I took my sons to my favorite coffee shop today, the Starlight Cafe. I had to meet someone next door to it, and the cafe is very kid-friendly (thank you Carri!), so I thought it would be fun to pop in and chill for a while with some juice and cookies.
I knew Ethan was tired. I should have known better than to interrupt him.
To back up a bit, I ran into my friend Bunny and her fella there, so we sat together while my boys played with the toys Carri keeps for just such occasions. A family with three well-behaved (which means probably spanked with a belt, but I’m only guessing) children sat in a booth eying my kids uneasily, or judgmentally. At least, that’s what I imagined in my never-feel-like-I’m-a-good-enough-parent brain.
I should say, it was the parents who looked uneasy. The children just looked jealous.
So when Ethan accidentally dumped the Othello game on the floor, I used every patient cell in my body (which is to say, not many) to go help him pick up the pieces and make myself look like the sweet, patient, in-control Mommy that I wish I were. He wanted to play the game with me, but first he needed to put those pieces right where they belong, in the nice channels in the board intended for those little black and white circles. I helped. The baby B helped. Unfortunately, Beckett’s help was more like removal and throwing, so it was taking forever.
Somewhere in there, the patient cells in me died and were replaced by newer, hurry-the-frig-up cells.
So I started walking away with the game while the pieces were still in disarray. Thus commenceth the screaming. The OCD gene will not be silenced!
When I knelt down in front of Ethan, and under the smug glare of the sweet angel child parents, to tell him he could not scream – he punched me.
And I do mean punched.
Knowing what would come, and in this new “trying to be firm no matter what kind of scene it causes” persona, I said, “Time to go,” and picked him up. That’s when he grabbed a handfull of face with his ragged, sharp fingernails. That bit of face included the eye that yesterday was hit at close range with a Bee Story toy.
My new friend, Bunny, looked on. I avoided eye contact. With anyone. Mostly because my vision was a little fuzzy.
Bleeding, and trying to avoid being more seriously injured by this child I had in what I affectionately refer to as “the autistic kid is gonna kick my ass hold”, I finally looked at Bunny in embarrassment.
“Now you know where I get my material,” I said.