Saturday, August 09, 2008

An excess of broken glass

Some days, I am acutely aware that D. is different from other children.

Normally, on a Saturday morning, Mr. WG goes off to shul early, at 7:30. He's home around 9:30, and then he takes the kids back to shul for the social part of things, and then we have lunch and stuff. But last night we had dinner guests who didn't leave until just before midnight, so Mr. WG and I slept a bit later than normal. So Mr. WG didn't go to the early service, so when he went to the later service, he left the kids at home so that he could actually, you know, pray.

At right around the time that Mr. WG would be returning home, D. said, "Mommy, can I go to shul?" And I said, "No, sorry D., you can't." Whereupon D., in his rage, smashed his fist into the floor to ceiling window next next to the french doors leading to my backyard.

The window has a protective film on it, so the glass shattered, but held. I leapt from my chair and shouted at D. to "GO! UPSTAIRS! NOW!" and then focused all my energy on not killing him for the next 20 minutes.

I told my mother-in-law to keep the boys upstairs, and I went to get Mr. WG from shul. He went home to deal with D. I made it there sometime later, and discovered that D. was still in time out, pitifully asking, "Can I come down now?" So Mr. WG went and got him and stood him in front of the window and said, "Look what you did! NOT GOOD!" And D. said, "I'm NOT happy with you!"

And he definitely knows that it was not okay. He told me several times today, "We don't break the window."

I hope his anger frightened him a little bit, because it terrified me. I hope he remembers that fear the next time. I have tried so hard to teach him ways to express anger and frustration, and sometimes I think he gets it. Sometimes he says "I'm VERY ANGRY!" Sometimes he pounds the sofa or a pillow, which I encourage. But boy, howdy, today he reminded me that I can never take his understanding for granted.

Mr. WG pointed out that we started the three weeks by smashing the car window to free Baby J. Erev Tisha b'Av, D. smashed the window of the house. My mother-in-law says it's kapparat avonot (God's way of forgiving some sin, a lighter punishment instead of the full blast you might have deserved.) Funny, because that's how I always think of the Sotos.


meghan said...

I think Pete and I think of our genetic, um, issues (that's a better way than saying "our children", right?) as kapparat avonot as well. I wonder if there is an equivalent in the Christian faith? Or maybe only for Catholics because they equally love to feel guilty? ;)

Lisa b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa b said...

Yeah that's how I think of the Sotos too.

The thing with Catholicism that makes it seem less cool is that we don't have special words for the crap we never wanted to deal with. Maybe there is something in Gaelic though. I'll have to look into that. It makes the suffering seem more meaningful.