December 20, 2010
Knocking at icicles
On Saturday, Little Biker Boy called to see if we could babysit him all day. “Ponytail is here too,” he said. We hadn’t seen her since the kids moved.
We had some nice moments: the kids were excited to see the Christmas tree all decorated, and Little Biker Boy bragged about how he had picked it out. We unpacked the Christmas village that goes under the tree: they loved playing with the houses and trains and little figures. They sat at the kitchen table and colored Christmas pictures for the front door. “Just like last year,” Little Biker Boy said. He loves traditions even more than I do.
But it was also a long day. The two kids acted out in the ways that they always have when they are under stress: Little Biker Boy had fits of rage, while Ponytail kept bursting into tears. The two kids kept yelling at each other. My own kids were out doing errands, so I was thankful my husband was here to help out. At one point, we just had to separate the kids: he took Little Biker Boy upstairs to read comic books while I stayed at the table with Ponytail.
It was pretty clear that Ponytail has had a tough few weeks. She cried and clung to me. She avoided my eyes when I asked questions. She kept saying, “I’m not used to living with my Dad.” Later she said that he’s mean, and that he yells at her and hits her. At her new school, there are four girls who are mean to her. She misses her mother. She wishes she still lived down the street.
My husband came up with a project: he needed the icicles knocked off the building he works in. So we climbed into the car and drove to his workplace. Little Biker Boy threw himself into the project with gusto and spent a happy half an hour whacking at the ice with a shovel. Ponytail didn’t want to help but she stood in a snowbank with me and cheered as ice came clattering down. She kept picking up icicles to suck on.
Back at home, Little Biker Boy helped me build a fire. The kids went outside to sled on our front hill, but kept fighting so much that I wanted to toss them both into the snowbank. Finally, Ponytail came in to sit with me, while Little Biker Boy grabbed the shovel and cleared the edges of the driveway. When he came in, he said, “I feel better when I shovel.”
By suppertime, we were all tired. We stopped at a pizza place. “Can we call you Mom?” Little Biker Boy asked. They love that game. They took my hands as we walked in, and kept calling me “Mom” the whole time. They managed to fight over the pizza: I can’t even remember what that argument was about. Little Biker Boy told me about the fight he’d had with his mother that morning: she’d slapped him in the face.
As difficult as the kids were, it was even more difficult to take them home, to drop them off and return them to what can’t possible be a good situation.
I wish I had a different story to tell.
Posted by jo(e)