Susan's Blog

Monday, October 9, 2006

The Good Mother


Today I have been a good mother. It feels like it has been a while. I hate that. Why is it so hard for me to suspend my stuff and transition to the kids? What is the block to just sitting down with them, or putting them in the car and going somewhere with them? I still do not understand that. I am very dismayed that it still happens to me, after all these years. Maybe it is because Ben doesn’t like going places like out to a park, on bikes, the beach, or malls (unless there is a Lego store). Nat doesn’t say where he wants to go, but I cannot honestly say it is because of Nat having a potential tantrum; it’s been so long since he has been difficult in public. But maybe it is partly that, because it doesn’t take much to make someone gun-shy. The only time I saw Nat showing an interest was when I bought him a pair of professional cleats for his soccer practice from this buying guide at as even my younger brother who is a coach for an ivy league high school team uses the same site to compare and buy his cleats.

I believe my reticence is deeper than just Ben’s intransigence or autism-tantrum malaise. I think this is an issue of existential inertia, whereby I can’t seem to move myself out into the world, even when out in the world is a better place, psychologically or geographically, than where I am. (My dad would call it the Roman phenomenon of “Sittus on Fattus Buttocks.”)

Also, there’s the physical explanation: I was away for an overnight in Ohio and slept poorly for three nights in a row. Last night was the first night I slept really well. So I felt bouncy today. I felt like I knew how to keep moving, what to do with myself. I did some vacuuming, straightened up the house, washed bath towels, returned something for Max, sewed a hole in a slipcover, unclogged a toilet, watered and groomed indoor plants, and shopped for food. I felt really good just getting all that done.

Then I sat down on my windowseat and Ben showed me his latest comic he had drawn: The Egg Man. It is about an egg and what happens to him. It is told in the first person, and the egg man is not a happy being, because, of course, he gets eaten in the end. It is beautifully drawn, funny, and sad. Oh, Benj.

Then I took Ben and Nat to McDonalds, a common denominator, (Max was out, on Newbury Street, with one of his girlfriends; yes, he has around three at this point!) and we enjoyed our junk food. I dragged them into a shoe store with me (I desperately need to get knee-high, high-heel black leather boots to tuck my new skinny jeans into, and ballet flats for belly dancing). Mistake! They hate those kind of stores. Nat behaved great; Ben was atrocious.

Onto the toy store. Nat wandered while Ben selected a small Lego kit he had saved up for. I made Nat choose a tactile toy to buy, and we went home. We decided to go see the new track, which has been redone and the new NFL fake grass they’ve put in, but there was a football game going on so we couldn’t park.

Back home, we started to take off our shoes and unwind again, and Nat picked up a book that he really wanted to look at with me. He could see that it said “Special Olympics” on the cover and he was very eager to see it. It is Roger Corman’s photographic essay book called I Am Proud, and Tim Shriver lent it to me. Nat loved it! Page after page of swimmers, runners, soccer players!

Then my friend Lori knocked on the door. She and Andy were going to a nearby farm to see the frogs and pumpkins. So we went along. They had huge pumpkins there, misshapen and glorious ones that had to be almost three feet in diameter. Pimply squash, poxy gourds in so many colors! We saw the frogs, and watched a yellow Labrador Retriever jump into the pond, and then stood back while he shook himself off. The sun was blazing hot. We needed a drink, so we went into the market to get water. I bought the boys chocolate pumpkins, fudge, and candy apples, as well as corn for a cook-out tonight.

Ben was not happy with his apple (of course!) because the candy was gooey, not hard like a red lollipop (I secretly agreed. I think candy apples should only be the hard red candy kind.) Plus they had coconut on the outside. But Nat just quietly and voraciously chewed it up and then sucked down his water.

Then home, and rest. The therapist is coming to work with Nat soon. Ben is now watching cartoons, but I think it’s okay. We did a lot, for us.


Thank you, you have inspired me! Ditto, inertia is also my foe. Time to pile everyone in the van and check out the new skateboard park. No skaters in the family but it is positively transfixing to watch the show–actually the trick bikes are my fave–two revolutions in the air after coming up the steep sides of the “bowl”! Can I get my teenager with P.D.D. to come though?

— added by Anonymous on Monday, October 9, 2006 at 5:53 pm

you should write an illustrated book with ben!

— added by Doris on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 8:19 am

You’re such a great and busy Mom, and the pace will pick up when it comes time for prom!

— added by Someone Said on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Guy –
I’m not going to the prom.
Unless you’re inviting me, and I can wear my pink dress.

— added by Susan Senator on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 1:31 pm

I haven’t been able to take my kids out in about 2 1/2 months, and I’m so scared that inertia will keep me from doing it even when I can. (I need to be able to pick up and haul off any one of them if necessary, and the only one I can pick up now is my littlest, lightest, my sweet butterfly of a daughter…. Maybe I ought to take her to the grocery store tomorrow, just to start easing back into the habit.)

— added by Julia on Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 11:25 pm

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