Around 3 months ago, our good friends were having a garage sale, and we having recently moved loads of The Daver’s crap from one apartment to our freshly-bought condo, had tons of shit to unload. So, I packed and packed the unused crap into boxes for Dave to pack into the car to take to their house. Pretty much any story where stuff gets moved involves me packing while Daver lays down with a headache.
(as an aside: we have a division of labor here; Dave carries shit down the stairs to wherever it happens to be going, and I do EVERYTHING else).
(an aside TO the aside: and by “division of labor” I mean that I pretend that Dave is going to carry the stuff downstairs and so I get it all together and about half of the time he actually carries it down)
(an aside to the aside to the aside: I want an elevator)
Predictably, the garage sale came and went. And the boxes sat. Dave always gave me some vague mumbles about donating the stuff to charity while the boxes remained in the same dining room position, slowly gathering dust and moss. For months.
Rather than getting angry about it I figured that I would take care of it myself.*
According to my calculations, it dawned on me that the longer that I let these items sit there, the more apt Dave was to remove them from the boxes and lovingly welcome them back home because he loves his things unnaturally. Like old threadbare underwear and broken cassette tapes.
I, of course, was having NONE of this. Our condo had no storage as it was and the less stuff we had, the better.
So there I went, huffing and puffing my way down to the dumpster, where I put the stuff to the side, hoping that someone might go through it and take what they’d needed. Because while I wasn’t going to be giving the Gnomes on Ice glasses a home any longer, someone else might find them perfectly lovely.
Before I brought my last load down, I took a break to eat. By the time that I had managed to get back downstairs, I noted that all of the boxes that I’d set out NEXT to the dumpsters were gone. Vanished. Fin.
This assuaged my guilty ego in more ways than one. Maybe I should invite them in to peruse Dave’s collection of old receipts and gum wrappers.
*this would prove to be THE running theme in our marriage. Well this and “Becky is kind of a bitch.”
Daver and Ben are clones. They’ve always been clones.
We’ve joked about it a lot because while Dave is Ben’s step-father and certainly the father in Ben’s life most of the time, he’s not biologically related to Ben. It doesn’t matter a lot to us because that’s the way it’s always been, but it’s so interesting to see someone share so many of the same quirks and eccentricities.
If they shared genetics, it would be one of those “that is OBVIOUSLY YOUR side of the family things,” but since they don’t, we just laugh. Dave’s the cheese to Ben’s macaroni.
The final proof occurred when we ventured out to Pashmina’s condo. Now, upon arrival and close examination, Ben realized Pashmina, not having children of her own, has no *toys* and was directed to play her old Nintendo.
Ben’s first foray into video games was Duck Hunt and was eerily good at it. He actually killed ducks which is something that I’d never mastered, not then and not now. Next Dave gave it a shot. I saw years of painful training behind his perfectly executed shots at the ducks. I sat slack-jawed and drooling as I watched my husband kill them ducks dead.
I was spellbound, enraptured, and utterly unable to remove my eyes from the screen.
Given a couple of more tries, Ben was remarkably better. He even began to shoot at the annoying dog, like generations of kids before him.
Then attention was focused on me. It was my turn. Let me explain that I had not had a Nintendo as a child, I had come from a Sega Genesis household; two vastly different worlds. I had played Duck Hunt maybe 3 times in my life over at my next door neighbors house, and I’d never killed a single duck.
I warned my captive audience of this as I sat brandishing the beautiful orange gun, and I fired. And I fired. And fired again. I sat there, firing impotently while Dave, Pashmina and Ben laughed hysterically. I did not, and probably never will hit one of those damn ducks. Being good at video games is just not in my genes.
Wasn’t then and it isn’t now.
Ben, though, he’s clearly The Daver’s son.
When I was pregnant with Ben, in order to stay under my parents insurance plan, I had to remain a full-time student. That meant that I could start to take the blow-off classes I’d always wanted to take but been too busy with my Biochemistry Labs. I gleefully (read: hungrily) signed up to take a couple of lit classes and a child psych class. It was a refreshing change of pace for me.
I remember the day. There were 3 pictures of the 3 temperaments: a happy child smiling (easy child), a child who looks somewhat apprehensive about something (slow-to-warm-up), and a child who was pushing away a bowl of food and looks pissed off (the difficult child). I remember saying a prayer to whomever was listening that my unborn child be an easy one.
Well, whomever was doling out personalities had a good laugh at the child that was dispensed to me. As a baby he screamed ALL OF THE TIME, he wouldn’t eat, he was up ALL NIGHT LONG, never wanted to be held or snuggled, so much so that I found myself wondering if my child hated me. My Ben, he just seemed to hate me.
When he got older, he was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum and went through millions of hours of speech and occupational therapy sessions. It was surreal, raising him, and it still is.
I mean I made the kid eat a hot dog just so he’d try it. A HOT DOG! ALL kids love hot dogs! They’re full lips and butt holes, and salt and fat, and in kid-speak, that means extra-specially delicious. What kid DOESN’T love hot dogs?
Mine, and only mine.
(he loves them now, lest you think I’m beastly for it)
I’m constantly regaled with stories from friends, and friends of friends who tell me about their children sleeping through the night, trying different foods, LIKING HUGS and it always kinda chafes my ass. In all of those stories, I always can detect a certain smugness, a sense of superiority, intentional or not, it’s still there.
And it always seems to do the trick on me, I mean, at some point you begin to wonder if all of these people have normal kids, what in the hell am I doing wrong?
There’s a lot of therapy available for kids with special needs. They’ll teach the kids to try different foods and handle textures, noises, and sensations. If the kid is non-verbal like mine, the therapists work with the child to speak, first sounds, then more sounds, and eventually words, sentences and so on.
But what about us? The parents, I mean. Those of us who sit sobbing quietly in the bathroom, wishing for a hug or a simple dinner without a battle over food. Those of us who know how much it hurts to hear about how we’re fucking up our kids and how inferior our children are.
Where’s the therapy for that?