Friday, December 12, 2008

"Say your prayers and you die..."  Hearing these words from the mouth of my six year old son, Theo, was tonight's last straw.  There isn't always a last straw, most of the time we make it all the way through the whole bedtime ritual without nearing even the end of the straw line, but then there are the nights that build with a quiet intensity from dinner onward.  Tonight was that kind of night.  The kind of night where each bite of soup was the end result of an extended and excruciating bargaining process, and the road to the pajama drawer was paved with a thousand distractions.  Tonight, at my daughter, Sadie's request, I dressed her toy frog, Celina, for bed in a two piece powder blue track suit.  Once I'd wriggled the furry green flippers into the little sleeves and straightened the hoodie, I was informed that "Celina hates that outfit.  She hates it.  She would never wear that to bed and she needs to be changed."  Sadie, in striped leggings, her bare belly a sweet reminder of her babyhood, rummaged through the doll clothes while Theo pulled on his pull-up (yep, he's six, but a damned fine sleeper) and peed right into it.  I tried to remain upbeat and non-judgmental while reminding him that if you're peeing in your sleep, it's a "pull-up" but if you're peeing and you're awake, it's a "diaper."  He shrugged it off and went down the hall to clean up.  I have to say, that even in the middle of things, I appreciate his nonchalance.  

Finally, everyone was in pajamas and cuddled on my lap in the big red chair for books.  This is often my favorite part because I love a good story.  Also, once a theatre major, always a theatre major and so I have to admit it's nice to let my inner thespian run if only over the pages of "Go Dog, Go."  Tonight's selection, however, was a double dud.  No stories, just a counting book and a Spanish words board book.  I counted thirty oddly drawn monsters and rolled all the Rs in words taking us from La Cochina to El Bano and beyond and the kids listened.  The selective power of the child's ear is amazing to me.  They sit rapt while I count "two whiskers, three warts, four lumps..." but try to tell them how the moon rises or ask them to stop banging the wooden hammer against the French doors and I might as well be speaking another language.  

At any rate, you're probably wondering what got me to the last straw.  I'm wondering that too because now that they are asleep and breathing softly down the hall, I miss them.  
"Say your prayers and you die..." Theo shouted.  And I, in my best authoritarian Mom voice said, "That is inappropriate."  He's flinging action movie jargon my way and all I can come back with is a bit of flustered librarian speak.  It's troubling to hear this kind of strange threatening language come out of my boy and as much as I know he's testing out the power of these words, it's hard not to become hurt and worried.  Violence is out there and its power is undeniable.  It is my job to accept this and help my son find the way through it to peace.   

1 comment:

Jules said...

Here's one of my favorite phrases in this piece: "road to the pajama drawer was paved with a thousand distractions" and then it gets better as it develops.
Bravo! Encore!