I walked out of Monkey’s appointment this morning so furious and frustrated that it took me the better part of the day to recover. I feel like I’m a fairly reasonable and educated person; I am used to being treated as such. Nothing gets my hackles up more than someone who I feel is doing my child a disservice… except, perhaps, a person who treat me like a hysterical mommy WHILE doing my child a disservice.
I am not a hysterical mommy. I am many things, and Lord knows I am too emotional about many of them. But I know my kids, and to tell me otherwise is to draw my immediate suspicion.
And here I’d thought it was going to be a good day, too, because we were finally going to get some help, maybe, and because my last post hadn’t even drawn that much assvice! But then we didn’t get much help and the comments I knew would come popped up and then I had to make a big pot of mashed potatoes and stick my face in it.
[I don't know why it was potatoes, today. Ice cream is usually my drug of choice. But today I roasted an entire head of garlic and then mashed it into some potatoes with about half a stick of butter and some half-n-half. What a stinky, delicious way to clog your arteries. The resultant carb stupor soothed my frustration for a little while.]
Anyway. Maybe I’ll tell you more about what happened, another time. I don’t have it in me to rehash it again right now. Suffice it to say that I felt—once again—as if I’d been cast into the role of Chicken Little. I am tired of trying to get everyone to believe the sky is falling or, in this case, that something is going on with my son that needs attention. I’ll keep at it, of course, as long as it takes. But I’m beginning to understand what Monkey feels like when he completely loses his shit.
During a soccer practice when the grass was slick, Monkey wiped out during a goal kick. He stood up, incensed, and levelled an accusatory finger at the goalie. “YOU MADE MY FEET WET!” he bellowed. The goalie was (understandably) confused. Attempts were made to explain to Monkey that wet grass, in fact, was responsible for his slippery shoes, but he would hear none of it. He was FURIOUS with the goalie, and insisted that he was the culprit. It made no sense. And yet it was the summation of all the disappointment he was feeling.
This is fast becoming my favorite battle cry of frustration. When relaying the tale of this morning to a sympathetic friend, I went round and round with the many ways in which it hadn’t gone right… and finally threw my hands in the air. “You made my feet wet,” I concluded. She knew exactly what I meant.
Part of what I hate the most about having kids with “issues” is that there is often the tacit assumption that anything wrong with them could be corrected with proper parenting. Even though I know this isn’t true, it’s a hard message to be pelted with at every turn. I think I do a pretty good job with these demanding little humans in my house, most of the time, but there is that insecure part of my brain that whispers that maybe if I hadn’t said this or done that, things would be different.
So tonight I want to do something completely out of character. I don’t want to sit here and fixate on all the ways in which I’m probably doing my children irrevocable damage with each stray word or glance. I want to celebrate the right choices. I want to take the credit for the good stuff rather than just prostrating myself at the altar of guilt over what I got wrong. Because I am SO QUICK to do the latter—especially when it comes to my kids—and so unlikely to indulge in the former.
This morning, Chickadee was still brushing her shower-damp hair when I called her down for breakfast. She grumped at me for interrupting her, and huffed her way to the table. I pointed out that if she ate quickly, she’d still have time to finish up. I finished packing lunches and headed upstairs for my shower.
When I got out, Chickadee was lounging around by my bathroom sink, her hair pulled back into a ponytail. “Did you do that yourself?” I asked, even as I knew that, DUH, if I didn’t do it, it must’ve been her. She nodded. Her hair is at that length where it requires some dexterity to get it all into a band, so usually she asks me to do her hair up. “Turn around so I can see,” I said. She twirled and I could plainly see that she had, indeed, captured all of her hair.
I could also see that there was a messy section she’d missed smoothing with her brush. It stuck up in jagged little loops amongst a sea of carefully flattened locks, right along the back where she couldn’t see and probably could barely reach. I opened my mouth to offer to fix it for her.
She turned back to face me, eyes searching for my assessment. I closed my mouth. I smiled at my daughter.
“Wow! You did a beautiful job, sweetie. Better than I could’ve done.” She ducked her head with pleasure, but not before I saw her face split with a huge grin. She skipped out of the bathroom and I finished getting ready.
The sky may be falling, but sometimes I figure out how to tack up little pieces of it.