetener Bender
I am two. I like sugar.
These complementary facts have earned me a certain degree of behavioral latitude in the Mollen household. Whenever I throw a sputtering, wrinkly, red-faced fit for no reason, my parents and five brothers shrug and say, “He’s two.” Whenever I hyperactively run in a tight circle, waving my arms and singing “Rubber Ducky,” they shake their heads and say, “He’s had too much sugar.”
I am slowly becoming aware that there are other people in the world, and that it’s fun to annoy them. Today, I decided to test the boundaries of my actions. First, I needed to create a diversion. Poking my 3-year-old brother, Dan, in the eye provided just the distraction (and catharsis) I was looking for. As mom attended to Dan, I made my way to the kitchen to fuel up. I reached for the sugar bowl on the dinner table. It already had a spoon in it. “How thoughtful?,” I thought to myself. But there wasn’t much time – prying maternal eyes would be back on the scene within seconds.
I shoveled a heaping spoon into my mouth. “Oh yeah,” I mumbled, “that’s the stuff.” The granules were still dissolving in my mouth when I crammed in another spoonful. The blast of sweet, sweet sugar threw the crystalline solid disaccharide monkey off my back with a delicious fury. With the sound of Mom’s returning footsteps, I managed to force a third heap past my lips. I returned the cover to the sugar bowl, gave the bowl a shove towards the middle of the table, and sat down in a chair. When Mom’s eyes met mine, I blinked, smiled, held out my arms, and drooled a little (just to sell it).
Once she picked me up, I started clapping and saying “ceweal!” Mom sat me back down, and dutifully poured a bowl of Special K and milk. (She won’t buy the new Count Chocula, or any of the other good stuff I’ve seen on TV during Captain Kangaroo.) I asked for sugar, and Mom said, “Okay, Timmy, but just a little.” I gave her another angelic smile, and proceeded to hoover up the meal in two minutes flat.
The next several hours were kind of a blur. I think I may have pulled all the tape out of Dad’s favorite Erroll Garner 8-track, let our parakeet, Percy, out of his cage, poked Dan in the other eye, and peed into the dishwasher. I finally ran out of gas after my 12-year-old brother, John, held me down for several minutes of “tickle torture.” By the time we all sat down to dinner, I was completely strung out. As I dozed off in my high-chair, I could hear the family reviewing my rampage.
“I don’t know what got into him today!” said my mother. “He’s two,” said my father. “Maybe he had too much sugar,” offered John. Then my brother, Jim, already the family brainiac at the age of 14, spoke up. “Last night there was a full lunar eclipse. Maybe he’s some kind of were-baby.”