I never intended to be a mother of a Demon Baby. My other three children are very creative and wonderful and . . . calm. Oldest Son walked in to the house from high school yesterday and said, "I've thought about it and I think I want to be a Buddhist. I want to find enlightenment." That's Oldest Son, all right. Calm. Peaceful. Brilliant. Zen.
My other three didn't have childhoods like his, and I confess I spend a great deal of prayer time and a great deal of tears over how, precisely, to be a good mother to this amazingly wonderful HIGH-energy child, who makes me feel anything BUT zen.
This blog is full of his funny stories. But what I don't post . . . the fact that he gave up naps by a year or so old, was climbing from his crib at 13 months, and doesn't need to sleep. Some of his oddities, like needing a separate fork for all the items on his plate, and the off-the-charts tears and hysteria that can result if he doesn't have separate forks. It's not "faked" on his part. The anguish is palpable, so I spend time trying to understand the way he sees the world. I suppose that is the best I can do. And now . . . .
He has started escaping the house. And crossing the street. And going to neighbors' homes. Even at night. On nights without a moon. When it is pitch dark. So much for my showering in the evenings when the other kids are asleep. And recently? He sleepwalks.
So now I must purchase door alarms and all sorts of latches, not to keep intruders out, but to keep my child in.
Last night, I tucked him in around 9:30 (EARLY for him, since he does NOT sleep). And he popped into my room at 11:00 to watch the end of the Yankees game with me. We snuggled and he told me I was the best mother in the world. Something I wish were true, but is far from it.
"Well . . . I wish I was more patient. I'm sorry I sometimes yell at you. I guess I don't understand why you do such naughty things." (Oh, like peeing places he shouldn't, and kick-boxing his brother.)
"When you yell at me, I get angry and then it makes me want to do bad things. I have an evil king inside my head, and he sometimes tells me to do naughty things just to make you mad."
"Well, don't listen to your evil king."
Oh, our conscience can be at work, even at age 4.
The blog? It really is to remember all the funny things, for the times when I want to cry. Discovering your child has left the house while you were asleep or folding laundry? That he is so fearless--even in the dark and the cold, to leave barefoot and go exploring? It strikes terror in me. I don't sleep. I make coffee and stay awake. And now, bless the man who told me where to get these alarms (Radio Shack). I don't like to use my deadbolt. Fear of a fire . . . I want the kids to be able to run out without fumbling for a lock. But now . . . along comes a special child. And so the way I used to do things has to change. The way I used to mother has changed. It is me . . . me who is walking barefoot in the dark, not quite sure of how to do things anymore.
His pediatrician said, "Would you want to medicate him?"
No. And occasionally I hear from a lurker or two to this blog who reprimand me and think all he needs is a really good spanking. I don't want to hear from you. That isn't the answer. And for me, neither is medicating the spark out of him. The pediatrician looked relieved and said, "Good. Because I just think he's a genius. Channel it."
But how can you channel something so remarkable?
It's funny to be a writer and a blogger. After I am gone, my children can read my words. I can only hope someday he will look at this and know how horribly inadequate I felt, how hard I tried, and how fiercely he was loved. He is God's practical joke. I thought I knew how to be a mother. But I have a lot left to learn. What is the zen saying? When the pupil is ready . . . the teacher will appear.