Susan's Blog

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Our small silent breakfast was rocked a bit by Nat this morning. Perched precariously on that precipice, he nearly fell in, but somehow, he hung on, getting to shouting and jumping, but no biting himself. “Laundry, do the laundry,” he was saying, so upset, over and over, “Mommy will do laundry,” which he had started talking about last night the moment we arrived home from our Christmas in New Hampshire. Then, I went upstairs to look in the hampers, and he followed. “Unpack bag, put away pants,” Nat instructed me. I did all that, and even lugged a full Mahogany laundry basket all the way down to the basement to start a wash — at 10pm. Illicit accommodating, this is called, or something like that. What it means is that if you give into this thing, you are teaching your kid that he can bully you and panic you into letting him misbehave.

Yes, yes, but who wants an explosive tantrum at 10pm or 8am? Also, Ben was on his feet, completely at the ready. I went back in time, to my ghost of Christmas past, all those days before Nat moved out, when Ben would run to do whatever it was Nat was screaming about, just to calm him down. A total codependency, where Ben — and we– were Nat’s slave. Ben had lived in perpetual fear and dread.

This is not what I wanted. But this morning, hearing the call to launder, along with the jumping and voice-cracking-near-screaming, I said, “Okay, okay, I’m doing a wash now.”

“No laundry. Disney on Ice. Heeeeeahh eggs.”

Oh, jeez. He didn’t know what was bothering him. He was also telling me that he wanted me to eat eggs for breakfast. His getting up in arms about other people’s routines is not a good sign. Time to revert to the reciting of schedules, to organize, to use a neutral tone of voice, to de-escalate. Forget my own feelings of tiredness, my hunger, my yearning to breathe caffeine.

“Heeeahhh eggs. Heeeahh ice.”

“I’m having cereal,” I said, momentarily considering making eggs. “I’m going to do the laundry, and then take you to Social Group so you can go see Disney on Ice. Okay Nat? Okay?”


“But you have to be calm,” Ned added.

Started a wash — neglected to shut the machine door (a front-loader), which meant that later I would discover that all the soap went in but no wash had been done, a story for another day — and then made oatmeal for Ned and me. Nat was stomping in not a joyful house way at all. I was so irritated with him. “Okay, Nat, let’s go.”

Drove over to the drop-off place and got there 15 minutes early. Ick. Sat in the car with the motor running all that time. Finally I called Ned and he checked with the group and it turned out that the outing was to start at 12:15, not 9:30. Sigh. The long litany of logical explanation. “Nat, I made a mistake. Disney on Ice is later. After lunch. We have to go home.” Wait for it, wait for it…


Whew. So we started driving home. I was amazed at how quiet Nat was, self-talking back to normal. As we got closer to one of my favorite Starbucks I imagined taking Nat in there. I imagined his large movement, his head-turning chatter. I sat with that picture a few moments, turning it over, looking at it from all angles: the others, the drinks we’d order, would we get seats, would Nat plop down among strangers, leaving me standing far away, and most of all: was I up for it?

Sure, I was. I wanted that damned cappuccino; I hadn’t had my usual 3 cups because of the laundry. Besides, what was I so worried about? “Nat, want to go to Starbucks?”


So we went to Starbucks, Nat was happy and terrific, smiles from those all around us who either were happy themselves or just enchanted with my darling.

Got home and before getting myself ready for the gym, I went into Nat’s room to straighten. I wanted to close his dresser drawers. Looked into the pants drawer: totally empty. Ah, I thought. It is time to do the laundry, after all.


Hopefully, the rest of the day went smoother. Hugs.

— added by farmwifetwo on Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Thanks, FarmWife!! It did, indeed. Today is even better; making a gingerbread house is an excellent motivation for the best possible behavior.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Did everyone help?? I couldn't get the 8yr old to do much but it was still wonderful for the elder (10) to call his friend early last week and invite her over. It was our first gingerbread house and a great afternoon.

— added by farmwifetwo on Monday, December 28, 2009 at 7:12 am

Everyone helped! I will post pictures sometime today, I hope! I am standing right next to it at this very moment and it is just so amazing.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, December 28, 2009 at 7:32 am

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