Sunday, October 23, 2005

an irrational season

“I wan’ a penny, Momma. I wan’ a penny…” Running late already because of his fit leaving the house, I am not charmed by his whiney, demanding voice this morning. Somewhat impatiently, I glance down at the empty space between the front seats where the stray pennies often gravitate. Rustling the residential protein bar wrappers around, I calmly reply, “I don’t have any pennies, buddy. Sorry.”

“NOOOO!!! You DO have pennies, Momma! You DO have pennies!!!” Little legs begin to thrash up and down through the opening in his car seat. The banging this creates jars my already full-blown headache. “You DO have pennies, Momma!” I reiterate our pennilessness, to no avail. His volume increases as his pitch rises, now in full-throttle fit mode. Somehow he manages the formation of tears, though I am unmoved by them in my incredulity. “Buddy! We don’t HAVE any pennies! They are ALL GONE. I’m sorry, buddy. But you need to CALM DOWN.”

I do my best to heed my own urging. Taking a deep breath, I turn up the radio to drown out the continued insistence from the back seat that there are indeed pennies to be had. My husband claims this only makes matters worse—simply layering noise on top of more noise. Considering that the nearly-continual screaming of our children for the last, let’s say, oh, six-and-a-half years has never really bothered his disgusting, unshakeable soul, I disregard his reminder playing in my head and give the dial another twist. “You DO have pennies, Momma! You DO!” That whine will cut through anything.

I wrack my brain trying to determine when this began—this completely irrational you-say-it’s-black-I-say-it’s-white phenomenon. A week ago, maybe two? Last night it was the assertion that he’d brought both rubber snakes in the car when he’d indeed only brought one. The day before was the declaration that Daddy was coming home for lunch. Screaming. Crying. Kicking. Flailing. I rub my temples, cursing the change in weather, and fight the often-present urge to panic. I do not have to have all the answers.

A literal full five minutes later, the pennies are finally forgotten. I turn the radio back to its normal level of too-loudness and point out the blaze of color along the freeway, thanking my son for calming down as nonchalantly as I can pull off. Internally, I breathe a momentary sigh of relief before the edge of fear returns. When will the next blow-out occur? Getting out of the car? Getting back in? Over lunch? Before nap? After? All of the above? Some days, I can handle it. Indeed, some days, I can handle anything. Then, there are days like today…

Maybe it’s the headache. Maybe it’s PMS. Maybe it’s my own irrationality that insists parenting should be formulaic and predictable. Or my own desire to lie down on the floor, kicking and screaming, and let the whole world know that I am not pleased with the current turn of events. Or my own insistence that if I believe it, it IS true, regardless of any and all argument to the contrary.

Curse this change of weather. The ushering in of a new season always makes my head hurt…

1 comment:

Beth said...


The real question is "When does this irrationality stop?" I have had similar conversations with Abby who is almost 8!

Reason why you're a better parent than I: I would have been most DESPERATELY searching my purse for a penny, anything to make it quiet.

Weird question -- did you leave an anon comment on my blog? You usually sign your name. I ask this only because I have an anon comment. Do you know that people can actually READ what you've written?!

Hang in there.