There was a note stapled to the outside of Captain Adventure’s backpack this afternoon when he arrived home. Uh-oh.
As I followed my half-asleep boy into the house, nestled against his daddy’s shoulder, listening to his slurred insistence that he wanted no nap…wash kurtohns…on doh-fah…, I totally knew what it was going to say.
Sure enough, it began with Captain Adventure had a bad day today…
My first impulse was to dash off a quick apologetic note.
“Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that…but I suppose it is to be expected, after the excitement of the winter break…”
My second impulse was to roll that note up tightly and smoke it as I dashed off a different one.
“What precisely did we expect, Einstein? You send an autistic boy, a.k.a. His Royal Highness, home to his mother and sisters for two whole weeks of hedonistic delights, including but not limited to HELLO, CHRISTMAS!!!, not to mention too much sugar and being fed all his favorite things on demand plus he got in way too much video game playing because he is apparently quite charming when required and can con his sisters out of their turns simply by smiling adoringly at them and saying, “Pweez I pway it yer game-uh?” and because no force can withstand his beautiful doe-like eyes they say, “Oh, sure, Captain Adventure!” and the next thing I know I’m yelling, “WHO LET THAT KID GET BACK ON THE COMPUTER?!”
All this in addition to staying up far too late on more than one (OK, just about every) night and sleeping in until we feared he might be dead in there for all we knew and woke him.
And then suddenly hey look, first day back to school! So by command of the school district we yank him out of his bed at 6:30 in the morning, hand him a muffin and a cup of milk then just as he’s waking up enough to realize that he likes muffins we yell, “YOUR BUS IS HERE!”, shove him into the cold, rainy morning without so much as a by-your-leave and none of us realize until the bus is pulling away that he’s dropped his muffin on the sidewalk, what kind of day do you THINK he’s going to have?!”
“P.S., Every Monday is bad. And I have it good authority that it is bad for ALL your students. Suck it up, you pansy.”
“P.P.S. Sorry about the pansy comment. That was uncalled for. He is also having what might be called a bad evening. Good luck tomorrow, and may your God go with you.”
But I resisted. First of all, I gave up smoking long, long ago and attempting to smoke notepaper would probably just make me sick. Secondly, the note isn’t supposed to be an attack on my son or my parenting – it’s just a statement of fact. He had a bad day today, a day when he resisted joining the group, a day when he made it quite clear that he would much rather be eating raw kelp in a cave somewhere in Nantucket – nekkid. In the sand.
Most of the kids in his class have a rough time with Monday. Even a return to routine is a change, and a lot of autistic kids have trouble with that.
Captain Adventure doesn’t actually mind change all that much (it’s one of his anti-autism behaviors). He rather thrives on it, loves to do things that are new and different and out of the box.
But Mondays…Mondays stink. I understand all about how and why Monday stinks. I spent a large part of today (a Monday, you may have noticed) resenting having to get back on the old horse myself. I loathed my alarm clock for nearly half an hour, was angry at the world that I had to get up so early, not to mention irritated that I don’t have a personal assistant to handle all these flippin’ forms and faxes for me (what’s up with that, anyway? where is that kid, and where’s my triple extra hot two pump no-whip lowfat mocha?! …oh…wait, that’s right, I’m not rich and/or famous, I don’t have a personal assistant who brings me insanely complicated caffeinated beverages at my whim…damn, foiled again…).
I spent nearly an entire working day today dealing with insurance-related things that needed faxing here, there or somewhere.
And I didn’t wanna.
It was a bad day for me, too.
It was, well, a Monday.
The only difference is, they’ve worn me down, Mondays have. I’ve been forced to accept their dominion over me. It is Monday, and the business world is moving…calling me, asking questions, looking for answers, expecting me to have them by end of business today…sigh…yeah, yeah, I know, let’s get it done today, let’s focus our lives on having that easy-breezy Friday…
I don’t cry for my mother anymore (much). I don’t kick my feet against the wall at nap time, or throw Goldfish crackers at my friend because he looked at me when I didn’t want him to, I don’t tell teacher, “POOPIE HEAD!” and then run laughing like a maniac to the other side of the room.
I don’t combine disdain with showing off when I decide to go ahead and make them all shut up by pointing to all those ‘G’ words, the Giraffe and the Goat and the Girl and the Gorilla and the Gate, not serially with one delicately pointing finger, but by spreading my hand into a claw and slamming one digit firmly down on each of them and going, “UNNNG!” instead of gently saying “Dere dey are!” the way I do when I’m being more tractable about things.
No. I don’t do such things anymore. I’m older. Beaten. Or to use a kinder word, taught. Repeated experience has taught me that I get my way faster, more consistently, and often with unlooked for reward (although I suppose since I’m secretly looking for it, it’s hardly “unlooked for”) by pretending Monday and its return to the strict regime of business life doesn’t bother me. That the best thing to do is knuckle down and barrel through it.
That if I do it with a smile, it makes those around me more pleasant to deal with, and can sometimes even trick me into thinking I’m having a superific day, yessir.
I hope they can forgive me for admiring my bad day son, just a little bit. For being envious of his wild rebellious streak, his angry refusal to tow anybody’s line if he don’t wanna, for his ability to simply end the stupid “find the letter ‘G’” game in a way that makes it very clear that he had it all figured out the whole time, and probably a whole lot more wouldn’t you like to know?!
I don’t want to destroy that. All I want is for him to control it, to loose it when it serves him, and leash it when it harms him. For him to be the lion tamer, not the lion’s prey.
Ah well. The alarm goes off in five hours now, to start another day. If I’m going to keep up with my Denizens one and all, I’d better stop worrying about bad days and whether or not anyone can be blamed for disliking those transitions from leisure to work.
Insanity…it really is what passes for normal around this place…
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