Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Demon Child

Yesterday was a very productive day.  Keith helped me clean his bedroom, clean the bathroom, clean up his upstairs toys and downstairs toys, wash the dishes, clean the counters, and sweep and mop the floor.  He also helped me sort the clothes and do all the laundry.  He was a wonderful helper.
I have worried that I was raising a slothful child.  Before, anytime I tried to get him to help, a tantrum would ensue, or he would ignore me and go off, doing something on his own.  It was stressful.  I felt like I was failing as a mother.  Failing to teach him the necessary skills he would need as an adult.  I know he is just a baby in the grand scheme of things.  Three years old is so little to expect so much, but when I couldn't even get him to make his bed or put away his toys, I judged myself as a failure.

So, yesterday I was very happy.  The time spent with that boy is gold.  He is so good, and happy.  He kept asking me why we wanted a clean house.  He then told me it was because it made Heavenly Father happy when we have a clean house.  I love that things I try to teach him are sinking in.  Yesterday was absolutely a deposit for the Mother Bank.

By the afternoon, after Keith had gone down for a nap, and Faye was running around the house, screaming that monsters were on her back, and laughing hysterically.
 I decided it was time for me to spend some time on my own.  I grabbed my purse and went grocery shopping.  I must also confess, I went to the dollar store to revel in the beauty of the Autumn/Halloween decorations. 

Now, before I go on, dear reader, it must be understood that my car does not have air conditioning.  I drive with the windows down.  Yesterday it was 95*.

As I got out of the car and was walking into the grocery store, I remember smighing.  That is a smile with a happy sigh.  I thought how comforting and warm and wonderful that heat was.  I remember wanting to wrap it around me like a blanket, and to snuggle in close to it.  What a stark contrast to just ten years ago.  I hated summer, I hated the heat.  It made me feel sick when I got too hot.  After living in LA area and being out in 120* heat for two weeks straight, my relationship with heat made a polar change.

I got home from the grocery store, and saw green all over Keith's face and hands.  I asked him what he had been doing, and he showed me yet another masterpiece.  He had found the finger paint while he was supposed to be napping.  
His grandmother nearly had a heart-attack.  She didn't know the paint was washable.  Also note the precariously placed chair on top of the dresser in the above photo which was used to get the paint.
He was sent downstairs armed with a wet rag, and I left for work.

It was a lovely day.  I went in to work, whistling.  Happy.  Near the end of the night, I got a phone call.

"Amy, are you almost done?"  Jeffrey's tired voice sounded on the other end.

I told him I was-ish.  I still had a little more to do, but soon would be coming home.

"Please hurry.  Your son will not go to bed.  I am done.  I have been fighting with him all night, and I can't do it anymore.  He will be awake when you get home." and with that he hung up the phone.  

I got home to find all the lights out, Jeffrey had gone to bed, and Keith was sitting in the computer chair, looking very cool, and bored.

I went about happily, trying to get him ready for bed, and then my son disappeared, and a demon replaced him.  For the next hour and a half, Keith's face was atomic red, he had veins protruding from his neck, and he screamed everything he wanted to communicate.  It all started when I got the wrong pajamas for him.  Faye was sweetly sleeping, so I had to sneak into their room to get his pajamas.  Keith hadn't folded and put his clothes away like I had asked him, earlier in the day.  Instead he had stuffed them all on a shelf in his closet.  I found the only pajamas I could, but they were not acceptable to the little demon inhabiting my son's body.  I welcomed him to go and find a different pair, but he didn't want to.  And Armageddon happened.

 Jeffrey tried putting Keith in a cold shower, but that only made him more angry.  We tried holding him down so the whirlwind of fists and legs could have a rest.  We used soft words, we tried a light tap on the bum (spanking him, but really, just a light firm tap).  Finally, we scooped Faye out of her bed, placed her in ours, unscrewed the lights, put a child lock on the door, put him in the room and ran out.  A pounding such as had never before been heard in this house echoed throughout the basement.  The door began to wonder if it wasn't a contender in the fight of it's life.

After a few minutes of that, love and pity filled my heart.  I remembered being so young, and life being so seemingly unfair.  I went into his room, and the fury of fists again attacked me.  I sat on his bed and let him.  By now, it was after eleven o'clock.  The screaming and kicking and pounding continued.  So I began to tell a story.  I began to tell him about the bravery of a 6 year old Joseph Smith with typhoid fever.  Half way through the story, the screaming stopped.  Keith walked over to me, gently placed his hand on my mouth and said he didn't want a story.  I asked him what he wanted, and he climbed up into my lap, and asked me to sing him a song.

I was relieved my child was back, and the demon had gone.  He wanted me to sing his song, so I held him close, rocked him, and sang.  I stroked his forehead while I sang, holding him tight through the hiccups for air.  He was exhausted from that tantrum.  I told him I was cold (really noticing how cold his arms and legs were), so I scooted the blankets up over us.  After a while, I told him my back hurt, so we laid down in the bed.  He asked me to tell him about the Temple.  So I did.  We talked about the important saving work done for the dead there.  We talked about keeping ourselves clean and pure so we can enter the Temple.  We talked about Baptism.  We talked a lot about Jesus Christ, and repentance.  Keith knelt down in his bed, and said a prayer, saying he was sorry for acting like that, and asking for forgiveness.  Shortly after Jeffrey returned Faye to her bed, and Keith told him he was sorry for acting like that.  He gave us both kisses, and rolled over to go to sleep.

I marvel at two things about last night.  I marvel that I didn't lose my temper or patience once.  Normally I would have been yelling at him, and angry as all get out for the way he was behaving, but last night, I was only full of love for him.  Also, yesterday Jeffrey was saying he thought it might be a good idea if I kept my job after he got one.  So that I could have that money to buy things for me.  Crafting things, or decorations, or gifts.  Just anything for me.  That would be our surplus money.  I didn't like that idea since I had been praying and asking Heavenly Father to help Jeffrey find a job so I could stay home with the children.  I felt like it wouldn't be honest if Jeffrey found a job and I kept working.  It would be a bit of a lie to God.  After last night, though, Jeffrey quickly changed his mind.  He would much rather I stay home with the kids and be in charge of bedtime.

And thus we see, the Lord works in mysterious ways.


Emmy said...

I totally would have lost it- your patience is amazing. And yes- Eric always tells me he would never trade me jobs :)

Confessions of a PTO Mom said...

Sometimes I am happy for 4 girls! And I think I might need to steal your word...


Unknown said...

I don't see how that would be a lie to God. Hmmm.... Oh well.

You were awesome last night! I would have lost it. But then, my hubby would have handled it and not me. He does bedtime. lol!

Susan Anderson said...

Talk about the strong-willed child! Sounds like you've got one, for sure!


Francisca and Chris said...

Today I wrote about the importance of following your dreams! Your dream is to be a stay at home mom and you are amazing at it, I'm glad Jeffery realized that and hopefully you will be back living your dream again :)

PS: If Harmon and Keith were BFF's they probably could accidentally cause a nuclear explosion.

Lourie said...

I would have lost it. I don't know how you managed it. But then I went through two colicky babies. I did that. You do what you must. And you my friend did fabulously.

Em said...