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  • Little Houdini, Part 2

    4 posts, 3 voices, 450 views, started Oct 18, 2008

    Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2008 by Feathermaye

    •  



    • Carnelian
      Offline

      1992  

      Dear Neighbor,  

      My two-year old son was brought home by the police this morning. I know that you're already aware of this—I just wanted to get it right out into the open.  

      I appreciate that you kept your snide comments to yourself as you leaned out over your balcony and openly stared at what was taking place outside my apartment, although the rolling of your eyes pretty much said it all. And has been saying it, for the better part of the last three months.  

      I know you’ve heard my kid in the middle of the night, pitching a fit that’s loud enough to shake my ceiling/your floor, and I’m sure you’ve convinced yourself that I beat him on a semi-regular basis to warrant these outbursts.  

      I know that when you see me and my son headed toward the playground you feel compelled to gather your little angels close to you and hurry everyone home for a surprise snack, or some unscheduled movie time. I appreciate your polite nod as you walk briskly away, but really wish you’d not even bother.  

      I forgive you your judgments of me and my child; I forgive you your closed-minded approach to parenting, and your inability to recognize that not everybody has been blessed with children who naturally respond to boundaries, and structure, and love. Even though I hate the way you make me feel, I forgive you for all the things you think you know.  

      What you don’t know, and probably never will, is that I am at a loss in dealing with a child I don’t understand. Just five short years ago I imagined myself with a houseful of children, and all the noise and bluster and commotion that would come with such a brood. Even as a teenager, I pictured my future self as a wonderful mother with lots of innate skills and a desire to learn and grow with my children.  

      That’s what I wanted, until I had Jonathan.  

      My toddler, in spite of what you think you know about him, is not an unhappy child. I don’t doubt for a minute that the rest of the world views him as desperate for escape from... well, from me, I guess. There are moments, times when things are so out of control, that I might agree with the rest of the world but, at the end of the day, when I cry myself to sleep out of frustration and exhaustion, I know in my heart I’m doing the best I can.  

      My son hugs me and kisses me and says, “I lub you, Mommy” often enough to make me believe he understands what those words and actions mean (at least as much as a precocious two-year old can). And I love my son fiercely and with a depth I never imagined. But that doesn’t make us perfect, and that doesn’t always mean that I like the child he is.  

      But I don’t beat him, and I never will for his entire life. He will receive some well-deserved spankings from time-to-time, but will even quickly become too big for those to be more than token gestures. I don’t curse him, or scream at him, or even blame him for where we are right now. My life is what it is, and I just wish I could live it without the shame you seem intent to inflict upon me.  

      When the police officers left this morning, I immediately went to the hardware store and bought 2 dozen thumb-bolts for the windows and sliding glass doors. Then, Jonathan and I sat down and made “NO” signs with construction paper and a black magic marker. He thought it was all good fun, shopping and arts and crafts. By the time the project was over, he recognized the written version of the word “NO” with the same familiarity as the spoken version. It is a word he has heard a lot.  

      We put the thumb-bolts on the window frames and the signs on the doors and windows leading into (and out of) our apartment. I even put a sliding chain lock on our front door, and then challenged him to “get it“. It was several hours later, as I was attempting a quiet moment in the living room, that he dragged a dining room chair to the front door and announced “Jon-Jon get it! Jon-Jon get it.” And he did. He so loves a challenge, does my son. Tomorrow I will replace the slide chain with a locking one, and I will wear the only key around my neck.  

      A week from today, though, he will escape the confines of our apartment again (one loose thumb-bolt on the window behind his dresser will be my downfall), and the police will return again, this time with Child Protective Services and warnings of serious action. And they will speak with you, and you will be confident in the things you have to say.  

      But, know this: I will not lose my son! I will resort to drastic measures before I will allow that to happen. I may not appreciate the responsibility the universe has laid upon my lap, but I will not go down without a fight. Not for you; not for anybody.  

      Sincerely,  

      Jonathan’s Mom



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Coachmombabe wrote Oct 18, 2008
        • Feathermaye, you are amazing! I had a houdini too! Jesse was brought home by a friend after a 45 minute walk to her house to play with the gameboy her 12 year old son owned. (I had my hand on the phone to call the police after searching the neightborhood when she pulled up). Jesse wasn't quite yet 4. big sigh Sometimes I cannot believe we
          survived his childhood. In this case, however, it was Mom who had the "special needs". People may judge, but they just don't know!

          I will keep you (and little Jonathan) in my prayers!



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Feathermaye wrote Oct 18, 2008
        • coachmombabe, I read on the other thread that you caught that this was quite some time ago. I appreciate your prayers nonetheless!

          This was really just the beginning of the challenges Jonathan presented. But, as you’ve now read, he turned 18 this week so we obviously survived this, and more!

          The past six months or so, I’ve been inspired to start compiling the stories of my and Jonathan’s experiences together, and how hard the rest of the world was on us through it all. It’s been very cathartic for me, especially as I have to relinquish the control I struggled to maintain for so long.

          Thanks so much for taking the time to read. And there’s comfort in knowing in my heart (although my head always assumed it to be the case) that I’m not (and wasn’t) alone in my rough spots.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Coachmombabe wrote Oct 18, 2008
        • Yeah, too bad we couldn’t have known each other then! But we do now. And it’s never too late to encourage one another! Our Jesse is 22, married with 3 children. Long story. Still a lot others can judge. But oh, well! We still love them, don’t we? I can’t wait to read your stories, please keep sharing!



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