Monday, August 3, 2009

Just another day in paradise

I battled a mortal enemy all day yesterday and that enemy was my son. He woke up and, for no apparent reason, suddenly despised me. I understand that this is something which happens during the teen years but he is only 4 1/2, for the love of God.

He continued to despise me until bedtime, when he had a spasm of contrition which set him straight. I, of course, accepted his unspoken apology, and told him I will always forgive him no matter what he does, for as long as I am alive, and beyond, because he is my boy and I love him unconditionally. That said, had there been a pack of gypsies passing through Park Slope yesterday, I probably would have sold him off. Because yesterday Primo was a primo jerko.

“I HATE YOU MOMMY!” is how it began in the morning. That was because after his sister drew on the brand-new, impeccably white solid wood door which belongs to the home I know own, in ballpoint pen, I put her in a Time-Out. A useless, ineffective, what’s-the-point-but-what-else-are-you-gonna-do? Time-Out. And although 90% of his waking hours are spent complaining about Seconda, in this one moment, he decided he was her fiercest ally and was resolute about doing her time with her.

“You can’t be in there when she’s doing Time-Out. It defeats the purpose!”

“I don’t care what you say. She’s my sister and I’m not leaving!”

I told him I applauded his loyalty, nay, more than applauded, I gave it a standing ovation – it thrilled me and made me proud.

“But you have to do what I say and get out of the room. Now.”

No way, Jose, nothi8ng doing. The worst part is, while he’s being openly defiant like this, he laughs his head off, like my discipline is all a big, hilarious joke. Really knows how to drive me crazy, that one. So after asking and demanding that he listen to my instructions a few more times, I pulled him out of the room kicking and screaming so his sister could have a Time-Out which was so undeterring that five minutes later she drew on the new coffee table in crayon.

After that Primo was just stuck on the “Hate Mommy” dial, and everything was my fault. His Lego creation of the Sphinx in front of the pyramids broke and it was my fault. He didn’t want chicken soup for lunch despite telling me that he did, and that was my fault. We made homemade ice cream with a brand-new electric homemade ice cream and it was my fault because the ice cream took too long to freeze.

The worst part is, when one of the kids is having a naughty day (and I am being euphemistic here because what I really mean is a day when they are mean as a f#$king sewer rat), the other one is even naughtier. It is sympathetic unhappiness. When Seconda is unhappy, she whines and cries. Loudly and incessantly. So all I heard yesterday was this wall of crying punctuated by Primo’s verbal abuse.


“If my nose gets stuck in the elevator.” I replied, “I will have to go to the hospital and stay there in intensive care for many days and you will have to stay with NANA AND BABBO!!!!!!!!!!”

That shut him up for a brief spell.

In the midst of this maelstrom of hate, I had to bring the kids down to the lobby to return the luggage cart we’d been using to haul stuff up to our new place. It was about 4pm and none of us were wearing shoes, Sec wasn’t wearing any pants, and Primo was in his PJs. We looked like a bunch of hobos. We exit the elevator and while I am returning the cart to its place, Sec – a social butterfly, even half-dressed – starts up a conversation with a little girl just her age, waiting quietly in the lobby with her dad and newborn baby sister.

“I’m Seconda and this is my brother Primo and this is our new house. What’s your name girl. Say your name!”

So I walk over to talk to the dad, “How old is she? . . . What floor do you live on? . . . Oh what a cute baby,” etc. and while I am exchanging these pleasantries, my son is standing next to me saying, “I hate you Mommy, I hate you, I feel like no one loves me. I hate you. I want you to go away.”

The dad looked very uncomfortable, and I felt like we were the trailer trash making a scene in the nice establishment. And I wanted to say to him, “Oh sure, everything’s great now, huh? I mean, you just had baby number two and you probably think things are so HARD and you’re so EXHAUSTED but trust me, everything right now is friggin’ great. You don’t know what’s coming, man. You have no idea. You will be us in exactly two years, my friend. Standing here in the lobby with no shoes on and in your PJs in mid-afternoon, trying to make small talk when your oldest tells you he wishes your nose would get caught in an elevator. This is your future. What do you think of that?????”

Of course I just took the kids and went back upstairs so the happy family could have a nice walk in the park while I suffered verbal abuse privately.

At bedtime though, after David read books, I went in to tell Prim his good night story and I’d changed into a pretty skirt and shirt because my BFF was coming to see the new place and we were headed out for a drink. When he saw me Primo gasped, actually gasped and said:

“Oh Mommy! You are so beautiful!”

“Thank you,” I said, hugging him, “Thank you for saying so.”

“Oh Mommy, what a beautiful dress! You are so beautiful! If you wore makeup like this every day you would look like you were in the CIRCUS!”

(This is the highest compliment coming from my son, and not an insult, as it would be ordinarily).

And that’s when I told him that even when we fight and even when I’m mad at him, I love him the whole time.

“You just can’t turn it off,” I said, “My love is like the ocean and the ocean never runs dry.”

Then I went out and had a very large White Russian and told the story to my best friend and felt much better.