My 6:50 a.m. musical extravaganza. Noah is singing at full volume. I guess it’s so he can hear himself over the tumult of his peeing.
I’m in bed, behind my closed door and the combined noises still fill the room like an absurd symphony. I fight back the urge to open the door and shush him. I don’t want to start the day with him that way.
Last night at bedtime it turned into me shouting and him going dumb and sullen.
I totally mishandled a perfectly reasonable position. How often that seems to happen. I’m doing the right thing but I say it the wrong way. And one wrong word leads to another and finally I’m angry and incompetent.
It was past eight thirty and I had already insisted several times that he get to bed. I kept myself busy with dishes and things to avoid confrontation. When I left the kitchen, I found him standing at the mirror, holding a boomerang and posing like some outback icon.
“Noah, did you brush your teeth?”
“Clean out your nose with the spray?”
“Feed your fish?”
Now he just shakes his head. I look him over. He’s still fully dressed, not in pajamas, except for one sock missing.
The whole thing is so ridiculous, I should just laugh and tell him to move it and move on myself.
“…geez, Noah, get moving.”
He cleans his teeth with his boomerang. Finds it supremely boring. I take the bait and turn into a cartoon. Steam comes out of my ears, my eyes bulge, my tongue rolls in and out of my face.
Noah keeps picking his teeth.
…is my totally appropriate response.
Noah just stares and still doesn’t move.
“You do this almost every night, Noah. You wait until I blow up and then we end the night angry at each other. Not cool.”
“There was a spider in my room.”
It ends badly.
He’s sent to bed with a set of punishments, loss of computer time and other restraints on his pleasure. He falls sleep feeling like shit. I twist internally, feeling guilty and insulted and incompetent.
So this morning….
The alarm goes off.
“Noah…..” I call him from my bed.
He steps out of the bathroom.
“Jump into bed with me, I feel like a hug.”
He charges in, wraps himself up in my comforter. I snuggle up to him.
“What was that you were singing?”
“What do you get a Wookie for Christmas when he already has a comb?”
“It’s one of the uh, Christmas songs we’re practicing for the show, yeah, you know the show we do every Christmas at school? Yeah.”
He starts singing.
“…He doesn’t need a tie clip, he doesn’t need shaving foam….”
“Damn! I was about to say, give him shaving cream.”
Noah stretches and smiles. Light up my morning. I grab him for a last snuggle.
“Ouch dad, you squeezed where I have my wound.”
He bruised up his arm during the weekend.
“Look, it still shows.”
He points to a scab and a few bruises on his forearm.
“When I like showed my friends at school, they were all like this ‘oh wow, that must hurt, oh poor you’. Yeah, they were like all ‘pet-y‘.”
“You mean they pet you like a dog?”
I look at him. He’s pleased. Why not?
I pet his head.
He suddenly licks my hand.
“Oh you little…”
I jump him. He yelps. We get lost in tickles and giggles.