Sunday, October 26, 2014
The poison seeped and seethed in my bloodstream until it reached the damaged language centers of my Cro-Magnon daddy brain, doing nothing more than igniting another series of fresh implosions, the poison ultimately reaching a lethal level. My heart was nowhere to be seen.
Finally, the Mama asked, “Are you grumpy again?”
The poison poured from my mouth; the caveman pounded my front lobes with his gnarled club.
“Yes, I am! I’m tired and hungry and I had to deal with Bryce screaming and again pounding on my face and chest like a mad woman while we were in line in the store. And I don’t know what to do about it. How am I supposed to just smile and use the whole positive discipline parenting approach and ask ‘what’s your idea?’ when all I want to do is smack her across the face!”
I sighed aloud. “Mercy, I actually do feel better now.”
The Mama gave me an uncomfortable smile, as if to say, Why didn’t you just tell me that in the first place, butthead?
There we sat in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, us in the front seats, and the girls giggling in the back, oblivious to my angry outburst.
“Are we going to the harvest festival?” Bryce asked.
“Yeah, the harvest festival!” Beatrice echoed.
“To jump in muddy puddles!" they called out together.
“Yes, we are,” the Mama answered.
I remained quiet, still recovering from internal damage, but off we went. While I drove us onward, I reflected on my immature and impulsive delayed reaction, still struggling with the positive discipline parenting approach overall, especially when Bryce’s reactive tantrums explode in our faces.
I know the Mama struggles too, sometimes having a smack attack on Bryce when it’s just too much, which in turn only causes Bryce to strike back harder until she becomes a boiling sea of tears.
But that’s not why I was reflecting this time. Bryce is only four, and a much different animal that her older sister, and the fact is that we’re doing everything we can to instill positive and healthy “responsible” responses to anything that either girl will have to deal with short and long-term. Self-awareness, mindfulness and impulse control over destructive behavior takes time and a maturity that many adults can and do struggle with.
Like me. Although I’m light years from where I was before the Mama met me, the same pattern of internalizing angst until it implodes as referenced above still happens from time to time. It’s like having flashbacks from bad hallucinogenic drugs taken in an already fragile state of mind.
At least, I’ve heard from friends...
You get the point. I internalize. I implode. The poison seeps and seethes and hurts me and those around me. I expel it all as if exorcized. Then I’m better again.
The Mama’s always been better at being under control and direct in the moment, at quickly adapting while retaining a pragmatic and almost magical approach to every facet of life, but I’m getting there; I have my moments. A work in progress since the day we met over 17 years ago on the beach…
And all it takes is a big, muddy puddle and harmonic convergence. Yes, that’s it. What a woman that Mama is. And for me, Bryce is the key as well, like malleable molten metal that can be easily turned into a precision tuning fork.
After Trader Joe’s, we did go to the Wilder Ranch State Park 40th Anniversary Heritage Harvest Festival and had an amazing time (which we usually do). It rained earlier in the day, which us West Coasters desperately need, but then the sun came out in the afternoon and it was gorgeous.
Thank goodness, 'cause Daddy Goat Gruff needed a little vitamin D and some family B love.
The Mama's the queen of the pragmagical -- planning ahead and bringing an extra change of clothes for the girls since we planned on letting them jump in the muddy puddles. We always do. It's incredibly fun and cathartic. I only wish me and the Mama would have joined them. (And if you and your kids watch Peppa Pig, you know what I'm talking about.)
Yes, B-come the tuning fork that needs to reverberate (and release) immediately in a big, sloppy, muddy puddle -- real or imagined -- before the implosion happens. That's the harmonic convergence I've been looking for.
So, if I just bend Bryce just the right way and hold her up to the glorious sunlight and jump...