Monday, October 17, 2011

See, this is why birthdays aren't all rainbows and ponies.

Oh my frigging Lord.  It was Alex's birthday Saturday.  And in his mind that meant the sun was going to rise and set with him and he was master of our little universe.  We've been working up to this most holiest of holy days since last week and I knew, just knew, it was going to go pear-shaped.

And it did.  Let's work backwards, shall we???

Thursday:  He wanted brownies for his birthday treat at school.  Not store bought, had to be home-made by mom.  Check.  Brownies made and delivered.

Friday:  He wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Also had to be home-made.  Check.  Spent all day making the damn thing and all day the day before making the damn brownies but check.  I made them.  And not to be outdone, Lizzy wanted a WHITE cake.  Homemade.  And I made that and checked it of my list too.

Friday:  He wanted a bouncy house.  Yeah.  A full fledged bouncy house that's like 50 by 100 feet and needs a small generator to run.  Um, yeah.  No.

But then the requests got more and more elaborate.

"I want to eat Pho for dinner."  Pho is this Vietnamese soup that takes like four hours to make.  Read: its a total pain in the ass.

"And then I want Spring Rolls too."  The spring rolls take an additional three hours to make.  Read: an even bigger pain in the ass.

Seeing how it was the day before his birthday and I needed to go to the Asian store to get all the supplies I was starting to get a little short of breath.  There was not enough time.

"And I want to go to Power Play in the afternoon."  Power Play is a kids zone that has bouncy houses and other stuff like shoot-em-up games, mini-roller coasters and a pizza place.

"And I want to go to Tae Kwon Do in the morning."

"And can I open a present now?"

"No, you may not open a present.  It's not your birthday yet.  We need to talk about how all of this is going to play out tomorrow hon, I'm not sure we can do ALL the stuff you want in one day.  Maybe we can eat something else for dinner?"

And then it happened.  Pear-shaped.  He had a huge meltdown Friday night.  I had hoped that Saturday would be a new day and his bad temper would pass.  It did not.

Saturday he woke up saying:  "It's my birthday.  I WANT PHO FOR DINNER.  If I can't then fine, FINE.  I'm going to take all the decorations down and NOT HAVE MY BIRTHDAY.  IF I CAN'T HAVE ANY FUN THEN NO-ONE ELSE WILL HAVE ANY FUN EITHER.  No-one else is going to have fun on MY birthday.  IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!  ARGGGG!!!"

And all the screaming, crying, yelling, hitting, kicking, stomping and banging ensued.  Along with all the streamers and other party decorations being un-ceremoniously yanked off the walls and torn to bits.  BITS.

And that right there is why we have every dresser, bookshelf and large object bolted to the walls in our house.  Had they not been secured, they would have come crashing down.  I am sure of it.

Its amazing how strong a newly minted eight year old can be.

Anyway, I'm not proud to say this but here it is: I snapped.

I yelled back at him something along the lines of, "I know its your birthday.  I get it.  But there are other people in this family.  Our world does not revolve around you.  You want to have a bad day?  Then FINE, have a bad day.  You want ME to have a bad day?  Well FINE, I'm having a bad day.  I'M HAVING SUCH A BAD DAY, I'M LEAVING.  LEAVING.  Your plan to have a bad day worked.  IT WORKED.  Are you happy now???"

And with that, I left.  Left him standing there in total shock, crying and not understanding anything other than I had snapped like a twig on his birthday.

I went for a run.  I damn near killed myself but I ran.  Ran from everything in the house.  Ran from him.  Ran from Autism and ran from everything that I wanted for him that didn't happen.  And most of all, I ran from myself.  Ran from my shitty temper, my anger and my own expectations I had for the day.  I ran.

And then I came back.

And we went to Tae Kwon Do.

And we went to Power Play.  We ate their horrible pizza, minus the cheese, with sauce on the side.

And we bounced in the bouncy house till I thought we were going to see the pizza again.

And OH MY GOD, they have Wheel of Fortune.  THEY HAVE WHEEL OF FORTUNE!!!


And we had Pho.  And cake.  And presents.  No spring rolls though.  I know he knows we didn't have them but he didn't say anything.

And at the end of the day, the sun and moon did rise and set with my little boy, in our little universe.

Happy Birthday little one.

Happy Birthday.



  1. Yikes. Maybe I shouldn't be in such a hurry for A. to talk. Just kidding. :) You're a good mommy! Happy birthday, Alex!

  2. I'm exhausted....but still have room for that chocolate cake. :-)

  3. I've had those meltdowns. It's a good thing the missus steps in.

    I want pho and springrolls too. I've never had pho, but I think i'd like it. Can you email pho and springrolls?

  4. are the best! The route was a little rocky, but in the end, you are the best mommy! Kudos for knowing when to run, and how to find your way back.

  5. oh what a day!! Don't feel too badly. We all snap. We're human. So happy you were all able to recover from the meltdown. We too, have to bolt things down lol ESPECIALLY cable boxes. He just loves to pound them flat *sigh*

  6. Running can be very therapeutic. Days like that are so hard as we want it to be amazing and great but it is often just too much for everyone. Glad it turned out okay in the end

  7. You listen here, Missy. You had ever right to have a moment, a small moment of needing a break from everyone else's demands, so you could gather your own thoughts together. He took his King for a Day too far, and that's what happens when the power goes to your head. He learned a little lesson about being too demanding, no harm done.

    You still gave him a great birthday, and he still knows he is loved and adored. And now he knows there are limits to what people can do in the absence of a magic wand. He is fine. You are fine. Johnny Depp is super fine. Pho sure.

    Last night I had a mini blow-up, during one of Connor's moments of perseverating, and I yelled, "Jesus H. Christ on a cracker!" See, I am totally way more detrimental to my kid than you are, so no worries.

  8. Holy mess. I'm tired just reading all of this.

    I'm glad he had a great birthday. It's okay to snap. Really. I find it helps. If you keep it all in, you just look constipated.

  9. your amazingness - just BLOWS me away
    I love the way you planned his day and did so many lovely things
    you really made me laugh with "We've been working up to this most holiest of holy days since last week and I knew, just knew, it was going to go pear-shaped. "
    Happy birthday sweet Alex

  10. This makes me want to cry because I feel what you felt when you snapped. I do it all of the time and have no clue how to control the situation except to just go take a shower and tune it all out.

    It's probably good in the end that you did snap. At some point, a kid has to find out the hard way that it's not all about them. Kudos to you that despite all of that, you sucked it up and gave him what he wanted. I'm guessing you both understood each other a little better, huh?

  11. You don't have a shitty temper, I can feel myself getting tense just reading this. I hate all these experts who assume we can be these calm robots around our children all the time. I walked out once and have locked myself in the car several times - the only place he cannot get to me. And it sounds like he had a Happy Birthday anyway xx

  12. Sometimes the path from point A to point B is not a straight line. But you make it anyway.

  13. Those cakes are AWESOMENESS! Your son and my son are the same person! Mine has not yet perfected the kingly ways but he's well on his way - I guarantee it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the King of 8 year olds!!

    As for you - I ditto everything Flannery said and couldn't say it better. We all snap - if we didn't, we'd be Stepford wifes and we know that's not true - well, maybe you are a little bit what with going running and all...;) but I think you too are mostly human!

    I'm glad you didn't puke that pizza back up and it all worked out. What I find really cool about this post and all the comments is that we all know why this is and it's understood. Pretty amazing that we can share this stuff amongst ourselves, isn't it?

  14. You gave him a little reality check and it all worked out ok in the end. Don't sweat the small springrolls.

    Ryan's birthday is today. We were totally preggo at the same time. Kizmet, my friend. . .

  15. Those brownies look totally scrumptious! Sounds like the day went OK in the end, although I wouldn't be surprised if you had a banger of a headache after?! think you did more than enough, you super-mum! x

  16. @Christy--no you want him to talk...I think we just want to find the right words!

    @Margaret--yeah, it's been cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

    @Jim--I can but it will cost ya. Maybe I should do a post on how to make them?!?

    @Andrea-- :)

    @Rhonda--yeah, and remotes get the short end of the stick here too.


    @Flannery--you truly said what I needed to hear the most. Not that everyone else isn't great but thank you.

    @Whispering Writer--that's what that look is...maybe I should snap more often? :)

  17. @K-floortime lite mama--thanks. And you lady, you're not too shabby yourself. :)

    @Allie--I don't know how to hold it in either. I guess he knows how far to push me...and he now knows even mom can have a good old fashioned meltdown.

    @Looking for Blue Sky--you gave me a laugh. I sometimes go to my closet for a quick breather. I never thought of the car....

    @Mike--yeah, lets just say we took the scenic route.

    @Karen V.--I know, it's reassuring. And to know that we are all in in together, so to speak, helps me in ways nothing else can. Sure other moms see what happens--but they're not living it, breathing it and going to sleep and waking up with it. To know that other moms and dads are going through a similar version of what I am helps me know it's not just me. That it's OK to have a moment and then brush yourself off and try again.

    @Grace--see, I knew there was more to it with us. That explains it. I hope Ryan had a great day and I hope it was better than what went down here. And to think we were sober for nine months at the same time. That leaves me speechless.

    @Steph--thanks. Thing was, after the kids went to bed I was so tired, I couldn't sleep. I wound up staying up till midnight watching Harry Potter!

  18. I've needed to step away from my kids when they are like that. Even though I want them to have fabulous days, sometimes I still feel a bit crushed when I do SO MUCH for them and yet... they see the one thing that I didn't do.

  19. What an amazing cook and baker of cakes you are Lizbeth. ounds like a very over whelming time for all. You may have ran away but you came back more able to deal with it all;-)And if you 'got away' with not having spring rolls, well that's an achievement in itself isn't it?? ;-)

    A big happy birthday to your Alex!

    xx Jazzy

  20. So relieved to read that I'm not the only one to have a meltdown at times. I often say to myself that we can't possibly be angels all the time as we have so much to deal with. As it was, you all recovered and had a fantastic birthday. Happy birthday Alex; you have a great mum who bakes great cakes and she is also a great blogger too!

  21. Oh Lizbeth, that made me cry, because I get it. I get everything you wrote, and I know just what you mean because I started my day crying in frustration. So yeah, I get it.

  22. Sniff sniff sniff- wiping tears away for the brownies, the white cake, the chocolate cake, the jumping castle, the pizza, pho, spring rolls, the blow out- and most of all the years I have been here and not there.

    I even miss the run! I would have fricken run with you. Put my wine glass down and run.

    Happy Birthday baby! I miss you more than words.


  23. Oh how I love and MISS you guys. Especially the drama. It's conference week at Montessori (nope, don't miss it). But I do miss standing in the entryway talking with you for 2 hours after the initial chat about the little man was done. So very much. I always planned it that way, you know. You last cause we always had so much to say. Sigh. Happy birthday to the little man. We always enjoyed having that birth month in common.

  24. My goodness! Can I have my birthday at your house? You're an awesome mom!

    My son's birthday is TODAY! He's four. I did not make a cake. Of course, I'm a bad mom.

  25. @Ness and Jess--Stop it, you're making me cry. I love and miss the both of you...sniff, sniff.


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