21 February 2011

The Bitter and the Sweet

I am drinking the last cup of coffee from the pot. It's been on the burner a little too long, so it has that slightly burnt taste that indicates I should just throw it away. Instead, I'm going to add another Equal, and force it down. That pretty much sums up the day.

Four woke up early and climbed in bed with us. He snuggled for awhile, then went off to the couch for some morning television. I lingered, but he and I had a date with the religious education director at our church. She is a lovely woman, very spiritual, who has made the special-needs children her focus. She is retiring at the end of this year, and she's made it her mission to ensure Four is up to date with his sacraments before she leaves.

Today, Four was not willing to be educated. He was rude, complained about how boring it was, and pretended to be asleep. I was not happy. He was much better at the end of the lesson, and I made sure to let him know I appreciated his effort. I dropped him off at home, and went to Costco to buy the usual: seven gallons of milk, laundry detergent, veggie straws, giant chocolate chip cookies, waffles, green apples, grapes, a couple of chickens, and at least one thing from the clothing section. This week it was socks for Two and Three, to replace the hole-y heeled ones.

When I got back from Costco (I'll wax another time on the rapture of one-stop shopping), Four was in the process of annoying Five. Again. This behavior continued throughout the day, and finally resulted in a complete melt-down at the end of the night, when I forbade him from wrestling with his cousin. The cousin is five, and weighs thirty-five pounds soaking wet. It was a potentially life-threatening situation.

By melt-down, I mean full-on screaming, throwing pillows, "you can't keep me in this room, Missy!", tantrum. He followed me out of his room, down to my bedroom, where he yelled some more about how horrible his life is, and then collapsed in tears.

"I just can't help it," he sobbed.
"I know, sweetie," I said, drying his tears.
I talked about how the anger is his enemy, trying to make his life miserable. I explained how he could defeat it, using calming jitsu-his own invention.
"But it's hard, especially at school, when people say mean things."
"Yes, but you'll win if you don't get upset."
"I'll try," he said, his lids growing heavy.
I kissed him and stroked his hair, and he fell asleep. Anger is exhausting.

I hoped he would stay asleep, but he stumbled out to the kitchen about two hours later and asked for some pizza. He ate, and after dessert, he said, "Thanks for helping me with my anger, Mom."
"You're welcome," I said. "I love you always, no matter what."
The cousins were getting ready to leave, and he went and  gave them all a hug good-bye. Unprompted, he apologized to the little guy, for getting angry at him. Then he curled up on the couch, and asked to watch a movie.  I started it, and he called for me to come closer to him.

"What do you need, honey?"
"Just a hug and a kiss."
We hugged for a long time.
"My eyes are sore."
"I think you're still  a little tired," I told him, praying he would fall asleep again.
"You're probably right."
Later, I got him in his own bed, and we snuggled. Even though he said he wasn't tired, he fell back to sleep.

I am drinking the cup of slightly bitter coffee. It isn't delicious, but it's warm, and sweet. Sometimes, that's all we get. And it's enough to make it through to the next day.


  1. Anonymous21.2.11

    Briefly... being a mom is the hardest job. Ever. You are beautiful, and so are those boys.

  2. Great post, except my eyes seem to be leaking moisture. I have absolutely no idea what that is about! It is very moving to remember how hard Four works sometimes to manage his temper, attention and behavior. And what a tall order it is for you and the Captain to help him with that task. As ever, I am overwhelmed simply reading about it.

    I hope that today will be easier for both of you. The metaphorical equivalant of Zabar's Blend - fresh, rich, smooth, flavorful, and - by all means- sweet!

  3. You, my dear, are an awesome mom. I wish I had half your patience.

  4. You kick ass. Seriously.

    It is so hard watching a difficulty like anger or severe insecurity use one of my students as a punching bag. I cannot imagine how hard it is to see your child suffer that way, or how wonderful to watch him conquer it a bit at a time.

    PS If I were a FairyGodBetty I'd send you to the spa for a massage today.

  5. I've said it before, I'll say it again, you are an inspiration to me and I think you are an awesome mother. Hugs my darling daughter. Huge hugs.

  6. Why do boys like to wrestle? It's one of those gender things that I just don't understand. but it seems to be one of the primary uses

    Anger feels awful. Sadness, if it is moderate, can have it's own cathartic relief. But anger is draining, particularly when you know you have behaved badly. I hope Four has a better day today.

  7. Miss Megan,
    You made me cry today, but only in that good "my heart aches because yours in so big" kind of cry.
    It's usually my sister's blog that does that. Thank you for being willing to share all of this.

  8. Anonymous21.2.11

    What everyone else said...you are incredible! You have such a great way of looking at things and dealing with them, I really admire the way you can do that.
    PS- love Miranda Lambert

  9. Megan, I assume you ran into my dad at Costco? Otherwise, I wouldn't believe you were really there.

    @June: Wanna wrestle?

  10. It's so beautiful how he comes around and owns his behavior-- and so very big for a little person. I wish I were big more often. Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Thank you, all, for listening! Today was yet another snow day and/or holiday from school at our house, so I didn't get to check in.

    Four had a snow day from school, which was probably a blessing, because he was still a little drained from all that emotion. He told me I'm a great mom, and asked for lots of kisses, and I was happy to oblige.

    The little boys requested a family movie night, so those of us that had not yet seen "Despicable Me" gathered on the sectional, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I got a little misty, but that's the kind of mood I was in today.

    Maccabee: I did not see your father at Costco. But it was neither a work day, nor lunch time, which are his usual parameters.


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.