My son can’t get a hold of himself when he’s hungry. He’s long and lean and clearly in the middle of a growth spurt. He’s gangly and lopsided and when he smiles it’s like the sun focused all it’s warmth on just your face and it’s about to penetrate your soul.
When my son smiles with his whole face, I melt. So does Robert.
But as Alexander is growing, and stretching in physical and emotional ways he flops himself into my car at the end of the day. “How was school?” I ask my daughter, “nice,” she smiles and has more details for me. Alexander comes crashing into the backseat craving food and attention and an outlet and a voice. Shrilly he asks, “Where’s my snack?”
Because I know that in the last few hours of the day Alexander is holding on by a thread. He’s hungry and tired and (if he’s anything like his mother) he’s thinking what do these fuck-tards want with me. Don’t they realize I already know that? And he’s just so hungry for more things than I can have for him. There’s fizzy pomegranate juice at the helm with some really lumpy sumptuous breads. He can slurp down one or tear at the other with his wobbly wonky teeth. Or perhaps he needs some comforting and we’ll get a Frozen Yogurt on a hot day or a cup of tea on a cold one. I put a lot into snack selection. It’s like love jammed into a sack.
His needs are there, all ready to be met. I’m a bundle of nerves, not becuase my son scares me but because I want to give him opportunities to succeed. With all that said, I’m unwilling to turn either child into a Sissie.
And where’s the line for that?
So I breathlessly provide snacks that should get us home where he can continue to gorge on an afternoon snack and try to bring it all into focus. So long as his attitude is within acceptable parameters his needs will be met.
And then it all goes haywire.
Somewhere in this feeding frenzy I’d forgotten that I’d promised him a Trader Joes Organic Pizza. Not really a big deal, 9 minutes in the oven.. but it’s a big deal for a hungry growing 7 year old who has kept every emotion contained for 8 long hours.
It’s all too much and there’s an explosion. Waterworks and crying and, “Make me a pizza Mom, you promised.”
Now I can’t make him a pizza or he’ll turn into one of those kids. I’m fighting my son over a fucking pizza. I don’t even want to have this fight, but my husband will find out and he’ll know I contributed to the making of a bratty kid (we’d rather have special needs than OOOH You’re so special~) so now I have to watch my son cry and not feed him. I want to feed my kid. He’s hungry, he’s worked hard all day and he deserves food.
If I cave he’ll turn into an unlikeable pill who will have been trained that every want and need will be met if only he pitches a fit. But, oh, it would be so much easier to raise that child.
“Alexander.” I begin, “I love you very much and when you’re ready to ask nicely, I’m ready to say yes.”
Moan, “I hate Chinese food” is his only reply. “Right, but if you have a question for me I can probably help you. Mommy is always on your team.” (does he remember nothing?)
His head is still down on the table and he’s sent up to his room. A piece of me dies sending a hungry child upstairs to learn a lesson. I chew my food, thinking it’s void of any texture, flavor or nutrition. I know that food feeds more than my cells.
We eat nicely, he sulks and makes his way down to the table ten minutes later. “Mommy will you please make me a pizza.”
“Sure, thanks for asking so nicely.” And I put the pizza in the oven for 9 minutes.
Inside the nine minutes he wipes out the Orange Chicken, Shrimp Lo Mein and my brown rice. There’s never a moment wherein I question my love for my son.
It’s just that the discipline isn’t teaching him a fucking thing, and it’s leaving me eating Trader Joes Pizza that was likely taste tested by 6 year olds and 85 year olds. You know the demographic, low on functioning teeth and they like it bland.