The Great Zamboni Epiphany

I had this utterly cruel and heartbreaking epiphany about myself while riding home on the train this week. I had been doing my 365 experiment of journaling something every day and there it was in black and white. 

I think that there may some moments in life where I find myself not liking my son. My miracle son with fantastic dimples and lovely sleeping habits. My son that I dreamed about day in and day out over the course of quite possibly my whole life. My 2-year-old chunk of heaven on earth.

When I realized that might possibly be the case I of course immediately felt my breath being vaporized from my body and my eyes blowing out my ass. How much of a fuckface could I possibly be? But then calmer heads prevailed and I got to questioning myself before I went down the shame spiral.

I have documented our struggle with his speech delays. We have progressed a bit. He knows how to say all gone. Everything is all gone!! He tries to say baba, yuk, and what we think might be hello. But everything else is a long drawn out powerful whine. Or small grunts. I don’t understand anything that comes out of his mouth. I try to work on speech stuff with him at night and on weekends. But he doesn’t want to do homework on weekends.

We try to do social things with him and I have to be honest. He is kind of solitary and weird. We went to the baby pool nearby and all he did was stand in the corner playing with the snap buckles in his stroller. We take him to the park, and all he does is play with the snap buckles in his stroller. It’s profoundly discouraging because I take it so personally. He doesn’t want to play with me. I try to work double time on weekends with him. But he just wants to chill. He works hard all week.

I took him to his first story time, and all of the kids sat in their mom’s laps and enjoyed the show. Mine walked away from me and hung around the doorway. We had to sing the kid’s names as a welcoming activity and when it was our turn, the whole room had to look behind them to see him. And there he was, standing there alone. I just thought it would be a perfect time for him to start picking his nose.  

But the doorway thing is all the rage with him.  At his therapist’s advice, we took away his buckles and tried to keep him busy doing other things. He needs his senses to be very highly stimulated. In the absence of the buckles he turned towards…doorways. We go to a party and he finds the doorway and parks there all night. Opening and closing. Standing and staring. In and out. Reaching and pulling. Of course, the busier the doorway is, the more appealing it is.

This happened at a family party for the first time and has not been undone yet. It’s also the first time I became outwardly frustrated with him. In front of kin, no less. Mind you, they sent us as kids for packs of cigarettes from the corner store and let us jump around the station wagon all willy nilly like. Yet somehow every one of them found time in between America’s Funniest Home Videos and Facebooking all day to earn their degree in child development. Me becoming annoyed for my boy “just being him” was not looked upon in a supportive light. All I wanted for him was to enjoy the other children and get a lot of fresh air. Not stand in a doorway and have a meltdown when someone tried to move him. I just wanted him to have some “normal” fun.

Fast forward to a children’s Halloween party. It’s a kid’s party to beat all. Treats everywhere. A big jumpy castle. Crafts galore. I thought we made a breakthrough when he played in the jumpy with another girl his age.  But he inevitably ends up in the doorway. This time I try to stay as positive as possible and carry him to other fun places at the party. It takes about 10 tries, but it works. He ends up playing nicely with another little boy in the hostess’ daughters bright pink kitchen. Both boys were dressed as football players, and they were the only ones playing in the kitchen. The dad’s were mortified but we thought it was cute. He wasn’t in a doorway.

I was relieved.

He gets evaluated every 6 months and shows no signs of autism. He just has quirks. And just as quickly as my last epiphany came, so did another.  I am holding him to a higher standard because I miss him so god-damned much during the week that I expect him to be on when we are together. I am forgetting that he isn’t a pod. He is a person. He is his own little dude. He isn’t a TV sitcom baby, and shame on me for even thinking he would be. He loves story time at school. He loves speech exercises with his therapist. I have decided that he doesn’t expect his teacher or his therapist to be his mother any more than he expects me to be his teacher or speech therapist.

When he is sick, he wants me. When he is hungry, well, he will steal food from anyone. But he wants me. And besides, it’s incredibly naive and selfish to even think for one second that it’s your child’s job to make you happy. It isn’t. Parenting is a true kick in the balls to a bitch’s ego. So I could, should and will stop feeling sorry for myself and accept the fact that my kid is just being him. I mean, I will still parent him and try to figure him out.  I will get to know him and have faith that he won’t end up wearing a clown suit in a few years running down people in a Zamboni. 

I will also remember that I used to walk on the sides of my feet because I hated the feeling of grass, carpeting and cloth while I walked. I would run out of the bathroom faster than the toilet could flush because I thought that the gurgling noise it made would eat me. I also was convinced that Gene Simmons would be lowered with a rope from the KISS Copter and kidnap me while I pee’d. In all of my old home movies, everyone is running around having fun and I am standing silently along  just mouthing the word “hi” with a slight wave. Damn, I was a weirdo too.

My son very well might be absolutely brilliant. Or he might be a criminal. I just don’t know. But at the very least, he knows how to work a doorway and buckle a seat belt. And when one needs a clean getaway, these talents will come in handy.



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