Passing Storm by Patrick Smith Photography

It’s been a telling 24hours. Last night, when I took Cameron to rehearsal for chorus, Chris sent me a text message that said, “Came really close to smacking the crap out of both of them. Just yanked them out of the tub, wrapped them in a towel and said go to your rooms and get ready for bed. DO NOT COME OUT.”

This has happened before. My immediate reaction is to get home asap to help out. That sinking feeling like I will be able to do something miraculous to help out. Not really true, btw. Anyway, I call home, let Chris vent, and when I get home, follow his lead. Coco wants out of her room, and Charlie is asleep in his when I finally check on them. She apologizes to Daddy and she and Chris read until I get ready for bed.

This morning, during breakfast, Charlie was doing the maniacal cackling laughter thing because Coco’s hair was tangled, then he ran around the house with his pants around his ankles, making animal whining sounds. Meanwhile, Cameron was asking if he could do anything to help make his lunch. Coco was screeching at Charlie to leave her alone. She doesn’t dig the cackle.

Chris got Charlie dressed, as Charlie seems to be incapable to focus long enough to do this on his own, except when he wants to, while Charlie made constant animalistic sounds. Can I talk to you about how very irritating these sounds are? They are the sounds you would hear from someone who is seriously disabled. And we try not to get angry about it, because it certainly has some sensory basis. But it is noise. Constant noise. And not sweet noise, just noise, and the reminder that Charlie isn’t focused and could turn the way of any competing impulse at any moment. As I write this, I am sure there is some other routine that would help us manage our morning frustrations, but we don’t know what that is yet.

Chris got the boys in the car, his frustration palpable.

Now, I had to get Coco ready. She was dressed, but arguing about socks and shoes. Then about brushing hair and teeth. And wanting to draw. And not wanting to go to school. And screaming about all of it. This is not good and I don’t want to scream back. And I am worried about her tardiness at school because it’s a magnet and they might kick her out. All the way to school, she said school was too hard and then that she doesn’t get to play enough. And finally that Charlie doesn’t have to do anything at his school. Fuck. I tell her that Charlie doesn’t do things because he feels like he can’t. I tell her that he has trouble with things that she can do easily. And she says, “That’s because Charlie is goofy and I am pure.”

I know there is a lot of competition between the two of them. But I also feel like she is getting the short stick. If you ignore Charlie, he will squeeze all the lotion all over the porch, or paint the dog, or turn on the water and flood the bathroom. If you ignore Coco, she will draw a picture or make a house out of lincoln logs. In managing the chaos we have managed to ignore our beautiful daughter.

It makes me really angry with Charlie, even though, it’s my damn fault. I know there has to be a way to do this parenting thing better, I just don’t have the tools, yet. In the meantime, I feel bad, and want the best for Coco and Cameron, too. But with Charlie, I also want to escape them and the responsiblity. I feel more like getting a break, than giving them what they are missing. The day when he has a full day of school will be a happy one for me.


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