This morning my youngest RADish made some poor choices that led to his not being able to ride to the bus stop with his father on my husband’s commute to work. The boy loves taking the bus. To make a long story short, that meant I needed to drive him to school. The boy hates being driven to school. We had to leave in about forty-five minutes.
For over thirty of those forty-five minutes, the front door was repeatedly slammed, I was called a “fucking BITCH!” and a “fucking RETARD!” and assured that I was “hated,” as in, “I HATE YOU, YOU FUCKING BITCH!” I also had various objects thrown in my direction, but only one made contact. Bored of slamming the front door, he then retreated to his room in order to slam both his bedroom and closet doors, repeatedly, while continuing to shout the unpleasantries listed above. Over half an hour of this. God, our poor neighbors.
This was not an atypical morning. The child who regularly gifts me with woe can’t help it. He is our youngest adopted son, age 12, a cute, blonde, wisp of a boy, short and slight for his age. Due to profound neglect and abuse during his infancy and early toddlerhood, the lad carries a soldier’s duffle bag of trauma (though we, his parents and brothers, have the PTSD). He suffers from reactive attachment disorder (known as “RAD” in the online, early-trauma communities of mostly mothers wringing our hands), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. His therapist believes he may also have borderline personality disorder, but she isn’t sure yet. With or without it, that’s a lot of disorders.
After he calmed down, he didn’t apologize, but he did sheepishly ask me if he could “stay home and play my keyboard today?” Believe it or not, I had actually considered giving him a “mental health day,” as Lord knows we all need one from time to time… but the violence and the name calling and the doors hanging on for dear life made me change my mind. Frankly, small as he is, I fear him during his meltdowns. So I said, “I was thinking about that myself, but I wonder if you would try to murder me?!” His response:
“Oh, I wouldn’t have the guts to do that…” quite coldly, with the emphasis on guts.
Have you seen the British indie film, “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” with Tilda Swinton? If you haven’t, do. Brilliant film. It might still be streaming on Netflix. Anyhow, Kevin reminds me a bit of our youngest. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean. Afterward, if you are a praying person, you will send one up for us. (I’ve quit faith since the adoptions.)
I managed to get him in the minivan (which was a miracle since he kept reminding me, “I HATE SCHOOL AND I’M NOT GOING, YOU FUCKING BITCH!”), and instructed him to sit in the very back (sometimes he throws things at me while I’m driving, so I hoped to better my chances of not being hit), and then I unwittingly ran over a suicidal ground squirrel who aimed for the front, passenger side tire. (Maybe the squirrel adopted her squirrellets?) Anyway, FML. I walked him into the school and with amazing composure, if I do say so myself, handed the receptionist a month’s supply of his afternoon Focalin. I even made small talk– yaaay, me!– drove home in tears, and then copious tears as I passed the smooshed ground squirrel. Then I went into the house to retrieve my pack of “emergency cigarettes” that I keep in the front, right side of my sock drawer under my Christmas socks. The goofy reindeer wink at me, keeping my unhealthy secret. I know I shouldn’t, but I took one out and smoked it outside on the porch swing. (We don’t have a porch, but I don’t know what else to call it.) Then I came inside and made another cup of tea, emailed his teacher to ask if she knows from which student he stole the Nintendo DS we found in his room, and then I decided to start this blog.
I feel numb.
…and that, my friends, is half a morning of My RAD Life.