Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chain reaction

I can't avoid this blogging thing any longer. It's just not fair to keep the curtains drawn and prevent you from peeking in. Sometimes it's all butterflies and show tunes and Sunday-morning pancakes. Sometimes it's a train wreck. And sometimes it's so fracking ridiculous that you'll laugh AND cry. Like just now.

It's been a long day. A long week really. My 5 year old autistic son has strep throat. My husband's grandfather is in the hospital. I really need to work as much as I can, despite covering my husband's allotted kid schlepping and having a sick kid home two days. It was a night for a quick, easy dinner served early because my DH, we'll just call him Barry (ask me why Barry some other time) had a much-needed man date for a drink.

So Daddy was out and I was going to make the best of it. I'd try to be a fun mom. I try to do that sometimes. However my attempts usually end up biting me in the ass.

I stepped out of the kitchen for just a couple minutes as the boys were finishing their dinners, I wanted to look online for an ice cream place with non-dairy options.  Instead of just waiting for bedtime we would go for ice cream, that's fun, right? I was looking at a promising menu when heard the unmistakable crash/ring of breaking glass.

"Mommmmmmaaaaaa!!" calls my 8 year old (let's call him Danny) but I was already in the room, colliding with The Culprit, who was shouting "Somebody broke that*" over and over and laughing at his cleverness. I pulled the dog away from the spilled coconut milk and scattered shards, and as I swung Captain Destructo over over the doggie gate I smelled it. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Ever hopeful, I sent him to the bathroom. "If you poop on the potty, I'll take you out for ice cream" I called (yes I am an opportunist), and sent Danny to sit with him as I squatted down to deal with the broken glass.

I should have known better, but I soon gave up on the squat and put one knee down as I reached for a jagged piece. Concurrent with the realization that there was a hunk of glass in my knee came the call that the boys had reached the toilet too late. The damage was done. I tossed a handful of glass into the trash and headed to the bathroom, where I was greeted by Danny shouting "He's was putting his fingers in it!" So. Yeah. In... that.

I absently swiped the Boy's fingers with a wipe and leaned over him to get to the real mess. Being a mother, and Jewish, I can't be blamed for what I did next, but it was my fatal error. I straightened up and pointed to my bloody knee, "Momma has an owie because you broke that glass!" As I returned to the business end as he RUBBED MY BLOOD ALL AROUND MY KNEE WITH HIS FINGER!!"

Yeah, the one with poop on it.

No big deal. I got him in the bath, washed, medicated, and bandaged my knee. All is well in our home sweet home,  and no one has even complained about missing the ice cream. I still have the dishes to do but I'm way past worrying about the state of my kitchen. No one comes over anyway. Here's the point:

I really stayed pretty calm through the whole thing, and so did the boys. It wasn't so long ago that I would have screamed and cried, unable to prioritize what crisis needed my immediate attention first. I would have simmered all night and resented Barry for being out, I would have lectured about where big boys did their poops, lashed out at Danny, and generally indulged in psycho mommy mode.

It's hard to be a parent. Harder to be a single parent, even for an evening but exponentially if it's permanent. Having a child on the spectrum ups the ante. Trivial annoyances and inconveniences seem monumental because so often they happen all at once, many things gone awry in just a few minutes.  The awful feelings that accompany those things linger much longer. It takes a lot of work to avoid diving into the comforting bosom of self-pity. I'm no bodhisattva, and I regularly tell myself "don't panic" well after panic has wrapped itself around me and started to squeeze. Lately though, once in a while, I find myself feeling good with how I handled some adreline spiking mini-crisis. My quest for inner calm is coming along—in fits and spurts, and I owe much of the credit to Montgomery Burns.

Monty Burns, Springfield's villainous nuclear power plant owner and who coached Homer Simpson back into shape (his usual shape, at least) after Homer had gained weight intentionally to achieve disabled status and be allowed to work from home. (No judgement, we're all disfuntional here.)

As he stood on a platform leading his employees in slow-motion aerobics he chanted:

"Push out the jive, bring in the love.
Push out the jive, bring in the love.
Push out the jive, bring in the love"

It's become my mantra. And if Mr. Burns can do it, so can I.

*name the movie he was quoting i'll buy you a dairy-free ice cream

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