Saturday, January 04, 2014

A visit from the structure monster

Here is the quote I posted on my Facebook timeline that began this blog entry that really was the beginning of a stutus update. "When we are no longer able to change a situation---we are challenged to change ourselves." -----Victor E. Frankl 

And I ask yesterday's pithy quote what do you do when it is someone else you'd like to change? she quips at 3:28 a.m. Yep, “mean boy” took over our bed tonight and I'm done trying to battle him to get some sleep. Nope, I can’t go to the only other bed as our sweet niece is in it and she will have to get up to go to the airport a half an hour from now to leave for Atlanta.

That is probably why “mean boy” is visiting our bed tonight. He warned us all day that he was going to be “mean boy” in our bed and I didn't believe it as he hugged and kissed on me, but it is like a predicted Jekyll and Hyde transformation, I'm telling you or a full moon and the wolf comes out. We know it's coming, but we are hoping for a new solution!  And he tells me these things with an adorable grin on his face and often giggling, so hard to take that seriously, but I should know better.

Ah, well. Praying Martin did sleep through a lot of that and can function to take the poor girl to the airport because I'm going to be a wreck? I hope once she goes and Martin gives up on our bed I can settle the boy down enough we can both get a few hours sleep.
The boy is unsettled and has been all break. Oddly enough, I long for him to start school on Monday. As much as he used to fight school, now he longs to be there as it is the routine that keeps him steady or steadier.

I am challenged to change myself to find ways to not fight against structuring our lives more. To be honest, it is something I've fought against all my life as I don't like it. It feels unnatural to me. When faced with a recipe I follow it sort of, but hardly ever to the letter. I take great pride on messing with recipes and "improving" them. I have a good track record doing this and am a terrific cook, so why follow a recipe? Recipes are for wimps.

I have a terrible time being on time for just about anything and this is something I've worked on my entire life, but early or on time feels weird to me and I know that is weird and irritating to most people I know---it is a comfortable thing for me to be running behind and I have been that way for as long as I remember. It is part of my "nature" I do try not to nurture despite my reputation; it is something I work on daily and some days hourly. Despite feeling that way, I don't like how it affects others and how they feel about me.

So in our boy, I see this fighting against his nature too. Really I do, despite this 3 a.m. litany. The other day he hit me because I did something I knew he wouldn't like. He has this intense and I mean intense need for the radio to be on all day every day and we've battled all break to cut it down from 24 hours a day to just during the day, but the radio can't be touched or turned off in two rooms of the house. He pretty much worships KUOW as the only radio station and it must be ON. 

Well, they announced that there was going to be a story not appropriate for children as it was about female circumcision coming on and I appreciate them giving the radio listeners such warnings occasionally. If it was a month ago, I could turn it off after the warning and he wouldn’t do anything, but it is during this intense time of the radio is everything, so I knew it might be dicey. He was involved in something at the computer and I was hoping he wouldn't notice right away. If we could have it off for those few precious moments and then I could just turn it back on when it was all clear as these stories usually last about three minutes life would be good. Oh no, he noticed in the precise moment I turned it off. And even though I explained why to him, he hit me hard several times and fought like a wildcat to turn it back on.

One goal was accomplished that way in that we really didn't hear the story as we were working out what just happened and why. Plus the few minutes I blocked him getting to the radio and him pummeling me with his fists. Not pleasant, but the story was pretty much over by the time he got it back on and we were still working out what had just happened.

We worked out what it means to be kind or mean. He came to his own conclusion and began sobbing when he realized he had been unkind even though he was accusing me of being unkind by turning the radio off. It took me the better part of a couple of hours to work through this with him that by hitting me he was being mean. The sobbing was him realizing it. He couldn’t say what it was until after a couple of hours crying and just wanting to be held. 

You have to imagine it: Calm with the radio on, radio off and fury, radio back on and him talking loudly about what just happened while physically running around, jumping and working through it and then total sudden collapse into sobbing. There is no in between. No slide into these moments. It is like a very rough cut movie where the editor wanted to keep you off balance so no transitions ever just “jump cuts”.  Epiphany--- this is why transitions are so hard for him as they don’t exist in his world perhaps? Wow, I’ve never thought of that.

And I just now writing realized that the radio was him creating a routine for himself over break. That is his structure. This is why he wants it on 24 hours a day! This is why he announces each show as it comes on and who works on that show and when. He looks at the schedule written on the web site every day many times a day and announces the schedule just as the program changes. He hasn’t wanted to leave the house at all because he’d miss some radio time. We have gotten him away from it a little, but not as much as we’d like. Don’t get me wrong I do love our local NPR station, but resent them too as I still haven’t posted what the “radio wars” are or what they’ve done to our lives this break.

Ah, the light dawns. Why it took a 3 a.m. vigil to see it, I don’t know. Probably the lack of sleep in general.  And again, I’m the one who is slow on the uptake. I think he wants to be a boy with lots of freedom, but he longs for more structure than I give him. I feel uncomfortable structuring all his time as I longed for the opposite and thrived on the opposite growing up or thought I did and so often think I still do. He’s giving me grand signals that he wants something else. I just told Martin as he popped his head in here asking me what I was working on and he said, “You’re brilliant, why couldn’t we see that?” Because you and I, Dearie, do not seek out structure, but yes that must change for all our survival.

I must clue into the few places of structure in my life in my habits good and ill and see what can stay to create a better life for us. That is why the quote yesterday as I’m trying to overhaul some bad habits or life structures that have crazily been constructed in the past twenty years as a household together me plus my hubby. We both have a lot to learn still and admit to each other we don’t want to live like we do with several things that make it hard to function hanging around us and our house. We know it makes it more difficult for the boy also and as uncomfortable and inconvenient it is, we must “hit it head on” so he can find peace not to fight against us. We are tearing down the old building to put up a much more solid structure to shelter the three of us.

I may call on some of you that are more talented with construction to help me figure out this new way. As I’ve said it isn’t natural, but it will help nurture a better boy. I hope. I pray. What is that serenity prayer? Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen and amen.
I just hugged the niece goodbye. They loaded the car and it slipped out into the early morning hours headed for the airport. I’m going to spell check this and post---then try for a couple hours sleep before the boy pops up. Despite his lack of sleep tonight too, he’ll be up in a couple of hours or so as that is his routine. Goodnight all. Amen and amen.