Friday, October 26, 2012

"I'm Mad At You!"


































(I'd forgotten about this post, written two years ago about a boy who is now nearly 5. I was reminded of it yesterday as I sat back for a time and kind of marveled at who he is today. This wasn't the first nor last time that he let us have it like this. His ability as a 2-year-old to "project" his emotions is legendary. Today, he's a popular kid, always surrounded by friends, cheerful, excited about school, imaginative, the inventor of games in which he invites others to take part. And, yes, he's still a master of letting everyone know exactly how he feels and what he wants. Yesterday, one of his buddies tried to get him to goof around during circle time. Some days he takes the bait, but this time he whispered, "I want my own self space." When play up in the loft got rowdy enough that a parent-teacher intervened, he simply removed himself from the situation, took a seat at the art table and lost himself in painting for several minutes before rejoining the gang, boasting to them about the painting he'd just made for his mom, which caused them to descend upon the art table to make things for their own mothers. At clean-up time he took the lead, saying, "Come on, guys! We have to move these boxes over there!" 

When this post first appeared, some read it as a condemnation of adults who were somehow doing it wrong, but that's not at all what I intended. I suppose it came off that way because I was trying to write from the perspective of an angry 2-year-old who was already not so sure he liked being left somewhere without his mom. In fact, the entire process of getting that diaper changed took a good half hour, with loving adults talking, guiding, explaining, being gentle, but, you know, he was pissed off and wanted everyone to know it. Today, he can still be quite loud, but that's only when he's joyful. When he's angry, he'll look right at you, lower his eyebrows and say, "I'm mad at you!" He's one of my heroes.)


You know what would really piss me off?

It would really piss me off if a large, strong stranger snatched me from my pleasures, carried me into the bathroom, laid me on a table, pulled off my pants and removed my underwear.

It would really piss me off if she robbed me of that familiar warm pungency that had been, from time to time at least, a part of me since before I can remember.

I would rage and rail at her, let me tell you. I would kick my legs and arch my back against her efforts, and it would only piss me off more to realize that fighting back was futile, she was going to do this to me solely by virtue of her greater strength. I would scream so that my voice pieced through doors and cinderblock walls, all the way to where the others were still playing while I suffered this outrage.


And even after she forced me back into my pants and stood me back on the floor, I would continue to bleat my complaint with every fiber of my being, showing hot red cheeks to the world. I would rage until my blue eyes showed red as well, swimming behind a volume of tears that would run down my face and drip freely to the ground. I would take my complaint outdoors, back to where I was first accosted, venting my righteous fury to the heavens.

I wouldn't stop when Teacher Tom beat his drum, boom-boom, boom-boom-boom, boom-boom-boom-boom, but my body would at least respond to its by now familiar message, even while I protested my recent indignity.

I wouldn't be myself again until we were seated on the blue rug, singing familiar songs.

Man, that would really piss me off.

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1 comment:

Danette said...

this is fantastic! it really made me think about all of the sort of artificial things/transitions that we put children through every day. stop start - stop start - hurry up - all day long. thanks for getting my day off to a great start.

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