Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Flipping Frenzy

As David’s verbal communication skills have improved, he gets much less frustrated.  He has an easier time expressing his wants, making comments, even yesterday asking Andrew, “What’s wrong, An-roo?”

He still has difficulty expressing himself verbally when he is mad, though.  Actually, he manages to get the message across, words or no words.  I can always tell that he is upset; he just does not truly believe that I understand the severity of his emotions.

When he was younger, we sometimes used a “How I Feel Wheel” on which he could indicate his emotion by turning the dial.  These days, however, the wheel is long gone and David sometimes feels the need to get creative.

David was really upset with me a few days ago and as is often the case, I cannot even remember what had happened.  I often ruminate on how I wish I had handled the situation differently, or tried to be more patient.  I can almost always recall how David reacted, but many times thankfully I cannot remember what precipitated the “event” in the first place.

Rest assured, David was angry as we found ourselves in the front hall of our house.  I could see David looking around and I was trying to anticipate his next move when he moved toward the light switch.

On, off.

On, off.

On, off went the outside lights to our house.  I asked David to stop, while suppressing a smile.

David became more distressed at my reaction.  On, off, on, off, onoffonoffonoffonoff.  He was flipping the switch faster and faster, watching my response.

Now, it was almost dark and there are a lot of walkers in my neighborhood.  I hoped no one was outside our house at that moment, especially not our next door neighbors who walk their new puppy several times a day.  I can only imagine what they must have been thinking.  Did they speed up, thinking there was some sort of electrical short, just waiting to hear the loud buzz that would plunge the whole neighborhood into darkness?

Maybe they stood in the street, hand poised on their cell phone trying to decide whether or not to call 9-1-1, perhaps imagining me at the base of the stairs, yelling something along the lines of, “HELP.  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.  Except that I have been able to reach this lone light switch to call out for help in an illuminated frenzy."Or maybe David’s rhythmic flipping of the switch was actually his distress signal and our neighbors were patiently trying to decipher his frantic message, in Morse code, of course.  Please come rescue me as I am displeased with my Mother.  I am furious with her and she just doesn’t understand, so please come quickly.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Well, no one came to the rescue—mine or David’s and we eventually figured it out for ourselves.   I do feel sorry for David, though.  It must be frustrating to be that upset with someone and have no way to really express it.

I must admit I am dreading it, but the day that David turns on his heel, storms off to his bedroom yelling over his shoulder, “Mom, I hate you” we will have made progress.


  1. I love your last sentence. My son hasn't got there yet, but he has said: "What kind of mother are you?!" Like he knows a think or two about motherhood at the age of 8.

  2. Hahaha I have to say I've wondered the EXACT same things when Brian went through the phase of having to switch our lights on and off several dozen times before he'd go to bed (another ritual that just seem to disappear one day).