In a Jewish parenting book, Blessings of a Skinned Knee, I learned about a secular parenting book I skimmed at Borders tonight: Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy. The same author also has books for ages 1-14 years old.
Reading in it what is "normal" for an almost 3.5 year old boy was a breath of fresh air for me. Ahhh. It's hard to describe how much better I feel, equipped with this knowledge. When my mom was here last week, she said, "I think he's ADHD."
Because John and I were at Borders under the time constraints of a babysitter, I scribbled down a few notes, so that I could contemplate more fully later. The author categorized the three-year-old personality in the following ways. (It seems that Destructo is really at the extreme range of the spectrum, in most of the categories. I've bolded descriptive words for my son.)
1. high drive high energy or low drive low energy
2. Focal or peripheral (distracted easily)
3. perseverative or tires very quickly (with tasks)
4. organizes from within or chiefly influenced by the environment
5. influenced or controlled by intellect or emotions (he constantly asks why?! and isn't manipulated/pursuaded based on anything emotional)
6. adapts easily to environment or environment must adapt to child (not sure here)
*interesting of note here - the author said, "There is not a very scientific dichotomy but one that almost any mother of several children will say that some children are 'not a bit of trouble for anyone' (can handle self, care, precise in nature) or children are 'so demanding that literally mother can get nothing done'" (he breaks things, is accident prone). The latter definitely sounds like Destructo.
7. spotless child or always dirty
8. timing: does things rapidly or slowly (this describes tempo and pattern over a period of time)
9. What time of day do they function best? How do they get out of bed? (Lil Man bounds out of bed and doesn't stop moving until we make him go to bed and lay still.)
10. Forward or backward looker? He's always asking about "what's next?" rather than talking about something already occurred.
11. Perfectionist or adventurous (I think the word could be daredevil)
To this list, I would add something about being energized (or not) by people. Our Lil Man is definitely jazzed by being with people. It is almost torture for him to be alone.
One last sentence that I copied because I wanted to discuss with John, who was chatting with a friend:
"First born boys are especially hard to raise. They like to have friends whom they can dominate."
Hubby is also a first born son.