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Jul 4

Wartime

Posted on Saturday, July 4, 2009 in Family, Music, Philosophy

Oh, sometimes skies are cloudy
And sometimes skies are blue
And sometimes they say that you eat the bear
But sometimes the bear eats you
And sometimes I feel like I should go
Far far away and hide
‘Cause I keep a waitin’ for my ship to come in
And all that ever comes is the tide

-Hard Time Losin’ Man, Jim Croce

I spent most of today with my hand clamped firmly over Laughingboy’s mouth.  He’s been suffering from… something… for a few weeks now.  Could be teething problems, could be growing pains, could be gas, could be that the planet under the control of his amazing brain power somewhere is suffering from the turmoils of wartime.  Everybody offers opinions, but it’s anybody’s guess.  Either way, he spends most of his time red faced and screaming, his limbs clenched tight like rusty vice-grips, his eyes wild with anxiety.  There’s only so much pain killer a kid can take before he either becomes immune, or suffers from liver malfunction so it’s a case of trying one thing after another until he eventually falls asleep.

Problem is, most of the day must be spent quietly while TAT sleeps off his night-shift, so I must stay glued to Laughingboy’s bedside, gagging his yells with the cupped palm of my hand, stopping briefly every now and then to scream profanities into a soft cottony Spongebob pillow.  I caught myself yelling at Puppychild for singing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’ in her sweet little voice over the calamity caused by Cryingboy in the same room.  Hers was the voice of peace, but I only saw that once I had shattered it and she looked at me with big eyes brimming with tears, confused at what she had done wrong.  It killed me.

When silence briefly reigns, I must spend it washing or cooking or sweeping, or simply staring into an open fridge for two hours.  I miss the good parts, the quiet smiles, the interludes.

It grinds a girl down, it makes her want to sleep, to find her reflection in the bottom of a bottle, to forget about sending wedding thank-you-cards and emptying spare-rooms and sunbathing in rare Irish tarmac softening heat.  I wonder when things will start to perk up again.

Then something silly happens… in this case, while I was setting up Laughingboy’s feeding bag tonight, and I stood on an up-turned plug.  My reaction sounded something like a birthing hyena and it sent both children into hysterics.  All three of us, collapsed on a bed, ripped into shreds of giggles and forgetting the bad times.  It was right then that I figured it isn’t Laughingboy who has special needs, but me.  It’s a need to know that giggles are no good without tears, quiet smiles are accentuated by loud frowns, stress breeds peace.

Whatever it is that Laughingboy is suffering from, it will be but a distant memory someday.  I should take this opportunity to teach Puppychild how to deal with stress by example, and to remind Laughingboy what my heartbeat sounds like, instead of having him taste the salty bitterness of my sweaty hand.  Nothing comes from nothing, everything comes from understanding.

Like Grannymar once said on her blog; “Be thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means you have a home.”

Bring on the comments

  1. Grannymar says:

    And sometimes, most times you are doing a wonderful job even if you don’t realise it.

    Keep giggling!

  2. Granny says:

    Pop em all in the jalopy and come up for the afternoon,a change of scene for you lot, Tat can sleep the sleep back home!

  3. Baino says:

    Oh Kate, you do an exceptional job under difficult circumstances. I think we all have days like these but your challenges are greater than most. I hope Laughingboy is more comfortable today. Bugger the housework and take them all out in the sunshine. It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re warm and the rays are on your face. And I’m miles away I know but if you need to vent . . do it to me and not the kids . . .I’ll listen!

  4. I honestly don’t know how you mums do it. I have nothing but admiration for you. That moment – the giggling one – sounds wonderful though… and I guess that’s how you do it. Hope Laughingboy feels better soon.

  5. Therese says:

    Thats gr8 k8. You have me thinking of that gaggle of crazy nuns that taught us to be little stoics in Killiney – you are doing brillantly and with style. Keep up the good work.

  6. Holemaster says:

    Little joys of life are like seams of gold. Glad you can recognise them when you strike one. I believe parents who have special needs children were chosen specially for their love and caring.

  7. unstranger says:

    Thanks be to fuck that’s not me!

  8. Granny says:

    There are worse things in life Unstranger, like picking up a son or daughter smacked out on herion on some sleezy corner in some sleezy street. Laughingboy has brought out the most amazing love, tolerence of one anothers foibles and loyalty in our family circle. Kick one, we all limp!

  9. Lovely lovely post and I do hope the stress is easing up for you by now– hopefully L is feeling better too. Our kids are over-stressed now from the impending travel, and in autism that just translates to constant screaming and shrieking and mayhem. My nerves are shattered and we haven’t even left yet. I’m so tired. I’ve had those exhaustion-giggles before too; they’re bliss! And your insight was wonderful to read. Keep it up girl! Look at all these people cheering for you!

  10. K8 says:

    Grannymar; Thanks for the inspiration.

    Granny; TAT should be sleeping in the Jalopy more like!

    Baino; Thanks dude :) We all have our different things to bear, sure mine’s no different to anyone elses, just takes a different form. As for venting, that’s what the blog is for! (Unexpected 2am Skype chats notwithstanding :)

    The Jelly Monster; Thanks, that’s a good buzz.

    Jenny; Yes but I wonder how you could be a teacher! That’s got to be a bigger challenge… at least I can lock my kids in the attic. Wait. Did I say that out loud?

    Therese; Hiya – thanks for leaving a comment, and reminding me (shudder) about Cluny… I still to this day feel a deep seated need to cross the street when I see one coming. Stoic. Ha!

    Holemaster; Seams of gold… such a cool version of the silver lining. Permission to steal that sometime in the future?!

    Unstranger; Haha… careful! Somebody will be changing your nappies and listening to your nonsensical rantings too someday!!

    Susan; Oh best of luck with the travelling, I hope the equal but opposite reaction is very noticeable indeed and you have a great time away. Look back and laugh, it’s all you can do, really.

  11. Holemaster says:

    Just listened to the Bell X1 song. Jesus they’re growing on me.

  12. Ah no, you see, I’m a teaching assistant – I chose the breakdown-free life: I don’t get paid very much but I don’t get all the stress teachers get! Which isn’t to say I don’t wish we had an attic sometimes ;)

  13. Grow Up says:

    I find the long hours of unremitting tension inevitably end in laughter.

  14. Jo says:

    Oh honey. I hope the peace is back a little bit by now.

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