Yesterday I picked Jonah up from afterschool program with more than a little trepidation. Wednesday, you’ll recall, was hell, and for no reason anyone could figure…aggression after attack, all day long and home as well. Andy came over to help me; he was there to get Jonah out of the car (which was very cool, because I’d about had it) and he was there when Jonah attacked again a few minutes later.
When I woke up Thursday morning I thought: which kid is the universe is going to hand me today? I guess Jonah’s like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.
I admit I was a kinda gun-shy on Thursday when I picked up little Taz. And I was on target this time. They told me he’d been in attack mode the whole time, right from the get-go when he came off the bus kicking and hitting. I thanked them, apologized, and managed to get Jonah in the car without incident. He was safely buckled into his new 5-point harness contraption, but halfway up the first street there was a disabled vehicle and it gummed up the works for about ten minutes before we could get around it. I guess he got impatient. For whatever the reason, he started kicking the console, hard. Bam BAM BAM BAM BAM, the whole time trying to reach me, stretching his body as far low and long as he could. BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM until I thought he’d break his foot. “No!” I yelled back at him, the traffic moving now, me dividing my attention between the road and my rising panic:
I’m in a horror movie and there’s a wild creature in the back seat about to escape his bindings. I hear the unmistakable clicks of Jonah unbuckling the harness buckles, squirming around frantically to get at me: Houdini on PCP. I’m having visions of Damien Thorn scratching and clawing at his mother’s face in the movie The Omen – and I’m approaching the intersection but Jonah’s succeeding, he’s getting loose, and the kicks are closer – BAM BAM BAM BAM – and I’m pulling my car seat as far forward as it’ll go, smushed into the steering wheel, thinking he’s going to get us killed, and all the while I’m yelling “No! Jonah, NO! STOP IT!” at top volume. I’m clawing around for my cell phone and I call Andy – thank God he was at the house – to tell him please be outside when we get there, ready to help me.
Then I turn down Euclid, round the pond, and we’re in the home stretch but now he’s really almost out of the restraint, expensive and sturdy as it is. His seat belt’s still on, but that won’t last once Houdini escapes the harness, and it’s going to happen any second. Luckily there are cars in front of me but not behind, so I hit the brakes harder than I need to, and it shocks him into just sitting there…but only for about a block. So I speed up a little and he’s pushed back in his seat, unsettled again by the sudden car motion…but only for about another block. I hit the brakes again. Then speed up. Then hit the brakes. Then speed up. In this ridiculous manner, I buck my way home, like someone learning to drive a stick and failing miserably.
The pendulum swings again today, with only two aggressions at school, none at afterschool, and none at home. Now he’s asleep, and I’m here with my tea to tell the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Once again I am the grateful recipient of deliberate acts of kindness this week, including two delicious dinners, a box of peanut-buttery Do-si-dos (made all the more awesome because they’re impossible to find this time of year), and a day of almost-aggression-free Jonah. Thank you.
I’ll take everything I can get.