Adjustment

Everyone’s safely home.

I have brought the littlest ones back from the beach.  Greg, Ian, and Abby made their triumphant return from Mexico.

After 10 days apart — days when we missed each other terribly — everyone’s back to irritating the heck out of each other.

My 11-year-old son, Ian, is having a timeout in his room yelling, “My mom is SO BOSSY!  Ahhh!  My mom is SO BOSSY!  Why?  Oh, why?!  WHY is my mom SO BOSSY?”

I don’t know, sweet darling child.

I don’t know why I’m so bossy.

I know you’re right, though.

Right on the money.  I remember my mama telling me so when I was 8 years old and I was busy perfecting my bossy technique on my younger brother.

Ian, I guess it’s your special blessing in life to have such a bossy mom.  It’s my pleasure to be your provider.  Your dealer.  Your bossy-ness life-blood.  Yes, indeed — I’m here for all your bossing needs.

As my son shouts his woes to the sky, I hearken back to the time Ian was 4.  That’s when we began to realize the extent of his special needs, as Ian was essentially non-verbal if you discount a constant repetition of “Eesh.  Eesh.  Eesh.”

I despaired.  I stressed.  I said things to my husband I’d like to take back.

I ate.

I begged God to help my son.  I begged God to help me.

I pleaded for patience and understanding.  I felt very alone.

I concluded I bond most deeply with children once they start talking.  Which made me freak out.

Did I say I freaked out?

Because I freaked out.  Freaky Freakish Freakazoid FREAKED OUT.

Slowly, Ian started to talk.  “No” was his first word.

Actually, “no” may have been all of my kids’ first word.  A portent of things to come.  And perhaps a teeny, tiny bit of their mother in them.

Ian’s 11 now, and he speaks at a low 4-year-old level.  The BEST part of that sentence?  He SPEAKS.

Like he’s speaking right now.  In his room.  At high, high volume.

Poor, tantrum-throwing kid.  His efforts are backfiring, even as he puts extra umph into his bossy accusations.  I know I should just be super, duper, extra irritated that he’s yelling his little heart out.  I think that’s part of the point of all the yelling.

I mean, don’t misunderstand.  His Majestic Attitudeness doesn’t thrill me at this exact moment.  I feel a discernible bloom of irritation in my gut, just under my breast bone, rippling in spirals through the rest of my torso.  (Is that unusual?)

But, oh, Child.  The speech.

The speaking.  The talking.  The verbal expressing.

If someone would’ve told me 7 years ago that my Ian would be having a timeout in his room yelling, “My mom is SO BOSSY!  Ahhh!  My mom is SO BOSSY!  Why?  Oh, why?!  WHY is my mom SO BOSSY?”… I would’ve kissed them out of gratitude for the hope.

Big or small — major or minor — adjustments are hard.

Sometimes, my kids need attitude adjustments to remember that their mama is worthy of respect and kindness.

Sometimes, their mama needs an attitude adjustment to remember to live into gratitude.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
28 comments
  1. Hi, I just found your blog recently and LOVE it. This particular post gives me a lot of encouragement. I have a three-year old who is severely speech and language delayed. We don’t have an autism diagnosis, but he also exhibits some spectrum-y things. It’s good to hear that your little guy was yelling in his room about you being bossy! Love it. 🙂

  2. […] yelling “my mom sucks!” (Where’s that expressive language disorder when I need it??) […]

  3. Hang in there! We’ve proud of all of you, and pray for you regularly, too. You’re doing a great job, even when it’s not easy.

    1. Thanks, Judy! I’ll take all the prayers I can get.

  4. Thank you for stressing the gift of communication, positive or not. It is sweet. Nick just started using his voice-output eye-gaze (totally awesome technology) and yesterday was telling his sister to ‘stop that’ and asking ‘what are you doing?’….the verbal bickering between the two of them with that twinkle in Nick’s eye the entire time -and Abby totally loving it- was a fantastic thing. What we take for granted sometimes is precious.

    1. Leslie… SUCH a joy to watch your posts about Nick’s new ability to communicate with words! I know you’ve been communicating with him for years non-verbally, but what an amazing gift to have him talking. I think about Nick quite frequently when Ian talks.

  5. What a great post! We have so much to be thankful for…including yelling kids! I was a major boss, still am. And my daughter is following right in my footsteps.

    (I didn’t know all this about your sweet Ian. Thanks for sharing it here.)

    1. Thanks, Miss Kristen. You’re so right! I think frequently of moms all over the world who live without medical care, nutritional food and education for their kids… and how very many of them would LOVE to have a healthy teenager to yell at them. It’s a game-changer, realizing that.

      So funny and cute to hear about your daughter. As the oldest child, I feel her pain… it’s a big sister’s duty to be the boss!

      1. Like! (it really is a big sister’s duty, if only the younger siblings would start realizing that… 😉

  6. I love how you can truly look at situations and find the positive – you help me see things better in my world as a mom too!

    1. Aw! Thanks, Susan!

  7. Oh, and also Beth Eller up there. I can not imagine.

    1. This is why I need a like button. I’m with you, Cathie. Let’s all say prayers and send good wishes to Beth.

      1. Like!

  8. This brought tears to my eyes. I am joining you in being grateful for Ian’s speech. And God bless. (I’m assuming he’s stopped yelling by now, though.)

    1. Thanks, Cathie, for joining me in gratitude!

      Yes, the yelling stopped. Poor kid. He’s not very good at it… it’s always short-lived, and then he always feels bad and apologizes.

  9. pps: had to let you know this as well: we had a parent-teacher meeting with the teachers of your namesake, our daughter and you know what they called her? (besides smart, social and enthousiastic) Bossy! Can’t say that doesn’t bring back memories for me… We laughed about it, especially since the teachers assured us she wasn’t terrorizing the whole class (we thought that was important info to find out, but were admittedly a bit frightened of their answer 😉 ). So I guess it’s neither of your fault (or mine), it’s in the name, it’s all to blame on the name! (I love the way that rhymes, don’t you?) Anyway, while riding our bikes home in the freezing cold we also came to the conclusion that the world needs bossy people too, because who else would teach? Hahahaha! (there’s a career opportunity for you I say 😉 )

    1. It IS all in the name. That’s what you get for naming your daughter after me (which you didn’t, but a girl can dream ;))… she does sound like my progeny.

      1. mental note: look up ‘progeny’… (just making sure you’re not secretly insulting us Dutch folk 😉 )

  10. It’s in the air over here too! (the time outs and all that fun) Apparently it’s a world wide epidemic…
    I also wanted to let you know that I’m very moved by your writing about Ian’s special needs and the way you had to deal with them. Can’t imagine having a child with poor verbal skills myself (though I have to admit I have hoped that there was a button on ’em somewhere so that I could tone it down a bit now and again… don’t parents usually want what they don’t have 😉 ) I admire the way you&Greg (let’s not forget him, right?) are giving it your all to raise all of your kids to be good people. Even though you probably still don’t believe me, you are a role model to me, to us. Keep up the good work my friend!
    ps: you know what a very important part of an American child’s proper upbringing is? No? Visiting Europe! (just thought I’d share some of my wisdom with you, I’m a giver you know, hahaha 😉 )

    1. Thank you for the admiration. It’s undeserved (I assure you… if only there were hidden cameras to prove it), but I still appreciate the sentiment. I’m firmly in the same mom camp as the rest of y’all… the “we’re doing the best we can” camp, and I try to be in the “forgive myself when I screw it up” camp, too. 😉

      On the bright side… I think you’re probably right about visiting Europe! I need to get right on that.

      1. I’ll answer you before you ask Beth… Yes! I will travel to Europe with you and your family. Just give me the dates and I will mark it on my calendar! 😉

      2. Hahahaha! Just tell me how many beds to get ready! Maybe we can get a math tutorial in there too? 😉 I stink at maths… I do. That’s why I teach English 🙂

  11. God bless you .. Understand your pain. My best friend, my husband, has Alzheimer’s… I have lost my best friend … Communication is gone.. Praise “my mommie is bossy” … He is communicating.

    1. Oh, Beth. My heart is with you. I wish there were words that could ease the pain of losing your husband to Alzheimer’s. There aren’t. But know my thoughts are with you. Wishing you peace and blessings.

      Grateful… so grateful… you took time to post this.

      Beth

  12. We’ve had lots of time outs today for not talking nicely. I guess it’s in the air 😉

    1. It must be in the air! Did you see Carina’s comment, too? It’s contagious all the way to Europe. I wonder if the attitude travels by plane like the flu. 😉

      1. I bet it does… One of my friends is a stewardess and often flies to the US, I might be able to blame it on her! Or might it have something to do with radioactivity? There’s too much of that going around these days as well…

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