The weekend went along nicely. J got to go down to the river for his walk on the dock (a form of entertainment that he seems to enjoy quite a bit, especially at this time of year,) and we also got to the bakery before they ran out of his favorite treat. There was not much he could complain about until last night when he decided, rather abruptly, that enough was too much and he had a tantrum.
The cause for this remains a mystery. We are completely clueless about it, but we know that it was rather animated, definitely emotional and came and went with the same suddenness of a microburst. Mother -who had finally started feeling a little more human and a little less overwhelmed by the demands of summer- ended up curled up in the fetal position and you may now call her (well, ME!) a coward. I am, I admit it…
I wish I could say I confronted the situation with great dignity, but the truth is that I pouted and whined like a middle-aged child. I’m not proud of myself, but that’s the way it went.
When J finally calmed down (the whole thing lasted ten minutes,) we were all exhausted and, of course, trying to analyze what might have triggered it. Let’s start with it was Sunday night and, since he is starting his job in the Orthopedics department bright and early tomorrow morning, TGG had not worked since early Friday morning. This, it seems, might have contributed to J’s confusion.
The next thing we could think of was that, in their preparations for this morning, Dada and TGG had moved the cars, opening the garage door to do so. J sleeps right above the garage, and one cannot open or close the door without him leaping to open his window and act like a sentinel. That the cars merely switched places and nothing else happened, in spite of it being after 8 P.M., must’ve added to his confusion.
Mere moments before the tantrum, Dada had gone in to see if J needed anything. What he found when he opened the door reminded us all of a scene from The Goodbye Girl. In said scene, Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) knocks on Elliott Garfield’s (Richard Dreyfuss) door because it is the middle of the night and he is playing guitar. Paula asks “are you decent?,” to which he answers yes. When she opens the door, he is naked, covered only by the guitar. She is appalled and says “I thought you said you were decent!!!” to which Elliott replies “I am decent. I also happen to be naked.” Well, figure the same thing met Dada (who knocked, by the way, before entering,) but replace the guitar with boxing gloves.
As I said, by all accounts we should have been smooth sailing last night. Instead, we had a tantrum…and it crushed me. Don’t ask me why, but it did. I slept fitfully and I guess I worried all night that we would be back to carrying the boxing gloves to school this morning.
That J bounced down the stairs as happy as could be while I grunted like a cave-dweller over my cup of coffee is not something that I like to admit. Whatever was bothering him was fleeting, and I was the one who allowed it to become bigger and more ominous than it should have been.
I lost my cool. I felt as if all our efforts this summer had amounted to very little and had imploded in short order…and I was wrong. The kid was pissed off about something, and I am simply slowly working my way out of the mental and emotional exhaustion of being en garde from the end of May to the middle of August.
I spent the morning lazing about. I spent the morning thinking of how I can not be so tense about the absence of the gloves, the sudden burst of temper, the change in routine…and I couldn’t think of one single thing that I can impart as wisdom. The only thing I kept thinking is that the tantrum wasn’t a big deal until it bothered me, and that I (like Prospero) made a tempest where there was none.
J had a good day at school. He came home feeling happy and looking relaxed. And he came home as loquacious as a person who seldom speaks spontaneously and is categorized as having difficulties in speaking can possibly be.
Be patient with me…after the summer efforts I am feeling a little high-strung still, but I’ll get better. And J’s cool. He’s just like you and I…he has his good days and he has his bad days, and I tend to hyperbolize…