Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Gorilla in the ice chest

It started out as a perfectly wonderful evening.  Dinner had been more than a bit stressful for me.  I admit that I don't mind not being home at dinner time.  And the disorganization in my house has usually lead to dinner not being eaten at the table anyway.  But today something got into me and not only did I make dinner (and a dinner that did not involve noodles), I made dessert and I cleaned half the kitchen, including the table, meaning that we ate dinner at the table for the first time in months.  Together.  Even when I am home Abdullah (aka Daddy) is normally in charge of meals (that usually involve noodles) and I admit to hiding out doing something else.  Because mealtimes with Hassaan are very rarely fun.  And, like many other occasions, dinner tonight ended with tears.

Scene: dinner table.  Mummy, Daddy, Hammad and Hassaan.  Everyone sitting nicely around the table, eating their dinner.  Everyone, that is, except Hassaan.

Up, down, up, down...Hassaan, sit...up, down, up, down....Hassaan!  Sit down!....wiggle wiggle wiggle cup of milk nearly gets knocked over...Hassaan.  Stop....up down wiggle wiggle squirm wiggle wiggle down nearly pulls table cloth off the table.  "HASSAAN!  Enough!"  Daddy yells louder than he should have.  Hassaan's face falls, the lip quivers and then he starts to sob.  Daddy did apologize for yelling louder than he needed to, which stopped the tears, but I'm sure my blood pressure was still up from the whole meal.  It's hard to enjoy a meal when someone's bouncing around like Tigger on steroids.

And then came after dinner.  Abdullah and Hammad had started out with a small game from a fast food kids meal that had been collected that really was far out of Hammad's range of ability - a here's some questions, what's the answer (and is kind of obscure).  And Hassaan really wanted to play too, but if it was too hard for Hammad, it was going to be too hard for Hassaan.  (Numbers, now, it might be the opposite, but play on words, not so much.)  So I got out the kids Monopoly game they got for Christmas from my parents.  The number of times I had to tell Hassaan to get off the table while we were trying to find batteries for the game (yes, a Monopoly game that takes batteries) was ridiculous (seriously - where did you get the idea that it was okay to climb onto the table?  If it wasn't okay before, it's not okay now!)

Now, he was actually really, really good at playing the game.  And it's a great game for counting and adding and subtracting.  (Monopoly: Crazy Cash)  And he didn't even have a temper tantrum when Hammad won by a landslide (the game ended when Abdullah went bankrupt and I had $2 left - and no, we were not letting them win in the least).  In fact,  Hammad could be taught a lesson in winning graciously, which we did try, though judging by the "I won" dance he was putting on I'm pretty sure the lesson didn't take.  And then....

And then I told Hassaan it was bedtime (not just for him, but for Hammad too).  And all hell broke loose.  He took off up the stairs and I ordered him back down and into the bathroom.  He refused to go.  Then he did come down but stood in the doorway to the kitchen with his hands on his hips screaming at me:

"I hate you"
"I'm never listening to you for the rest of my life"
"I don't like you"
"I'm not going to bed"
"I won't go"

Abdullah had his back to him for this because he was trying so hard not to laugh.  It wasn't the words that were amusing him (and to some extent me) it was the facial expressions and the body language and just the way it was being said.  He finally turned around and marched into our bedroom, where - after retrieving his pyjamas and night time underpants because the child still wets the bed most nights and nighttime underpants (Pull Ups) are cheaper than doing laundry every. single. morning. - I found him on my bed, looking very angry, but very silent.  Until he saw the jammies in my hand.


I didn't say a word.  I just sat down on the bed and cradled him in my arms and let him scream.  I asked him why he hated me at one point and he said "because you won't let me play Monopoly!" And then he punched me in the face.  At that point he got placed between my legs and I sat cross legged with my legs over his and my hands wrapped around his arms so that he was giving himself a hug.  Changing the child into his jammies then pushed us on to phase two of these meltdowns: the maniacal giggle.

If you've never heard the maniacal giggle, it's kind of hard to explain.  I put the giggle more to the ODD than the ADHD.  You're already fighting - for lack of a better word - with him and then it's almost like part of his brain now sees it as a game.  And he does this giggle right up until the point that he "loses" and then goes back to screaming and crying.  In this case, my successful attempt to get his shirt off of him. He fought a little while longer.  What seemed like forever was actually only a few minutes.  And then it was like the switch toggled to off and he stopped arguing.  And got his pants and underpants off.  Even put them in the hamper in the laundry room.  And then while he was in the bathroom, he started sobbing.  I opened up the door and asked him why he was crying.  He pointed to a drawing that Hammad had drawn him that for reasons I don't understand and can't be bothered to ask, he put on the wall above the toilet and said "There's a sun and a cloud in that picture and it reminds me of Fetch!"  Fetch being the boys' dog that was hit by a car last fall and we had to put to sleep.  Ooookay then.  He stopped crying.  I helped him get his nighttime underpants on.  I started helping him get his pants on.  We got all of one foot and ankle and he bursts into tears again.  "Wearing pants REMINDS ME OF FETCH!"  Seriously?!?!!  Dude - you are wearing pants whether it reminds you of Fetch, the snowman in the driveway or the man in the moon.  I had to send him upstairs to his room ahead of me so I could get the huge laugh in me out without him there.  Wearing pants.  Reminds him of Fetch.  Oooooooookay then.

And then I went upstairs and he was sitting on his bed with his shirt pulled up to his chest, his little boy belly sticking out saying "Mummy, get my giggle button!" and giggling hysterically.

So there's this gorilla.  And it lives in the ice chest.  And we all know it's there.  And we kind of hope we never see it.  But it seems that most nights, it pops out.  Just long enough to disrupt routine, or to create such an issue most nights there is no routine.  And then he goes back into the ice chest.  Where we all know he is.  Where we can't forget he is.  But that we wish wasn't there.

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