Sunday, September 14, 2014

One Good Thing on a Night from Hell

Every once in a while we have one of those crazy nights where I feel like I seriously live in the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (the black family version).  On this night Red came this close (holds fingers together) to becoming homeless.  I went off the deep end! I was ready to explode completely. The whole house seemed to be going mad. But in the midst of all of the pandemonium, one good thing managed to happen.

Have I ever described my 2 teenage boys to you? Let's see, Red is about 5' foot 10" close to 11" and weighs ...a lot. Blue is catching up to him quickly at about 5' 9" close to 10" and he weighs ...a lot. I am about 5 ft. 1" and I weigh hardly anything.  I am so skinny. (Not!) But let's just say I weigh a hell of a lot less than either of them.

When the two of them go at it with their non-stop mouths, insulting each other, trying to intimidate each other, with typical sibling rivalry issues, it often turns physical with a quickness.  Blue is not afraid to smack the crap out of his big brother, but then he acts surprised when Red goes nuts in return. The next thing you know, what started as a silly sibling fight can turn into one of them ending up in complete meltdown and tearing up something in my house.  Sometimes I just let them go at it. Other times, when I know someone is already close to the edge, I try to prevent them going over.

We've all been a little done with Red over the past few weeks.  His antics in the house have been very disruptive and has everyone on edge and unhappy. He's been ranting about one thing or another and Blue has very little patience for that. The rants don't usually make a lot of sense and since everything needs to make sense to Blue, he feels the need to let his brother know how idiotic and irrational his thoughts are.  Blue often tells Red that his i.q. is much higher than his. He's in advanced classes, while Red was mostly in special education classes.

I will jump in when Red really has no defense, other than, "Shut up! You are not smarter than me!" I disallow Blue to use certain words against his brother like stupid and dumb.  I feel like these words are more hurtful than some of the curse words he uses.  I point out Red's special gifts.  The fact that he has a job, that he loves and is good at and is even working on developing his own business.  I point out the fact that Red is loving and kind to other kids with special needs.  He has a gift for working with and talking to seniors and has volunteered in a Senior Rehab center.

He's not dumb by any means.  He just focuses on what he's really good at and pretty much only wants to do that.  There's nothing wrong with that.

So on this night Red is ranting. Thee two of them are fighting.  I'm trying my best to juggle and keep them apart.  You go upstairs, while he is downstairs. You eat dinner, while he's doing homework. I need to go to the pharmacy but I'm afraid to leave the house for 10 minutes because all hell may break loose.  My husband is trying to stay out of everything, because his approach to discipline is the subject of one of Red's rants.
"Dad is a wannabe tough guy because he was in the military! The military is full of wannabe tough guys."
(This rant is based on some stupid video about a Marine who has become a police officer.  He clocks this guy for mouthing off to him and then says, "You're messing with a United States Marine! Don't disrespect me!")

He has somehow connected this Mr. Tough guy mentality with his father, who in his opinion often "soldiers up on him."  Of course, he makes no connection that we have spoken to him civilly over and over again, you know,  repeating don't, stop, quit, 2 or 10 times,  but we get no change in behavior.  We only get action from him when dad has to become Mr. Tough guy.

Red has told me straight out, if you have nothing to hold over his head, if he has nothing to lose, he will not listen to you.  Hence, he does well at work because he doesn't want to lose his job.  He doesn't make the connection that he has a soft place to land, to lose in this situation.  He is very close to losing the comfort of this home to live in.

On this night, as I am juggling to keep the boys apart, I am also trying to cook and serve dinner. I made two chicken breast especially for my husband. He doesn't eat wings which is mostly what I have prepared for the rest of us.  Red knows these two big pieces of chicken are specifically for dad.  But of course, he's like, "I want that piece!"
Begrudgingly, I agree to let him have one of the breasts along with his other pieces.

Shortly after, I have to leave the kitchen for a few minutes to talk to Blue.  When I return, you bet your butt Red ate ALL of the large pieces.  It was like he swallowed them whole because I wasn't gone that long.

I swear ...steam was coming out of my ears!  I was livid!  My husband who works hard to provide for this family, who had just returned from a business trip, would basically have nothing to eat because of Red, who pays for nothing in this house.  After all of the other havoc he was causing, this was just the last draw.

Of course this situation reminded me of Chris Rock, "Oh Lawd! You mean to tell me, you ate the big piece of chicken?!" Don't click this link this if you don't like profanity...

(*Also Warning if you are viewing this post from a smart phone you may not be able to see the link. Try it from a laptop or pc)

I make Blue get in the car with me, again because I'm trying to keep them apart.  I need to go around the corner to Walgreen's to pick up his allergy medicine. He can see how visibly shaken I am.   He's asking me why I'm so upset?  I basically blast him.

"Really? You're kidding me right? You two huge boys continually going at each other! Me trying to keep you from killing each other! And it's not all your brother! It's you too! You're like a moth to the flame! You have to get involved in every conversation. You insult him constantly! I'm sick and tired of all of it! To top it off...your brother just ate all of the dinner I prepared for your father! He has got to get out of my house! I'm done! I can't live like this anymore!"

This is a mild version of what I said.  My rant was laced with expletives and I didn't care.  Blue curses worse than I do, so he wasn't hearing anything he doesn't already know.  He was a little shocked to hear me using it.  I was between anger and tears ...completely falling apart.

When we got home I was ready to go upstairs and completely lay into Red. I was ready to tell him he has got to get the f*@# out of my house! Blue stopped me.

"Mom. Please don't go up there and lose it with Red. Can you please just take a second take some deep breaths and listen to this song?"
"A song! I don't want to listen to any song!"
"Please mom! Please! I promise you. Just listen to this."
I stopped. I listened.

His social skills teacher had showed him this video earlier in the day and now he was showing it to me. He made me stop before I acted.  Knowing that my actions would just lead to more explosion in the house.  It's like the saying, war begets war.  There was really no good to come of me exploding on Red who was already in an agitated state.  When he's like this, he's just looking for another fight and I was about to give it to him. 

The good thing was that I was able to reach Blue and he was able to reach me.  He did not engage with Red for the rest of the night and neither did I.  In fact, the following day when Blue came home from school, instead of going straight for the jugular with his brother, he was more patient and understanding. 

It will be interesting to see if he can stop and pull out the Mr. Rodgers song the next time he's ready to blow a gasket.