I realize I am not supposed to say this, but man I am sick of my kid tonight. Right. All mothers are supposed to be gentle and endless, which is such everlasting bullshit!! Stomach flu last week and neon green bugger cold this weekend. Up most of last night, today touch and go and epic meltdown tonight.
Man it is hard to know when to be strong and when to be nurturing. With myself, which I can be blind to, and with my kid, who requires actual conscious decision-making. Fuck me. Epic Lego catastrophe this weekend. The set was missing a piece!!! High drama that we couldn’t return it RIGHT NOW, as my babysitter was sitting at the ferry and I turned the key in the ignition and hear clickclickclick on the outside and FUUUUUCK MEEEEEE!!! on the inside and Forest screaming bloody fucking murder about the goddamn lego set and me trying to text Liesl and shut Forest up so I can get cables from the neighbor and GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!
And now I feel that I need to note that I:
1. Love my son so much. One time when he was a toddler I made the mistake of telling my dad I felt like I was a butler to a chimpanzee with a personality disorder and after a long confused silence he said, “but you love him so much…don’t you?”
2. Threw an equinox party which he begged for and it was awesome!
3. Held the second set of legos still while he bashed them tonight just before dinner.
His counselor says that he feels that he can’t trust the system because of my divorce, so that makes me feel sane and balanced, and then he gets the shaft with a set he saved for for four weeks, and I won’t go back to Target RIGHT NOW because the babysitter is here and I WANT TO GO TO THE SPA, and then this a.m. he got a set which he assembled at home and then decided he hated and so wanted to smash it and screamscreamscream.
This is tedious just thinking about. Jeez. But as it’s happening, it doesn’t feel tedious, it feels like being the sole pilon under a failing rollercoaster.
Some people would say to shut that shit down. That’s what Edith says.
But we just went to see a movie this afternoon that was all about how toxic it is to suppress feelings. Song of the Sea. A Scottish folk tale-ish animated feature (tons of awards and one of the most beautiful 90-minute things I’ve looked at in my life. Really, so gorgeous.) The bad guy is an owl-witch (a witch as a bad guy! Rrrg) who thinks that the way to deal with bad feelings is to magically put them in a jar and not feel them. But her jar collection includes both lightning storms and rainbows.
She has obviously been watching Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. You can’t numb selectively. You can’t just not feel the lightning. It’s all or nothing.
So I did not try to talk him out of it, or tell him that this was asinine behavior that would certainly lead to fewer girlfriends (or boy or other-points-on-the-gender-spectrum-friends) in the future. I did what I saw Ralph do in the sessions and what the highly recommended “How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk” book says to do: just reflect the feelings back to them:
“I hate this Lego set SOOOO much! I will never buy a Star Wars Lego set again!!”
“It’s SO disappointing.”
“This was the worst year of my life!!”
Uncertainty. Then, “Well, the worst weekend! Two bad lego sets and Peter left breakfast early!!”
“That’s three bad things! It’s so disappointing!” What about the equinox party and the movie and the homemade soup and the 150 chocolates in 75 plastic eggs, you ungrateful little beast???
“I’m going to smash these Legos!!!” Fist on top of General Greavis’ Wheel, which he just painstakingly constructed.
“Let me hold that for you.”
And he was so shocked that I didn’t shut that shit down. I stayed so calm while he felt the whole storm, though I did put the brakes on, say, throwing a toy in his double shot of Emergen-C’s.
Then he turned it around! Hairpin fucking turn. Just like the book promised! And became so annoyingly happy and obnoxious that my utterly drained self sent him to bed without a story for making farting noises while I read “The Green Machine.”
After he went to bed, I texted Jamie: “Why hasn’t anyone invented a business model for dropping off your kid until they stop being an asshole?” and then I realized they have. It’s called Reform School, which is on my mind because yesterday when my neighbor’s kid jumped my dead battery, he told me that the one he just got home from was closed down for child abuse.
So then I defied Brené. I brought out the numbing triple play: I drank red wine, ate crackers with hummus, cheese and seaweed and pretended the world was a sane and improving place by watching an early episode of The West Wing.
I love motherhood. Did you see the picture? Really. I do.