Many years ago, before Tim and James, a co-worker told me that
getting through the morning routine was at times so frustrating that, though
she loved her son dearly, she was tempted to put him in the microwave along
with her morning coffee. I know she was joking, but secretly I was shocked. I righteously
vowed that that if I ever had children things would NEVER get so out of hand
that I would EVER contemplate doing something so horrible.
Getting everyone out the door every morning is my chore. I have to
get myself up, my reluctant son up, and even more reluctant husband up, get all
of us dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, glasses on faces, animals fed, cereal
in cups, vitamins swallowed, out the door into the car, kid dropped off, and to
work on time.
This process can be a goat rodeo. Yesterday was exceptionally goatish.
James has been pretty sick: pink-eye, fever of 104, cough, rivers
of snot. He was sufficiently recovered to return to school, but he’d had two
days at home, and like a tiny junkie, he was jonesing for more. His mood from
the moment he stumbled out of bed was foul.
He’d been dragging his feet and whining all morning. I’d tried
patience, reasoning, hugs, sage words of wisdom, gentle reprimands, but he was
having none of it. His desperation increased and by the time we’d arrived at
the putting on of the shoes, he was firing every excuse he could think of at me
He stood in the kitchen one shoe on, one shoe in hand, shoulders
hunched, face blotchy, eyes swollen, furious. He sobbed “everyone at
school bothers me, I can’t play with anyone because they all copy, I can’t
defend myself, kick…or…sob…punch…or…or…sniffle…use
Aikido because teacher Nancy said so…….breakfast doesn’t….sob….taste
good. I’ll have to take a nap Michael LOOKS
He ran out air, and as he paused to breathe I whipped out the old
standby, an imminent loss of privileges using the quiet, bone-chilling mom
voice of doom. He wiped his nose on his sleeve (nice where’d he learn that?)
calmly asked if losing privileges included TV and games or just TV, then turned
the waterworks back on and started in with the rapid-fire list of issues.
I lost my ever lovin’ mind. Without the customary three count, TV
and games for the evening were gone, and if he DIDN’T SHAPE UP THIS INSTANT he
could kiss tomorrow’s privileges goodbye, and the day after that too. His
beloved privileges were gone until next week for all I cared.
He crossed his arms and glared at me. We warily eyed each other,
calculating our next moves in stony silence. He had no idea how badly I wanted
to snatch is little butt up and give him the spanking of a lifetime, or maybe a
slap, or whatever, anything to get him to wipe that look off his face and
He was standing right in front of the microwave.
The contest of wills ended then and there. My next move, and this is so smooth I can scarcely
believe it (hangs head in shame), was to gather my last shreds of
composure, walk to the bathroom and close the door. Yup, I hid. How is that for
demonstrating parenting mastery? It is better than getting physical, but it
still feels like a big fail.
What is it going to be like when James is a teen, taller than me,
and royally pissed because he wants the keys to the car? Thank gawd his father
is tall…and strong.
Hear that son? He can take you. Put that in your pipe and smoke
it! No! stop! On second thought don’t do
that! I’ll just be here in the bathroom until the dust settles. Knock when it
is over m’kay?