Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Fired for Sure
"I. Need. To. Sleep!" growl-shouts Jacob when I go to wake him up this morning at O-dark-hundred. It's hard to get back on track after three day weekends, after school vacations - scheduled or unintentional like the week he just had off for Hurricane Sandy. But he's never been like this.
The whole morning, getting ready for school is filled with Jacob growling and sobbing and angry-crying and clenching his jaw, grit-grinding his teeth, overwhelmed by waves of frustration.
Besides this, his begging for more sleep, he is also demanding "My. Skittles!" a holdover from our struggles yesterday to curb the upwards spiraling trend of candy consumption in our house, engendered by the one-two punch of Halloween and hurricane.
"I'll get fired for sure!" he wails, his latest script - culled from Sponge-Bob - in response to any admonition I make, no matter how gentle.
Me: "Jake, please keep it down, everyone else is still sleeping. I know you're unhappy but you can't scream at 6 AM."
Jake: "Oh, no, I'll get fired for sure!" (cue sobbing)
And I am also pretty sure he doesn't know what "fired" means, afraid he has conflated it with the idea of things catching on literal fire - a frequent of occurrence on Sponge-Bob - and is somehow terrified of becoming actually torched, set aflame for his wrongdoings.
I repeat over and over that "being fired" means losing your job, and he doesn't have a job; that his only job is being my kid and he can never get fired from that. But I can see in his eyes it's just words washing over him, none of it sinking in. A conflagration of misunderstanding sweeping over all.
It breaks my heart when he is this unhappy. Shattered into a million glittery pieces. It breaks my heart that I get angry and frustrated with him, too, at these moments, watching the clock tick away knowing I have only so many minutes to get him dressed and fed, medicated and jacketed and downstairs, ready for the bus. Legally, they are allowed to wait for 3 minutes, and then they are required to speed off.
So I alternately scold and cajole, hug and hustle and DO get the kid on. the. damn. bus.
And then after waving goodbye to my boy, still alternately crying and grimace-grinding, I come back inside to pick up the heart shards. And they cut deep, so deeply; yet another set of guilt lines, criss-crossing my invisibly battle-scarred arms.