Sunday, April 10, 2011

Growing as they Grow...

It's been a long day. Not a rough day, but a long day.

P is acting up. He's been a bit more impulsive lately, and while it's understandable it's still frustrating. Out of nowhere, he pulls on one of the cabinet faces under the sink, the fake drawer that he's knows is fake. He's never shown interest before, but on his impulsive days anything can happen.

We have a relatively normal dinner and afterwards we have some extra time. They took a late nap and shouldn't be going to bed for about another hour. I need to run to the home improvement store down the road so I take P with me, along with the broken cabinet face.

In the store I have him find the right section and go over to a person in a red vest, showing them the broken item and explaining that he broke it and needs the materials to fix it.

They can't help him. Don't have the part. Pretty much just sit and stare at us.

Frustrating.

I ask where the tape and glue is, changing gears. If they don't have the broken latch, then we'll just try gluing it on.

P helps find aisle 4 and carries the glue and tape out. We go to one line to pay, in the garden section as I need compost, but the line is way too long and instead we go to an open register indoors.

The cashier is clueless. And not too polite. I spend 10 minutes waiting for him to figure out how to ring up the compost. Over and over again I tell him that it's the "organic compost you have outside, that's $1.58."

I've bought it here several times and that's all I've ever needed to say.

I don't need an explanation of how they don't have "compost" in their system. I don't need for him to explain to me how his search function works. I just need him to ring me up for my damn dirt.

It also wouldn't hurt if he stopped giving me funny looks, talking to me like I'm a child, and telling everyone who lines up behind me that I'm going to take awhile to deal with.

During all this P is getting more and more bouncy. It's an impulsive day, as I've said, and he's grabbing things, jumping, singing, pushing buttons, running around and making loud noises out of nowhere. I eventually tell him to put his hands in his pockets and leave them there until we get to the car. I have to remind him several times.

Finally a manager comes over, with a similar attitude to the cashier's. She rings me up and they explain that the dirt in question is in their system as "cow manure". Again, silly looks, talking to me like I'm an idiot. For wanting to buy a product they sell. Urg.

I pay and turn to grab P, quickly realizing that he's not beside me anymore. I find him only a few feet away playing a video game with another child. Frustrated and ready to get home already, I grab him and say "you were supposed to stay beside me with your hands in your pockets! Come on, it's time to go home."

The other child's mother glares at me.

"He's just playing a game, it's okay," she mutters authoritatively.

Thanks, lady. Exactly what I needed right now. Glad you know the whole situation and can fix it with an offhanded comment.

I walk with P to the car, trying to keep myself calm but feeling like crap. I don't normally let people's words or looks get to me, but tonight just stung. I carry my receipt out to get the dirt. There were 3 people working the lot when I arrived half an hour earlier, but they aren't there now. I have to load 320 lbs of bagged compost into the car myself while trying to explain to P that, yeah, we'd be home soon and, no, we aren't going back in so he can play with the other boy's video game again.

I try to be calm on the drive home. P is antsy and upset himself. He slams on the window, something he's never done before. I ask him to stop and am rewarded with, "No, I will not stop. I will not listen to you." This is how he normally acts when someone usurps my role as parent around him. He's very sensitive to parental roles and power. Again, thanks lady.

I try to reason with him, to get him in line, and all I hear is "no" and "I don't like you anymore." All in his calm, in charge voice. It's frustrating. And irritating. And angering.

I clench my fist and push it as hard as I can into the door of the car, something that helps calm me. I breath in and out. I just want this night to be over.

Finally, I come to a conclusion. And I tell him my conclusion.

"When we get home, I'm going to go inside. I'm going to put the baby to bed. Daddy will put you to bed. I will see you in the morning."

"No good night kiss?"

Breath in, breath out.

"No... I am angry right now, and I'm afraid I will act angry around you. I don't want to do that, so I'm going to let daddy take you when we get home. I will see you in the morning."

"But that's mean!"

Breath in, breath out.

"I'm sorry. I love you, and I'm sorry. I'm just afraid I'll say something mean because I'm not happy with your behavior right now."

We get home. I leave the car. I leave HIM in the car. I walk inside and put down my bag and the materials to fix the broken cabinet face.

I can hear Nik and Ambrose in the bathroom, the baby splashing in the tub and laughing. Nik is laughing with him.

I'm about to go in, about to take over and give P over to Nik for the rest of the night.

I'm about to... but I don't.

I can't.

I walk to the open window and look outside, at the wind blowing through the tree. I breath in. I breath out. I breath in. I breath out.

I hear P's door open and shut. I take a final large breath. I go back outside.

He hides behind the car when he sees me, knowing very well that I'm not pleased with him right now. I just open my door and pop the trunk, then lock the inside of the car. I go to the back and open the trunk up wide.

"Come here," I say, not looking at him.

He walks over, wary, slowly.

"Stand here," I command, and point to a spot right behind the car.

He stands there, in wonderment. What could I be planning? Why am I still talking to him? Didn't I walk away and leave him alone? Wasn't he a bad kid? So bad I didn't want to be around him? What could be going on?

I pull out a bag of compost, about 40 lbs. I put it down in front of him.

"This is your bag. I need you to carry it to the garden. I'll get the rest."

I don't wait for arguments or complaints, I just reach in and grab a bag.

He does complain. He does argue. But he also tries.

He tries different angles and pulls differently and finally, slowly, he gets it to the garden about 40-50 feet away. I'm surprised it doesn't tear as he pulls it over the ground. I think he is too.

When he's done, I'm there waiting for him, sitting on the side of the deck. I beckon him over.

He's calmer now. Subdued.

Heavy work. It's what his OT prescribed for his SPD. Give him something heavy to life and it will calm his nerves, and he'll be able to better control himself and his behavior.

I had forgotten that. It had just suddenly struck me while I was inside, my myself, calming down. He needed heavy work to calm his jittery, flippy nerves.

We sit on the deck for awhile. We talk. We hug. I tell him a story from my childhood, half to let him off the hook, and half to remind me of how emotional children can be. I apologize, as does he. Then we go inside and I put the baby to sleep, a little late. I go and give P a kiss afterwards, and remind him that I love him. That I'll always love him, even when I'm frustrated. And that I'll always be his mommy.

He hasn't exactly been an angel since then, but he doesn't have to be. He's a child. And I'm an adult. And that's how we have to approach our relationship.

*****

Except on rainy days. Then we all (all 4 of us) squish into his outdoor playhouse and draw on the inside with chalk. We can be kids sometimes too :)

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