Thursday, June 21, 2007

unloading a little bit here; bear with me

I've alluded to problems I'm having with Ezra here but not really described them outright--in part because I'm ashamed, in part because I always feel like they're so hard to explain when I do try.

Apparently, I've been unsuccessful conveying these difficulties to my husband as well. For the last four or five months I've been complaining and suggesting that Ezra needs help, that we need help helping him. And for as long, Stupid Daddy has been saying he's fine, he's normal, these are the ups-and-downs any intense and sensitive and intelligent five-year-old kid experiences.

Stupid Daddy spends enough time with our kids for me to have given some weight to his assessment. He wasn't going on my emotional, hyperbolic description alone; he was also going on his own day-to-day interactions with Ezra.

Something clicked in him today, though; something shifted. After spending part of the afternoon with Ezra, he sort of went, Holy shit. In the span of a few hours, he went from saying the kid is normal, leave him be, to saying the kid has Aspberger's, let's call in the professionals.

I think the truth is somewhere in between. So while I still disagree with Stupid Daddy, I finally feel that he actually gets what it is like to care for Ezra--how taxing, exhausting, nervewracking, and maddening.

This afternoon, Ezra had a full-blown tantrum that started with nothing and wouldn't extinguish itself for half an hour. Usually, though, the behavior is more subtle--hostile, bossy, demanding, and labile--so that he can be laughing with me one minute and be screaming at me the next minute because I said the "wrong" thing. (For example, if he shows me a picture, I am supposed to say it's cool looking sometimes, but at other times--I think this depends on a combination of the Dow Jones performance, the lunar calendar, and the color of Jessica Simpson's hair--saying it's cool looking is absolutely, offendingly wrong.)

I have tried to set clear limits and at the first sign of these behaviors tell him calmly, without any kind of emotional investment, that HE NEEDS TO FUCKING STOP IT.

No. I tell him that's not an okay way to speak or act, and if he doesn't stop, he's going to have to be by himself for a while. Sometimes he stops, but in every instance, he knows precisely how much he can get away with before he crosses the line; and he hovers there. He can call his brother and idiot and make the word just barely audible, then quickly apologize just as I'm opening my mouth to chastise him. He can spill a bowl of Pirate's Booty (which, gross!, I don't blame him) but make it look just enough like an accident that I'm honestly not sure if he meant to do it.

Other times, he simply crosses the line. And I tell him, yes, indeed, he needs to be by himself. Then whatever it is he was doing, he does louder, with greater force. And he won't budge.

So I have to forcibly move him into a different room myself and shut the door. At which point he starts getting mildly destructive--crumpling papers, or unrolling toilet paper, stuff like that.

Eventually he calms down, we reunite, maybe we talk about it, maybe we don't. And then, maybe minutes later, maybe hours later if I'm lucky, there's another episode just like this.

No matter what I do to diffuse the situation, it always seems to escalate. Whatever consequence I warn of and follow through on, he is not deterred. All the while, I've got two other kids to take care of. And I'm a fucking wreck by the end of the day, at the very latest, and glad there is such a thing as beer.

1 comment:

sherry said...

I just have to tell you your son sounds EXACTLY like mine. I feel your pain, girl. By the end of the day a glass of wine is a must. I am available to compare notes ;)