Look what's appeared in our backyard today!!
This surely indicates that the landscaping project is in its final stages. Plants are here! There's still a lot of carpentry and cleanup to do (arbors, gates, fences), but the hardscaping and irrigation are almost done, and that's the big stuff. I can't believe it: no more neighborhood eyesore!!
Gabriel has turned a new developmental milestone. This is one I really can't be that happy about, as it's really a step toward puberty. My little boy! Are you ready for this? He smells. SMELLS! Like, smelly pits. He needs deodorant!! It seems he's inherited the "Doudna smell" that only in-laws notice. Dave's family never used deodorant, and while they weren't offensive, they were noticeable. Dave too had an introduction to Speed Stick when we first got together, and is now well below the socially acceptable threshhold. And now it seems Gabriel has inherited this tendency. My 8-year-old smelly-pits boy!
Mr. Smelly Pits continues to raise the bar for the sort of trouble he gets into at school. Today he lost recess and had to write a sentence 25 times, and got a note home to us too. He was defiant and unrepentant when we talked to him about it, angry at the consequences (no dessert until he gets 4 cat stamps on his daily behavior contract). As usual with Gabriel, applying consequences only escalates the situation, and he was difficult and resistant every step of the way tonight.
"Gabriel, please go set the table now."
"Why don't you just set the table yourself?" (twice)
"Gabriel, what's this about inappropriate language in school?"
"Don't you KNOW what 'inappropriate' means?!"
"Why am I not allowed to punish *you*?"
In the end, he got it in the end...the rear end. And after hours of struggle and making everyone miserable, he finally, finally broke down and dropped the defiant attitude. I wish it didn't have to come to that, but after it's done, I wish we'd done it hours earlier. I'd love to see a positive-parenting supernanny tackle him with timeouts and redirection. Good luck to that one.
All this coming off one of the most disturbing nightmares I've ever had. I recognize these as migraine-related, but the hours of blues that follow are very very real. I was in a small apartment in a city for some reason, with Gabriel, and some horrible trauma occurred that killed him and spread gore all over the apartment. I was paralyzed with shock, muted by grief, unable to cry hard enough in my horror. I'd just lost Gabriel and the world was a black, sick, toxic place. I stumbled outside and tried to put myself in a garbage can, then noticed a friend and thought he wouldn't understand.
A litany of thoughts about myself, my identity flew through my mind.
I'm no longer a mother of three.
I'm no longer a mother of two boys.
I no longer have an 8-year-old boy.
Massive identity crisis on the heels of the greatest loss my psyche could ever suffer. But mostly, I pictured Gabriel happily bopping along, kicking a soccer ball or sitting and humming while he draws a circuit diagram, feeling his presence so closely, and then heartbroken and devastated to the core that this bright light, this powerful energy, was gone from my life. It was too much to bear or think of, and I felt like my body would break in two.
I woke up with a start and didn't realize right away what had happened. All I knew was complete, overwhelming, crushing horror. I looked around my room and slowly started to understand: it was only a dream. A horrible, devastating, tragic dream, with all the tar and desolation still oppressing me. The rescue let relief seep in, but little joy. I had just experienced the worst possible thing that could ever happen, and there was no joy in that.
Seriously shaken, I stumbled out of bed to go to my son. I held his hand and looked at his face and listened to him breathe with tears streaming down my face. He was there. He was alive and just as strong and real as ever. Thank God.
But the near miss had me blue and on the verge of tears all day. He was never more than a thought or two away, and I was anxious to see him again after work, and be near him and feel his life and energy. And I felt it all right, in full force, with his defiant rudeness, his defensive stance, his impudence and verbal aggression. But that's Gabriel, always just barely reasonable, willing to take on a fight if it proves his point -- or even if it doesn't.
Perhaps it's because of his super toughness that I'm so intensely attached to him. Perhaps it's because of that toughness -- he doesn't need much from other people emotionally, including me, but he does need me. Perhaps it's because of just how much I need him. It's not just my world that would fall apart without him -- the world would fall apart without him.
And now, let's hope for a better day tomorrow, for Mom's heart, and for Gabriel's teacher's sanity. Gabriel will be just fine.