It was a rough night. It was one of those “I can’t take it anymore” nights. One of those “Jesus, help me” nights. One of those exhausting, emotional, overloading nights. Like I said, it was rough.
The Older Boy has a tendency to obsess over things. He’s always done this. Whether it was an upcoming trip to Grandma’s or a new toy, he can’t focus on anything else if he’s excited about something. It could drive anyone insane. For example, if we’re going bowling on Saturday, and I tell John Edward about it on Thursday, he will ask repeatedly when we’re going. He understands the days of the week, and I can even write it on a calendar as a visual for him, but it won’t matter. “Mom, we go bowling?” will be his mantra until we are in the bowling alley parking lot. It can wear on your patience, trust me. We’ve learned over the years to not tell him if we’re doing something exciting until we are on our way there.
He also does this with new things. The other day, he bought a new Wii game with his own money. Before we even checked out, he was asking, “We go home now? I play ‘da Wii?” We heard this about 15 more times on the way home, which is only about 12 miles from the store.
So, I should have known better when we decided to get a new cat.
Actually, a new kitten.
Actually, 2 new kittens.
I’m an idiot.
Regardless, we now have 2 new family members in feline form. Of course, The Older Boy is obsessed with them. He is constantly wanting to hold them, play with them, follow them, take pictures of them, etc, etc. Those poor cats have no privacy when John Edward’s home. I understand that he’s excited about our new pets. They are super cute. They are hilarious. They are warm and cuddly. I get it.
But he goes too far. They are all he thinks about. It’s unhealthy.
I’m terrified he’ll end up like this:
Whew! Wish I was joking on that one.
Anyway, The Husband was gone last night. He was attending a meeting and wouldn’t be home until late. We (the boys and I) had already had all of our usual fun arguments:
Do I have to take a bath?!? Yes. You have to bathe every night.
Why do I have to wash my hair?!? Because you have to wash your hair every night.
Why do I have to pick up my mess?!? Ummm…because you made it.
Do I HAVE to brush my teeth? Well, that’s just gross. Of course you do.
Exciting life I lead, huh? Oh, yeah. Be jealous.
After all of our usual head-splitting fun, we sat down to watch a movie. But, John Edward was not concentrating on the movie. He was focused on the kittens. “Aww, he likes me! Aww, he meowed! Aww, he ate his food! Aww, he drank his water! Aww, he use ‘da litter box!”
Fascinating. Tell me more.
Those types of things actually don’t bother me. I know he’s just excited. What bothers me is when he won’t leave them alone. He constantly picks them up, even when they don’t want him to. He holds them tight so they can’t leave him. He’s always kissing them. He’s always trying to make them play. You get the point. And if you don’t, here’s some visuals for you:
All the time.
I told that kid repeatedly to leave the kittens alone. I told him that if they wanted to play, they’d come to him to play. If they wanted to be held, they’d come to him to be held. I threatened to punish him from the cats. I told him I’d take them away from him.
He wasn’t listening. Apparently, he has a hearing problem.
I’d had enough. The kittens looked exhausted, and they were hiding from him. I blew up. “John Edward! If you pick up those kittens one more time, I’m going to send you to bed early!” Now, it actually wasn’t early. The boys’ bedtime is 8pm, but I was letting them stay up a little late to finish our movie. It was about 8:15 at this point, when the kid reached under a chair (the kittens’ favorite hiding place), and pulled out a distressed kitty. The cat hissed at him, and John Edward giggled.
I was not amused. “That’s it! Go to bed! Now! Good night, I love you. Get!” See, I literally fuss with love.
He was seriously upset. He went to his room, crying the whole way. Once in his room, he began to scream and hit the walls. For the next 30 minutes, I heard him crying and screaming. I heard him banging on his walls and throwing items around his room. I heard him growling and pleading.
I ignored him. I know it probably sounds cruel to you, but it’s really the best way with him. He’s smart enough to try to manipulate others, and sometimes these actions are his way of doing so. Our neuro-psychologist and myself feel like this is the best way. So, he continued to make an immense amount of noise, breaking his toys and my walls in the process. (I do not ignore the destruction, by the way. If he’s causing destruction with an item, I will go and remove the item.)
I hate it when he acts this way. Understand, I hate it when he acts this way. I, in no way, have ill feelings towards my son. I love him immensely. I would give anything to take away his problems, his pain. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. I wish things were different for him. I wish he understood things better.
Most of the time, I can handle these “episodes.” Even though I don’t always understand why we have the issues that we do, I do accept that this is how things are. This is our reality. I have faith that this is all part of God’s plan for us. And, as unfair as it is to John Edward, he is meant to be this way for some reason or another. When my faith is strong, I believe this 100%.
However, I didn’t handle things so well last night. Fighting self-pity, I tried the best I could to make sense of things. Our house was in chaos, I was exhausted, and what made things worse was The Younger Boy’s reaction to his brother. At one point, Philip looked at me and casually said, “Oh Jeez, how long is it going to last this time?” At another point, he giggled and said, “Wow, mom! John’s really acting crazy tonight, huh?” In those moments, I felt so sorry for Philip. This is his reality, as well. He has never known a calm life. He has never known a quiet house. He has never known a brother who acted “normal.” If anyone else would have been over, they would’ve thought John Edward really was acting crazy. Not Philip. This is his normal. How unfair…
I felt as though both of my children were in turmoil, and I could not help either one of them. I felt helpless. I felt chaotic. I felt like a failure.
And, I’m ashamed to say I felt sorry for myself. Why me? Why does this have to be my trial? Is God punishing me for something?
Of course He’s not. I know that on an intellectual level. My problem right now is not the kids, it’s not The Husband, it’s not even my parenting skills (or lack thereof). No, my problem right now is my faith. I’m struggling in my faith. I feel lost. I feel spiritually barren. I feel alone. This was the real root of my problem last night. This was the real reason I couldn’t handle it. I was not accepting of our reality. I was not accepting of God’s plan.
Ironically, I had actually met with The Ninja-Priest-Friend earlier in the day for some spiritual advice, which he gave to me, along with homework. Now, I have to do my part. It’s going to be hard this time. Spiritually, I feel empty inside. I know what I need to do…pray without ceasing, attend Mass, receive the sacraments, etc. Part of me desperately wants to do these things; part of me does not. Part of me is eager to grow closer to God; part of me is afraid I’ll fail. All of me longs for Him.
My journey is at a standstill right now. I’m not sure of how things will ultimately turn out. I’m not confident in myself.
I don’t know much of anything at this point.
The only thing I do know for sure is this–I’m a work in progress. And progress is slow…
All images from www.AwkwardFamilyPetPhotos.com.