Ups and Downs

 Beren and Mountain were lounging peacefully until I took out my camera.

After what seemed an impossible week, we made it through. Anything, anything, anything that could have been done to push parental buttons was done. And as the red, fiery, angry poison ivy rash faded, so did the red, fiery, angry attitude.

Sometimes, it seems as though my child is pushing me away with red, fiery, angry button-pushing behavior. And I guess sometimes he is, and after all, he's a person. In the meantime, I'm getting burned, so I might be backing away. Everybody needs to brood alone. We give our child space when needed. 

Sometimes, I hold tight to that whirling, fiery tiger until he quiets. "I love you no matter what," I say. I once was told that sometimes we need to hold a child through a storm of tears or rage. I read elsewhere that you can say, "You're out of control, and I'm going to hold you until you feel better." 

I was a little surprised. I turned the thoughts around in my head. Before hearing these perspectives, I might have tried this, but given up too soon. Just as likely, or maybe more likely, I'd get upset or angry at the small fireball before me. From my mouth would spill, "STOP!" or maybe I'd walk away. 

And hey, I still might. I'm a person, too. But there's something good and kind about holding a little kicking and crying person who really needs help. Saying GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF doesn't demonstrate how to get a hold of yourself. 

And because we're in a relationship, the mother child relationship, holding that little fireball close physically or emotionally, gives us both a chance to CALM THE H*LL DOWN. 

I'm so glad the poison ivy rash has passed. Was it the root of our rough week? It didn't seem directly related. It didn't seem to bother him that much. "Did Adam and I ever have bad weeks?" I asked my Mom. "Well, yes, but you not some much, but sometimes," she answered. Maybe Beren was teething Jared and I agreed and laughed. Teething, now that was a rough time.

During fireball week, Beren declared, "Spruce Run is not as fun as other beaches." I'd taken him there last week, and we had a great time, or so I thought. "What beaches are better?" I asked trying to mask  disappointment in my voice. "I dooooon't knoooowwww," Beren whined. "OK," I sighed. "Other beaches might seem like more fun. I do like going to Spruce Run with you though."

"We should tell Papa to come to the beach with us," Beren said. Papa? You mean the dude who's Crocs you kicked dusty gravel into while we stood in the parking lot? That guy who you shrieked at repeatedly this week? And, alternately asked him play with you? And then, shrieked at for some minor play-related infraction. Papa? The guy who made you palascinta (Hungarian crepes) and then got lip from you about them not enough jam inside? Not that I'm counting or holding a grudge for my husband.

"Yes, I like when Papa comes to the beach, too," I said. Jared doesn't love roasting on the beach like I do, so beach days happen when Jared has long days away.
In the midst of it all, I picked up Beren from camp one afternoon. I waited in the vestibule with another mother. Our boys happen to like each other. "So, has your son ever said he's really tired and doesn't want to come to camp?"

For weeks, Beren's complained, "I'm tiiiiiii-urrrrrrrd." Fair enough, camp is new, lots of play, and time away. "Oh yeah, this is his first time, right? Sure, my son was exhausted, and then his behavior was awful, especially in the afternoon. He's also been really tired this week."

Perhaps the meteor showers, another celestial event I heard about after the fact, got us. Who knows. Teething? It must have been something because even the vanilla ice cream we made together this week was not quite right, though it came out the way it always had - delicious. Too soft, doesn't taste good Beren declared and dumped it back into the mixing bowl tearfully.

As fireball week came to an end, I planned another trip to Spruce Run. Jared was headed out for a long day of consulting. He and I packed lunches side by side while Beren slept on. I was ready before Beren woke, and when he did wake, he was on a tear. "When are you coming back tonight?" I asked Jared. "After bedtime," he said. "Oh."

Once breakfast was on the table, we cheered up. We all went outside to see Jared out. As I opened the gate for Jared, he said, "Now take care of Momma today, and Momma, you take care of Beren. Do lots of good work." Beren was already digging into the leaf compost with toy trucks. "I'll take care of Momma, and Momma will take care of me!" Beren said.

Today might just be ok, I thought. It was. From then proceeded one of those lovely days. Just perfect. The weather. The flow of activities and snacks. We played around the farm. We worked around the farm. We laid out a picnic blanket and snacked on the picnic lunch meant for Spruce Run. We watched the clouds and saw shapes. We watched the planes, and the birds flying to a from the black cherry tree.

"I've always wanted a black cherry tree," I said. "These trees must have been here for years and years to get so big," Beren replied.

We used our cups to amplify our voices and shout at the clouds and planes. "STOP THAT CLOUD! GIVE THAT CLOUD A TICKET!" We saw an eagle and a red-tailed hawk, a pileated woodpecker, robins, jays, finches, and turkey vultures that like to cruise low over our mountain.

Laying and watching and talking and laughing seems so simple, but I was giddy. Really? It seemed a dream to lay and relax with my son. Had we ever done this before? Actually stopped moving while outside? Anytime I felt like getting up, I let the spell hold me close until Beren broke from our magic web and sought out his toys. I slowly walked to the potting table and got back to work.

Which way's the beach? The fun one?