(if you are newish to this page, welcome, and have a read here to get a background on #3)
Dear Grouchy Old Man,
Thanks so very much for coming out of your office and chiding me for my son’s behavior. I really needed it at. That. Precise. Moment. Because you know, with four kids in tow, one who is pitching one hell of a fit, I didn’t have enough on my mind. Nope, I wasn’t already sweating bullets as I tried to calm my son, as I tried to rationalize with him, as I tried to tell him it would be okay all while keeping three other kids quiet. Nope, I didn’t have anything on my mind at the moment when you said “What in the hell is going on here?” Because at the moment you know, I was just enjoying the moment, eating bon bons and loving the screaming fit that I know wouldn’t end for minutes. Loving the stress of knowing that someone, like you, would probably pop your head out into the hall and judge me. Loving the embarrassment that my son screams, and screams, and screams AND I CAN’T STOP IT. Nope, I didn’t have anything on my mind and I really needed someone like you to put me in my place and make me think “what in the hell IS going on here.”
So thank you. Now do what I said. Go back in your office and close the door. That’s what doors are for. So you don’t hear noise.
The Orange Rhino
Nope, not bitter at all. Not sad either. Or ashamed. Or frustrated. Or lost. Nope none of it. I just LOVE having a child that screams.
Well, I mean, I do. I love #3, screams and all. I can’t imagine my world without him. I wouldn’t trade his sweet smile and cuddles for a child who doesn’t scream. I wouldn’t trade his jokes and facial expressions for a child that doesn’t scream. I wouldn’t trade his curly hair and sweet evolving voice for a child that doesn’t scream. I would however trade the nasty comments and looks from people for some smiles of support, some facial expressions of empathy, some sweet gestures like “hey, it’s okay. We’ve all been there.” But no, I don’t get any of that. I just get judged and chided. And I am tired of it. Really, really, tired of it. Enough already.
Do people think that I am not trying? Because I am.
Do people think that I really want my son to keep screaming on and on and on so that people can continue to glare and talk about both of us? Because I don’t.
Do people really think that if they insult me it will inspire me to try even harder? That it will make my son stop screaming? Because it won’t.
Do people think that I need advice as to how to handle the situation…as if I haven’t read every article out there on the matter? Because I have.
My son, my wonderful, beautiful, loving, charming son screams.
He is a screamer.
He screams when he can’t communicate. He screams when he can’t get his way. He screams when he doesn’t know what else to do. Because that is what he did for an entire year plus when he couldn’t talk at all. My sweet son learned to scream and it is now a nasty, nasty habit that we, me, my husband, his speech therapist and his occupational therapist are trying to break.
And we aren’t succeeding. Yet. So I have a screamer on my hands.
And NO he is not a screamer because I encouraged it. He is not a screamer because I allowed it. He is not a screamer because I wanted it. He is a screamer because that is what he could do in the absence of words. He is a screamer because his mouth hurt for almost a year straight and he couldn’t tell me.
Trust me old man, I am just as frustrated and annoyed as you were yesterday.
Trust me old man, I SO desperately want the screaming to stop. For so many obvious reasons.
And trust me old man, every time my son screams I cry inside.
I cry because I can’t stop it. I cry because I know a**holes like you judge me, but more so, judge him. That a*sholes like you assume something is wrong with him, wrong with me. I cry because I truly believe my son doesn’t want to be screaming. He doesn’t want to be feeling frustrated, sad, angry, whatever it is he is feeling that makes him scream the way he does.
And oh that scream. His lips pout, his eyes turn down, and he looks like he is about to burst into tears and cry. But he doesn’t. He screams instead. Oh how I wish he would just cry. Then we could cry together.
Would that be better for you old man? To see my son cry because something is so wrong? Would that be more convenient to you and your conference call? No, not really? Well maybe it would make you stop judging.
Maybe if my son cried instead of screaming you would see that he is struggling. That he is really struggling.
Then maybe your heart would have talked before your mouth.
Then maybe I would have tried harder (or at least cried less later).