Boxing Day

In the clearing stands a boxer 
And a fighter by his trade 
And he carries the reminders 
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down 
Or cut him till he cried out 
In his anger and his shame 
"I am leaving, I am leaving" 
But the fighter still remains 
                                                Paul Simon

Today was the battle Royal over taking a shower. Warning, spoiler alert, Aodhan wins.

So the day rose bright and sunny, and so did we. Except that Aodhan rose a little smelly too, after several days without bathing, and a 13 hour bus ride. He said he would. He took his clothes in the bathroom. He turned on the shower. He hid in the bathroom with the shower on for 23 minutes. The bathroom has a frosted window, so I could see a blue coated blur hiding. I got him out. He said he had a shower. I disagreed. He tried again. This time he changed his clothes and wet his hair and his boxers. He said he had a shower. I disagreed. I said if he didn’t take one, I was going to have to give him one. I knew it would be a wrestling match, and I hoped he would finally give in. I had his backpack off him, both sweaters and shoes and we were working on getting into the bathroom. By this time he had bitten me hard enough to draw blood, and left my wrist bruised and twisted and the rest of me pretty sore too. 

He flipped over on his bed and kicked out the window. I heard the glass shatter. I heard the glass falling three stories into the courtyard. I heard this trip getting more expensive. I heard Aodhan getting more our of control than ever. I heard the streets calling my name when they kicked us out. Why, why on the first day here. I felt like collapsing. And the knocking at the door brought me back. “Get up”, I demanded of Aodhan. “You need to apologize, you need to say sorry”. He was thrashing. I dragged him down the long hallway to the door. I opened the door, shaking, tears flowing down, “Sorry” Aodhan said. “It wasn’t supposed to happen”. “Lo siento, I said, “yo pagar por la ventana” (i’ll pay for the window” They were so nice, so kind. “don’t worry, we just want to know you are ok” They came in and sat with me and brought me water and cleaned up the glass while I watched my rabid child lunge and snarl at me. I had to wrestle him back down onto the sofa many times. They called Yesenia, and she came over. Aodhan was more settled, and I had gotten him to start drawing but he was still extremely agitated. 

Yesenia called her husband to come over and help me. He stayed for four or five hours and helped me with Aodhan. I washed both of Aodhan’s sweaters and his coat and many of his clothes and hung them out. We went to a local swimming pool and Aodhan was happy to go swimming. He is glad to do that every couple of days. Right now, I guess that is going to have to pass for baths. He is glad to let me wash his hair in the sink too, so I guess it’s not all bad.

Going to the pool wasn’t that bad. A troop of soldiers and a squadron of new police recruits were training in their tiny speedos and sungas. That was a little bonus for my difficult day. Sorry - no photos for that one.

Aodhan swam and then went back to the change room to change. I finally had to go in and help him (too bad the army guys were done changing). He was trying to do the Mr. Bean trick of putting the new boxers over the old boxers and then putting his pants on and then getting rid of the old boxers, but his legs are just too long and he was trapped in a awkward position trying to get the old ones off. We got them off and I just shook my head. In case anyone hasn’t seen the skit of Mr Bean changing at the beach...

I no longer try to figure out why he does things. He just does. I no longer wonder what I did wrong that life is so difficult for him, he just is going to make it that way. I am trying the “aspie” diet, basically no wheat, no dairy. We have pretty well stopped wheat, and will stop dairy as soon as the butter chicken is finished. 

Aodhan took his pill that evening with no problem. He just looked at me and said “hey, if I take it, then I don’t have to take it anymore”. Wow! I thought, hope he continues this sentiment.

When I talked to Greg, I asked Aodhan if he wanted to go to bed. He nodded. He didn’t want to hear me tell his dad the story. I hope that is a good sign.

The next day, Aodhan wanted to go downtown to Plaza Aramas, the main plaza. I noticed that he had put his pants on over his pajamas instead of changing them. I told him we could go when he took off his pajamas, and put his bag of new little airplanes and trucks that I had bought him yesterday away. I said he could take the toys in his backpack, but the giant packaging cardboard and plastic and plastic bags had to stay here. I promised I wouldn’t throw them out. I decided to wait it out. 

I said he couldn’t watch TV. He turned it on. I turned it off. He turned it on. I turned it off. He pushed me out of the way and turned it on. I turned it off. He shoved me and pushed me and turned it on. I unplugged it. He screamed and belted me across the head and then across the chest so hard that it knocked the wind out of me. I collapsed. He looked angry, but also a little scared. He came over to me and put his hand softly on my shoulder and said, “breathe, you have to breathe. Open your mouth.” He opened it for me. “Like this. Do you want some water?” I nodded. He poured me a glass and put ice in it. He gave it to me. I couldn’t help but think of an abusive husband. 

After that he left the TV off. Finally about 3pm, I realized that he was becoming content to just sit and wait it out. He had pretty well even stopped complaining that we weren’t leaving. I realized suddenly that the longer I left him in his pajamas, the longer he would get used to the situation of staying home, but getting to wear his pj’s.  All he said now was “i’m not wearing any pjs.

I went over and took a photo of his pjs sticking out from under his pants. I held it up to him and he pushed me away and said he didn’t see it. I told him he needed to change. I told him that he was going to lose his bag of toys until he changed. He pushed me hard. I grabbed the bag and wrestled it away from him. Many of the toys went flying. I grabbed up the bag and what I could and Aodhan hit me. He belted me so hard I fell over. I could feel my back, my kidneys, I knew I was going to have to watch for internal bleeding, that night, the whack he gave me was that hard. He hit me a few more times across the head and shoulders. I held the bag of toys and tried to protect myself as best I could. I grabbed up the rest of the toys and stood. He demanded the toys back. I told him that boys that do that don’t get toys back. I grabbed his sketchbook too. I put everything in my locked bedroom. Aodhan chased me and hit me again. I turned and stood and faced him. “Bigger, stronger people than you have hit me harder.” I will not give back toys to a boy that hits me. I took that last few toys from him and put them in the bedroom too. He was somewhat stunned. It was not the response he had wanted or expected from me. He was looking to bully me into compliance through fear, and I did not show fear. Yes, I showed physical pain, I was crying, yes, I fell over, but each time, like a boxer, I got up. The Japanese saying “Seven times I fall down, eight times I get up” kept playing through my head. He had hurt me fairly badly, and he knew it. I looked straight at him and repeated a sentiment that I had said several times before. “If you put me in a hospital, or hurt me so badly that I die, you will be left alone here, and they will probably put you in a prison.” He was scared and I was angry at him, but I still felt sorry for him. He was scared, and confused at his own behaviour. He was feeling lost. 

He sat on the couch for another little while, and then got up and went to the bathroom to change out of his pjs. He then demanded his toys and sketchbook back, and demanded to go downtown and go-karting. I told him he had lost the items for hitting me, and I couldn’t take him downtown because it was too late in the evening, and we couldn’t go go-karting because I was sore from being hit.

We walked to the grocery store, and Aodhan asked me if he could go to the park instead. I told him yes, no problem. He ran back to the park.

 Aodhan sat on the couch, and ate the feijoada that I had made him. Then he ate a mango. He has been going through a phase where he tackles me if I try to peel a piece of fruit, or try to eat the last bite of something. When I peeled his mango tonight, he came over and said, “I guess mangos don’t have feelings, they aren’t living” I agreed with him. “I guess it’s alright to cut up mangos, because it doesn’t hurt them. Don’t cut up any living thing”. “Like a cow I asked?” “No, no, I love steak” Aodhan replied. “I mean a plant that has feelings”. “Promise”. I said. 

Aodhan and Alice. She is the house pet. She is the friendliest nicest little dog. Aodhan is warming up to her. At first he was disappointed she wasn't a cat, but he was nice to her. Every so often, he says, "she's a really nice dog, she doesn't even smell bad". In the picture, Aodhan is holding the bag of toys and packaging that he wanted to drag everywhere. Every time tensions begin to rise between Aodhan and I, Alice is at our door, barking loudly until she is let in now. She comes between us, and tries to get us to pay attention to her instead of each other. It is amazing the effect this little creature has on Aodhan. He stops and pats her or tries to encourage her back out because he doesn't want her upset.