Lets back thing up to when we were at our old house and Alex was about four. He was out riding his big-wheel and I was sitting outside with him, just watching him go up and down the driveway. He never ventured too far out of range. Just up and down the drive. We used to live on a dead end street, our street joining up with the main road, one house up. For whatever reason, that day he decided to see what was up there. I watched him first out of curiosity, then in fear.
He wasn't going to stop at the intersection. I knew it. I could feel it. I started running after him, screaming his name, telling him to stop. Please stop.
He didn't. He was oblivious. Having the time of his life.
I often joke that Alex is in his own little 'bubble' and when he deems it necessary, he lets us join in his world. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I got up next to him, grabbed the big-wheel and started yelling at him. And I'll tell you right now I'm not proud of what came out of my mouth or this particular moment but for old times sake here it is: "I said STOP, why didn't you stop? You scared the life out of me! Why didn't you stop??" I was crying at this point.
He looked at me, cocked his head off to the side a little and said, "Mom, you did not tell me what to stop." Curiosity was written all over his face. I didn't tell him what to stop, seriously? Seriously?? I was so mad I think for a few seconds I think I saw stars.
I grabbed his arm and yelled, "If I tell you to stop, Gawd Dammit YOU STOP." I went on like this for a few more minutes but mid-way through my rant a few things clicked in my brain. Alex was looking at me while I was yelling but he wasn't seeing me. He didn't see my anger, fear, frustration. He didn't hear my anxiety, the pitch of my voice, the fear in it. None of it. I was a blank slate to him.
It hit me like a ton of bricks---he can't read my face or hear my voice. He can't process me. He can't read me. That night I think I drank heavily.
|So it's not the big-wheel but you get the idea, right?|
I could go on and on about all the time's I've felt like a horrible mother (and yes this was one of those times) and how I've struggled. But I won't. I could fill this whole page and then some and it'll get us nowhere.
Let's just say I've learned a lot since then. I'm still learning. But I do know yelling's out. Totally worthless as a matter of fact. And now when I want something from him I'm horribly, horribly specific. I now say: Alex, please turn off your I-Touch or I will take it away in one minute.