In the last post, Tim wrote:
“You can be an emotional punching bag. Or you can shut off the love and be a zombie, I suppose. Is there some sane place in between?”
On the day this post was written, I was first the emotional punching bag. Then, I became “the zombie.”
I was with Joey in the car, returning home from his afternoon program. He knew that he had not listened to me earlier by walking out of the building without waiting while I was trying to find his sweater, even though I’d called out to him several times to “wait”, to “stop” to “stay inside.”
When we got into the car, I told him that I was going to play some music that he would like. I knew that he would like Adele, but he continued to reach over and turn off the “radio” without listening. I put it back on. On and off, over and over, until he changed his mind and smacked me in the face, knocking my glasses off. (Fortunately, I do not need them to see distance!) He knows the drill: just ask.
I raised my voice, just a bit, but angrily, and said “You do not hit Mom.” During the rest of the 10 minute drive home, I did not speak to him and kept a serious face. I was “the zombie.”
He tried to make up. He said “Do not hit Mom.” He even put the CD back on but the sound was too loud and I immediately turned it off. He said “It is too loud.” I know that he was trying to make-up but here is was problem by then:
We were in the car. His emotions were still high. Once he hits someone, he is likely to hit again. I just wanted to get home. Knowing how his temper can accelerate, I was afraid. If he said he was sorry I would have known that he would have calmed down sufficiently. This was a potentially dangerous situation, particularly because we were in traffic.
When we got home, I closed the garage door before getting out of the car and started into the house. Joey did not move. I told him that he could get out of the car. Three times, gently. He came inside but did not bring his things so I had to ask him several times before he would go back out and get them. He backed away from me instead. I am not sure why as he had hit me, not the other way around.
After I asked him to put his things away he realized that the incident was over and I gave him a kiss on the cheek and all of his teeth showed when he smiled. He sat on the sofa with me for awhile instead of going into his room. We had a delightful evening and the next morning he remembered it and reminded me that “I’m a good boy” with many hugs.
I “zombied-out” in the car. Between the potential danger and the fact that Joey knew better, I had no desire to deal with it.
I am sure that the perfect parent would have responded with delight when he made the effort to comply by putting the CD back on. You may, on occasion, call me “Zombie Mom.”