Friday, June 22, 2007

hi, have you met my son, Dr. Jekyll? I mean Mr. Hyde?

This morning I was downstairs watching Lilah feed herself cereal, flake by flake, watching milk splash onto her brand new dress, and trying unsuccessfully to resist the urge to step in and take over. ("MYYY!" she said.) Stupid Daddy was still out cold, as was Levi, face mashed into the bed, looking like he was sleeping off a hangover.

I heard some pitter-patting upstairs and, assuming it was Ezra, ran up with a Synthroid and a glass of water. The thing about the pill is, you have to wait at least a half hour after taking it to eat, so I try to give it to him pretty much just as his eyes are opening to prevent any hunger-induced psychosis.

I found him in the bathroom, wearing a clean t-shirt and underwear and piling his pj's up in front of the washing machine. This was totally adorable: he has not once chosen clothing for himself and never put dirty clothing where it's supposed to go without a reminder.

But when he saw me, he became much less adorable. He began screaming at me--like, serious, bloodcurdling screams. I suspected this had something to do with wanting to surprise me, so I gave him his pill while looking in the other direction, and over his shrieks kept saying, "I'm not looking! I don't see you! I have no idea what you're doing!" like some kind of maniac.

But he wasn't buying it. He continued screaming for twenty minutes, after I left the room, after Stupid Daddy stumbled into the room and then left, until finally, it was quiet.

I knocked on the door and then opened it cautiously--like maybe some hard object was going to get flung at me, which is pretty much how I feel all the time, metaphorically speaking, when I'm around him. But that didn't happen. Instead, cheerily, Ezra announced, "I'm all done," and then proceeded to be an absolute delight for the hour we all spent waiting for Levi to wake up so I could take them to school.

While Ezra was eating breakfast, I asked him if, now that he had calmed down, he could explain why he had just spent all this time trying to bust our eardrums. Without missing a beat, he said, "Because I wanted to put away my pajamas and get dressed and you saw me before I got my shorts on." I watched as the theory about kids having tantrums because they can't express what's upsetting them flew quickly out the kitchen window.

I suggested that maybe next time, if he's angry--not that there's anything wrong with that!--he could talk about it instead of hollering all morning long. "Yeah," he said softly, matter-of-factly, like I had just asked him if he wanted ketchup with his hot dog, no big deal at all, and then, happy boy, shoved another giant scoop of cereal into his mouth.

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