Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another "I Feel Like the World's Worst Mother" Moment

I was sitting in the softly lit family room last night with the TV on, when Baby Bear burst out of his bedroom—he never just comes out of there; he always shoots out as if he’s been catapulted or fired from a cannon.

He bounded into the family room and threw himself onto the love seat—because he never just enters a room or sits on the furniture, either. Every move that kid makes is as if he has turbo power.

After all these years, I’m accustomed to the bursting and catapulting and bounding and throwing, so I didn’t even glance his way as he commenced rocking back and forth on the love seat.

It probably wasn’t more than a few minutes before I finally deigned to look at him, but in retrospect, I can’t help feeling it was a few minutes too long, and I really should’ve looked at him as soon as he appeared.

He had a nosebleed, and as is usually the case when these things happen, he was—well, a bloody mess.

But what is also usually the case is that in the past, whether he’s covered in
blood or mud or something guaranteed to make me jump out of my seat with a scream, he’ll come and stand before me or, if I’m seated at the computer, quietly stand behind me until I turn to look at him.

For his own part, he never makes a sound; he just has to show himself to me. But last night, he apparently didn’t seem concerned enough to strike his familiar but dreaded, “Hey Mom, look at what a mess I am!” pose.

I found bloodstains in his bedroom, so he was like this when he barreled into the family room. I really should have noticed.

By the time I cleaned him up, the bleeding seemed to have subsided. Afterward, he still insisted on rocking back and forth, which I feared would cause the bleeding to resume, but it didn’t. An hour later his meds finally kicked in and he fell asleep, but I continued to check that nose.

He is fine.

These things upset me more than they do him; in fact, he never seems upset. I don’t know if it’s because he’s a boy or if I should be worried about that, but just to be on the safe side, I am.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiona, Ten Years Later

Dear Fiona:

It’s now been ten years since you left us—almost the same length of time you were with us. We still miss you, and not a single day goes by that my brain doesn’t hit the replay button on those final moments.

I can talk to people about you and what happened to you, and remain stoic and dry-eyed. But then I go to Wal-Mart, where we happen to casually pass through the ladies’ lingerie department. I see a rack of bras and panties adorned with Disney characters, and just like that I turn into a watering pot because I wish I could buy them for you.

This actually happened a few months ago—and this wasn’t little girls’ underwear, either—these were bras and panties for grown females with bosoms. I froze in my tracks to stare at them, and told your dad, “Fiona would love these. You know she’d love to wear them. And if she were still here, she could wear them, and they would fit,” because you’d be twenty years old now. The waterworks started gushing right there in the middle of Wal-Mart, and your dad had to drag me away. Perhaps it affected him, too, but he wouldn’t admit it.

For a fleeting time frame of only three short years, I had all three of my children and our family was complete. Those were the days when we went bowling as a family every Sunday afternoon. Baby Bear sat in his stroller while the rest of us bowled, and you got a kick out of lofting balls like Mr. Burns. Afterwards we always went to CiCi’s for pizza.

I’ve told your older brother that whenever we hear thunder, that’s you bowling up in heaven. “What’s that sound?” I ask him whenever thunder rolls, and he always replies, “Fiona’s bowling.” He still talks about your last day, of the paramedics who came to the house that morning, and of going to see you in the hospital afterward, but he seems to understand you’re now an angel in heaven.

When you were still here, every morning when I got up, I always went first into your room, because your school bus came earlier than your brother’s, and after you got sick, you had medical needs that had to be taken care of first thing. The day after you died, a Monday morning, I got out of bed and went straight to your pink bedroom without a second thought. It was purely out of habit, a reflex. But you weren’t there. The four-poster bed, with its canopy and comforter all covered with cheerful little hearts, was empty.

I still have your comforter, put away where the blanket-loving Bear can’t get to it. Those hundreds of little hearts are still whole, but my own heart is missing a piece.

At least I know where it is.

We love you, Bunny Buttons!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baby Bear Gets Down and Dirty

Last weekend we had the Crown Prince over because it was his birthday. (He’s now 22, Mr. Lucky’s age when he married me.) On Sunday evening we all piled into the car to take him back to the group home where he resides with other mentally disabled adult males.

Once there, Baby Bear refused to leave.

For a while we let him sit in the wooden lawn swing on the front porch of the house. Yet when we told him it was time to get up and go home, he made his usual squeal (that’s the best word to describe the sound) of protest and continued rocking in the swing.

We mentioned McDonald’s to him. He usually loves McDonald’s. Not this time. He wanted to stay where he was.

I started rummaging among all the McTrash in the car to show him something that might lure him back. I found an empty Dunkin’ Donuts box and waved it. “How about donuts?” I asked him. He never turns down the opportunity to go for donuts.

Until now.

Mr. Lucky finally attempted to physically remove Bear from the swing. I tried to hold the swing steady, thinking that would make it easier, but Mr. Lucky informed me in no uncertain terms that I was not helping, and to back off. And stay backed off.

I got in the car and started it up. Meanwhile, somewhere between the porch swing and the car, Mr. Lucky and Bear wrestled each other to the ground, which was all dirt. Very fine powdery dirt. Bear was already sweaty from his constant movements, and within seconds he was covered with grime.

Mr. Lucky was on his feet, trying with all his strength to get our son off the ground, but the boy was having none of it. He rolled away from his father, picking up more dirt.

At one point I was afraid he’d roll under the car and stay there, and then we’d never get him out. I turned off the ignition, because he was already too near the exhaust pipe.

And all the while Mr. Lucky was wrestling with him, Bear was yelling something that sounded like, “Nay nay nay nay nay!”

It was decidedly negative. He knows the word no, and he hates hearing it. But he’s never actually said it. He doesn’t talk. Yet I once heard or read somewhere that non-verbal autistic children, when under extreme duress, will suddenly burst out an exclamation in clear, concise Queen’s English to the amazement of all concerned. Was this going to be one of those moments? Would Bear suddenly go a la Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes and yell at his father to get his filthy hands off him?

Alas, no. I was to hear nothing but the endless staccato of nay-nay-nay-nay-nay, until Bear scrambled to his men’s size 13 feet and fled back into the group home.

Mr. Lucky instructed me to move the car so as to line up the rear passenger door with the sidewalk leading out of the front door. He followed Bear into the house, and managed to distract him with the aquarium they have in the foyer. We’d love to have our own aquarium, but—well, need I explain why that’s not a very good idea?

Somehow Mr. Lucky got the boy distracted enough by the pretty fishies that he was able to quickly propel him out the door and into the back seat of the car.

This whole fiasco took about an hour. Bear was filthy. Mr. Lucky was in a lot of pain from wrestling with him, and remains astonished at the kid’s Incredible Hulk-like strength.

The Crown Prince, meanwhile, had a very Happy Birthday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baby Bear Finally Notices the Dogs' Water

Over a year ago, we bought our dogs a new water cooler similar to the old one (pictured below), after it sprang a leak that surreptitiously soaked the carpet in the linen closet. Phyllis rightly marveled at the fact that Aquaboy, aka Baby Bear, had never bothered with it.

She must’ve forgotten to knock on wood when she left that comment, because this afternoon he finally noticed it.

I was sitting at my computer when I heard the splattering sound, whereupon I leaped to my feet, yelled his name and demanded to know what he was doing (like he’s going to respond and confess, but hope springs eternal). I entered the kitchen just in time to see him place the water cooler on the counter, and don that nonchalant “who-knows-what-she’s-yelling-about-now” demeanor that he inherited from his father.

Apparently he picked it up from the floor, tipped it upside-down, and bombs away.

At least he dumped it on the kitchen floor instead of choosing a carpeted area. That’s progress enough for me.

But heaven help us if he ever figures out how to disassemble it while full. Knock on wood.