Okay, so we were watching an old episode of Supernatural, featuring a scary baby, and ZoomBoy produced a meme featuring a baby with demon black eyes that said, “I’m totally in love with my baby, but I wish he’d stop saying ‘This human form is so limiting.'”
Yes, I laughed my ass off, why?
Anyway–it reminded me of one of my very first short stories–something I wrote right after Chicken was born. Big T’s disability was really making itself known then. I mean, some of it should have been known beforehand. He was missing milestones right and left. When he was six months old the doctor sat him up and said, “He should be sitting by now.” T sort of slumped to the side like a bag of flour with more bag than flour. The doctor said, “He’ll sit soon. I’ll check it off my list.” And Big T fell over and Mate caught him and the doctor just kept checking milestones he didn’t achieve. This was back when Kaiser was a nightmare–that guy was close to retirement, and frankly, I think he’d had enough of babies and parents who didn’t know what they were doing. Anyway, I wish I could kick him in the teeth because he did his best to make Mate and I feel stupid for asking “Hey, is this normal?” We would bring T in for an ear infection–because he wouldn’t stop crying and none of the teething remedies were working and we hadn’t slept in a week–and instead of looking at his behavior (and his medical charts SAID he was normal, right?) they gave us albuterol which is for asthma which would have kept him up for another week if we’d been dumb enough to give it to him. Honestly, that was when I started to lose my faith in doctors, really.
Anyway, when he was a toddler, he was a nightmare. He didn’t transition–if he was doing something–say, pounding something with a hammer until your eyeballs bled–and you were trying to get him to change his diaper because his smell was something extra special, the tantrum he pitched would bring the neighbors. This was when we lived on a six and a half acre plot of land.
So, there I was, very often with no car, with a newborn (who was very well behaved) and a toddler who baffled me, and no Mate, because he was going to school and working six nights a week just so we could pay for heat.
One of the things I wrote was a short story which I’ve long since lost–but I remember a lot of details about it, so I thought I’d share.
It was about a toddler who was possessed by Satan. I have no idea where I got the inspiration. Anyway, the kid in the story was doing things like making sure the baby Lion in the Lion King was getting eaten by the hyenas and turning everything mom put in the grocery cart into Cinnamon Toast Crunch. He was levitating his baby sister and letting her drop into mom’s panicked arms and painting a mural with baby food using only his mind. Again–this shit just came to me, seriously. *rolls eyes* And the mother was desperate at first, but then all of the “seasoned” mothers in the story just kept telling her “You know, it’s probably just a phase.”
She went to doctors who told her it was teething or colic and who gave her medicine that made him literally float through the walls (this was before the Incredibles when this superpower became a recognized phenomena, mind you) and finally, because everybody kept telling her she was stressing over nothing, she went to a shrink, who gave her four Percocet, said, “No, I believe you, it’s probably Satan–here. Take these. You can talk to God.”
God had nothing interesting to say. He thought Mary was great and was sort of sorry he’d screwed her over in the kid department, and told her that Mary chewed him out because she had a right to. Then he disappeared.
And Mom woke up and picked her kid up and yelled, “Lucifer, you asshole, are you in there?”
“SO WHAT IF I AM!”
“You are not welcome here, go play somewhere else.”
“YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.”
“I can too. I’M THE MOM, MOTHERFUCKER. Now let go of my child and GO TO YOUR ROOM!”
And there was a big sonic boom and all the movies returned to their original endings and the food mural on the wall disappeared and the sister was suddenly in her cradle after floating near the ceiling for almost an hour, and the woman’s beloved, her child, her angel, said, “Can I have snack now?”
And it was all okay.
Anyway, have been telling my teenagers (YIKES! My youngest kids are teenagers!) stories about our learning curve as parents, and that story came to mind. I really do wish I had the original version, but whenever I remember it, I remember my first, tentative, baby steps to raising children like I thought they needed to be raised and having faith that my judgment as a parent was not less important or less informed or less powerful than the judgment of all the people telling me “It’s just a phase. You worry too much.”
Sometime after I wrote that story, I made fifteen phone calls–FIFTEEN–and got Big T enrolled in an education program that included early intervention. He’s been in the educational system since he was two and a half-years old. The first time we put him on a school bus, he was three. And yeah, education hasn’t been perfect, but seriously, it’s been way better than the witch-doctor necromancy bullshit that the medical profession had to offer. The doctor that wanted me to check out my adolescent son’s testicles with surprise inspections as he got out of the shower comes VIOLENTLY to mind.
But I didn’t feed him albuterol or scar him for life psychologically or make him go for more than one damned EKG (the gum they put in his hair was a disaster) or let him cry himself to sleep (after a few failed attempts that almost resulted in CPS, thank you), or lay on top of him during dental surgery (omg that fucking dentist)–and while I DID do some things I wished I hadn’t, I have to say, eventually I learned to trust myself.
And that story was one of the first moments that I actually put into words that I thought something was wrong that everybody else seemed to be missing.
And I was right.
And I thought I’d share.