It all started wih Lego KidsFest. Fuckin’ Lego Fest, my ass.
I have been bribing the Medium Male in the house for months. I already told you how he has this rationale that he can simply pass all of his subjects simply by showing up for tests without doing homework. He just scores that well on his tests. So his therapist and I concocted this plan. Somehow, someway, I had to get Evan interested in doing homework. We had to find what motivates him and exploit the shit out of it. She helped me come up with the token system. For each day Evan came home and did homework without meltdowns, he could earn up to two tokens. I actually agreed to give him $5 for every token he earned to be spent in the store inside of Lego Fest. Because they were coming from the actual company, I knew they would have some seriously cool stuff that he can’t find in Toys’R’Us or Wal-Mart, and that he would want said stuff. Come hell or high water, I was going to motivate this kid to do homework. His therapist actually calculated and he had the potential to earn up to $560 to spend on fucking Legos. She kind of looked at me as if I were the one needing therapy, but whatevs. I am that desperate to end the fucking homework drama. Plus, in the back of my mind, I never thought for a second that this shit would work.
We made a big production of the token system. We went to the store that night and picked out a special jar. I let him pick out what we were going to use as tokens, and he picked those glass beads you use in floral arrangements. We bought a calendar for him to use to count down and track his progress. We even made a label for the jar on the computer. Well, Evan did. He called it the “Evan Did A Good Job Jar”. Except it really says “Evan Did Good Job Jar”. And I held to my word. He earned…….wait for it…….$45. Forty-fucking-five out five hundred and sixty. See, I told you. And then he got desperate, and we caught him shoveling handfuls of tokens into the jar one night, as if I was dumb enough to not keep track of how much money I would have to ultimately spend. So he had $45. If you know anything about Legos, you cannot buy shit for $45.
Two nights before the big event, I had to get some groceries. We all went to the store. Evan wanted his $45. No way. I know how this works. I’ve been to this show before and I know how it ends. I give him the $45 and tell him that’s it, not to cry at Lego Fest because I am not giving him anymore money if he spends it now. It doesn’t work because he will have a meltdown, and in order to prevent the calling of social services, I eventually give in. He gets what he wants. But this time, I am resolute. I am NOT DOING IT!
I get my groceries while trying to keep Zachy calm, as it is a little late for him and he’s fussy. We “Oh, Oh, OHYEAH” our way through the store with a nonverbal toddler who is on the verge of his own meltdown around every corner because he wants something and there are so many things to want that we cannot tell what it is. I get to the checkout and for some reason, my bill is about $150 more than I thought I had spent. I paid it, but was seriously perplexed. I spend about $250 in groceries every two weeks, unless it’s diaper-buying week and then it is around $300. Since there were no cases of Pampers or wipes in the cart, why was my bill $408.63?????
So we get to the car, and I am doing my usual of glancing in each bag before loading it in the car. I try to keep the cold stuff easily recognizable because, with my two kids, you may not get an entire trunkful unloaded at once and have to pick your priorities. And as I am doing this, I start seeing the most random……shit.
An economy pack of toothbrushes–ten fucking toothbrushes.
Those Rubbery bath squirter toys for babies.
A couple of paperback books. One was a Harlequin romance-type, which, hey, is really not my style.
A toy truck.
A bath loofah.
Women’s El-Cheapo body spray that has nothing on the Versace shit I use–I’m a high-class bitch, y’all.
The list goes on, but I see what happened. We gather as much of it as we can find as we are loading the groceries, and John heads back into the store with the receipt to explain what happened and get my money back. We managed to recover $95 of it. Which is when it happens. Evan melts down. And I mean MELTS DOWN!
He locks me out of the car. He starts screaming and flailing arms and legs, elbows and knobby knees. Thankfully Zach wasn’t in the car, as John had sensed what was going to happen and took him back in the store with him. So Evan is kicking up HELL, smashed a dozen eggs with his fists on purpose, was punching the glass and kicking my seats as hard as he could. (Incidentally, thank you to Dodge for making a car that doesn’t easily destruct on the inside–the designer must have a kid with issues!) He gets out, gets back in just so he can slam the doors. He gets out and runs, totally barefooted through the parking lot, yelling that I am abusive and he is going to walk home. He must not have liked the dark or the feeling of his bare feet on concrete, so he runs back and gets back in. tries to lock me out again. 3 sets of people…..THREE….stop me to see if I need help. All I can do at this point is hold up my cell and my little remote car-unlocker thingy to signify that I can get in my car and am just choosing not to at the moment, as I suck the living hell out of a Marlboro Ultralight. (yeah, I know I shouldn’t smoke, but as an RT, my foolish decision was at least an educated one, and now is not the time to deprive me of that damned cigarette. I wasn’tinthe car smoking it.) As many more people asked me if I needed them to call the police for me. other than that, everyone else was just staring in the direction of my car as the screams carried across the parking lot.
No, I do not need you to call the police for me. I need you to turn your head while I fuck this kid up. I don’t want to be on the news tomorrow: “Health Care Professional Beats Child in Wal-Mart Parking Lot”. No, not really. I would never do that. But God, how I wanted to at that moment. And I could be angry that they didn’t see that this was not just a run-of-the-mill tantrum and be angry that they thought that this was a proper suggestion. In truth, I had thought the same thing. After 15 minutes of this, I was checking my pocket to make sure my phone was outside of the car in case I had to call the police. And by the way, where the fuck was John? Wal-Mart people, you seriously need to do something about the wait time in your lines.
Do you know what it is like to think you may have to call the police to protect you from your own ten-year-old kid? To protect him from himself?
Well, let me tell you, if I can. Because this is me and we all know I am going to tell you. It is pretty sucky. In the time the thought is going through your mind, what you feel is a barrage of emotions. Regret that you ever procreated, mixed with fierce love and desperation that there has got to be something you can do to fix your kid. Sheer loathing for your own life mixed with gratitude that it is you who has to do this because another parent would have probably killed him by now. Angst. Utter and complete angst. Reluctance, as in, can I really start this ball rolling? Fear. For him, for you, for the innocent person he would hurt if they got in his path at that moment. Knowing it will probably do him some good, but unable to handle it yourself. Embarrassment that it is possible that you did something wrong and maybe it is your fault, and what fucking parent needs law enforcement to step in? And so you keep a death grip on your phone, knowing it is there, and maybe if you wait it out one more minute, one more second, the fit will be over and he will just be your baby again. But if he doesn’t, the phone is still there, right in your hand. Just in case. Just in case.
The turmoil stopped. We went home. Evan, acting as if nothing had ever happened, asked if he could get on the computer to play a game. All I could do was look at him through tired eyes and tell him no, that he had to get a bath and go to bed. To which his response was to do just that without fight.
As we unloaded the groceries, we found even more of his stuff. Women’s deodorant. Toddler toothpaste. Kitchen sponges.
John actually cracked up when he found the last item. A trial-size pack of Tampax Pearl tampons. Regular.
Hey, Evan. I’ve had two kids. At least next time, get the Supers.