Gideon has this strange effect on me…
There is a tiny – okay, maybe a huge – chord in me that trembles when I am dealing with him. Chalk it up to 4 1/2 years of dealing with the unpredictable. Will what I say in response to him “work” or will it result in a 2-hour fit and discipline-fest? Will he do what I need him to do in this public venue or will he absolutely leave me hanging and lookin’ like an all-out idiot?
Now, to be fair, those fit days are long gone. For the most part, I can almost work with him when he finds something disagreeable or frustrating. And the fact that I just said “for the most part” and “almost” points right back to where I’m going with this in the first place, that tiny (huge) part of me that just can’t trust that Gid the Kid is going to respond in the normal and predictable way.
The only thing predictable about this kid has always been his unpredictability.
He makes you think, he does.
You have to try to outwit him.
And I may be witty, but by golly, I’m not very witful.
There is a physical area right underneath my ribcage that belongs to him. When he is being kind and adorable and lovable, the little unseen organ that resides there just throbs with happiness and pride. But when he’s doing his unpredictable thing, it clenches up, his little 4-year old hand holding it like a vise as he silently challenges me to “Try to figure this out Mama!”
He is still in this intense drawing phase. When I walk into a room, it is like a scene out of “A Beautiful Mind”, sheets of paper falling off of every surface. A few months ago, he couldn’t draw or write at all; today he is a coloring prodigy.
And when he wants something on his paper that he can’t draw, like a giant pirate ship or a fire-breathing dragon, he asks a grown-up to do it for him. Which is fine…
But I can’t draw.
I can copy alright, I can trace wonderfully, but I cannot spontaneously make images in my head appear on paper. On the contrary.
It gives Gideon the perfect opportunity to challenge and control me.
“Draw a shark.” he asked one day, shoving a piece of copy paper in my face.
“Gid, I can’t draw a shark.” I said.
“Just do it.” he said encouragingly.
“Gid, I don’t know how to. Mommy is not very good at drawing.” I apologized.
“Just try” he laughed. “It’ll be okay”
“Gid, I can’t.” I replied. That spot in my chest goes into delirious mode as it begins to hysterically laugh while sustaining a strong urge to beat on something at the same time. Its like hyperventilating on the inside.
“Just do it.” he said. “If I like it, I’ll point my thumb up…and if I don’t like it, I’ll point my thumb down. Do it.”
“Ugh!” I grunted and started drawing a tail.
“That’s not how a shark tail looks,” he cut in. “It should look like a half-moon. Here, I’ll draw a tail and you can draw the rest.”
He did, then handed the paper back to me.
I proceeded to draw an awful body, ending with an awful head, an unimaginative eyeball and a straight, ugly mouth.
Gid took one look at it and a giggle popped out of his mouth.
Then he fell over laughing.
Straightening up, he looked me in the eye and put his thumb up in the air…
(“Thumbs up!” I thought. “How sweet!)
and then slowly turned it upside-down.
He forced me to draw a shark and then he gave me a thumbs down.
This kid is going to land me in the loony-bin.