We were having a rough week. We were on vacation, which The Boy can handle for only so long. He longs for school, and structure, and his own familiar surroundings. He gets cranky, irritable, and sometimes downright incorrigible. This was happening every single night, right around dinner time. We had had such a fantastic meltdown the previous night, that we were all still recovering: The Boy, his grandparents, The Man, and me.
After The Man, The Boy and I returned from a pretty nice day traveling to a somewhat local town that is one of our favorites, we met the grandparents at our favorite pizza place. The waiter came to take our drink order, and we asked about types of juice for The Boy. He does not drink soda, or pop, or water – pretty much juice, lemonade, or punch. We had been to this restaurant already on this vacation, and when we were here before, they had run out of juice, so we were able to save the day with a cup of ice (The Boy loves chewing on ice). Amazingly, they had not re-stocked any juice by now, and we needed something to drink because he had to take his meds. Ice would not cut it this time.
The Man and I looked at each other in the split second before the beginnings of a meltdown began ringing in my ears. I took him out as quickly as I could.
At the end of a long vacation, when this has been happening nightly, to the point where everyone is ready to scream, I was running out of things to say. I was running out of tricks in my bag. I was out of energy, out of creativity. So I told him the truth.
“When you act this way, you make everyone around you miserable. When you throw a fit like this, it makes us all unhappy. Grammy is unhappy, Poppy is unhappy, I am unhappy. Is that what you want? Do you want to make us all unhappy?”
I went on in this vein for two or three minutes, and then all of a sudden, it seemed to sink in. The Boy was quiet. The fit stopped almost as soon as it had started. I asked if we could go in, and take the pill with water, and then he could have a cup with ice. He said, “I will take my pill with water, and then have a cup of ice.”
We walked into the restaurant, hand in hand, and asked for a glass of water. And that was that.
His teacher and our Fantastic Babysitter have both told me a few times how important it is to him to please me, and each time I look at them incredulously, almost turning around to look for someone else. He sure doesn’t seem to want to please me when he’s with me! But then I stop and think of that little girl, who became a big girl, and is now an adult raising her own child, and I think of how much she always wanted to please her parents. And still does. And it makes sense.
He is mine. No doubt about that.