Wednesday, April 28, 2010

two days later...

HOW COULD YOU have SENT me into that room FULL OF POLLEN?

the kid had passed scream, and was settling confidently into screech.

are you trying to KILL me? You KNOW that I'm AL-LER-GIC! to that stuff!

The next day, he'd go outside to ride his bike, and come home with hives crawling up the backs of his hands. But he wasn't waiting for the hives to fracture into slivers of scared, paradigm-rebuilding boy. I rolled my shoulders, and tried to mentally adjust his volume.

Nothing doing.

He curled up on the futon, and started crying. I curled in with him, shoving aside the half hour of poisonously nasty kid, layering on the insults with admirable skill. Wrapped an arm around him, and pulled him in close. Squished him a little, while he considered melting - and did.

Boneless in my arms, he let the comfort seep in. I did too, remembering the Toddles' fear of feathers, and the way that the 'dangerous' and 'annoying' allergy categories can bleed together, when you are small. It's a tough line to draw, and a tougher one to install deep below the thinking part of yourself, somewhere in what we might call blind faith. The annoying allergies have to be dismissable for the boys to function. If they aren't, the kids carry fear with them through their day. Will I stop breathing now? they'd wonder. What about now? Is that scratchy throat a sign that it's coming - the big scary allergy thing is going to happen - now? You can't swing a bat if you are waiting for the sky to fall. Can't thread your way through the social labyrinths if the Minotaur is about to pounce.

You know what, kid? I think we need to rethink what we mean by 'annoying.' Because this is really kind of beyond annoying - definitely deep into the seriously irritating.

It was a feeble attempt, but I stopped, waiting for him to choose. He held himself absolutely still, standing in the middle of his fears, the paralysis of his awareness of risk. Outside of that web, he saw me standing with a stray snail's shell in my pocket, lifting leaves to peek underneath, finding rocks to climb over and the ponds where we've hunted for frogs and freshwater snails. Rotting logs, rich with bugs - and the occasional snacking bird. More importantly, he saw his friends weaving through a muddle of playgrounds, basketball hoops, burbling over and around each other, grubby and loud with boyness. He looked. We looked back, waiting, knowing the difference between suspense and a quiet - pause -

He tilted his head. Really, REALLY irritating, Mom.


Libby said...

This afternoon my son fell into a stream, gouged a hole in his shin and howled all the way home "I don't WANT my boo-boo anymore!"

The entire neighborhood knew he didn't want the boo-boo.

Now that he's allowed himself to be bathed, disinfected and bandaged ("with the LARGE Spongebob bandaid!") he is contemplating whether or not he fell on any fish and squished them. Maybe the green one. ("But it wasn't sick because it was green.")

First the pain/discomfort/irritation, then the drama, comforting and finally perspective. It sounds awfully similar.

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

they don't have to be original to be effective, do they?