Now that he’s five, he thinks he has all sorts of rights. He forages through the pantry right before dinner and begins late-night projects involving tape and dental floss.
You know what we do about that? Nothing. Because we’re a little bit afraid of him. His Screaming Meanie whine is like an electrical current piercing through my eardrum and exiting through my eyeball. I seriously would rather eat ants than ever hear that noise again.
It’s not that we don’t punish him. But we save the serious repercussions for serious infractions, like when he touches Mommy’s computer. Unless the babysitter is here. When the babysitter is here, we allow her to do whatever she can to restore order to the household. The other night, the babysitter called to tell us that the Pterodactyl had slapped his little sister in the face. I could hear him crying hysterically in the background. But we solved the crisis. She put him in our bed to watch television for the evening. I’m sure he thought that if he had only stabbed his sister with a pencil, he could have gotten ice cream, too.
But despite his ornery, peculiar, mischievous ways, he is a very, very sensitive child. He likes perfection. He abhors change. If I was to say to him, “Honey, you and Daddy are going someplace very special tonight. You’re going to a restaurant where they only serve hot dogs, french fries and chocolate chip muffins, and they show Phineas and Ferb reruns all the time, and they give each child a kitten,” he would say, “I just want to go to Target.”
So the idea that he wants to see a picture of his birth mother tells me that he is changing how he thinks about himself. He’s my little Mama’s Boy; I’ve always had the feeling that he just wanted to crawl under my shirt and live in my boob for a while. While he still sees himself as the center of the universe, he’s beginning to understand that the center encompasses more than just him. It includes a woman who could have kept him. And didn’t.
We are eternally grateful to his birth mother for making the brave and selfless decision to allow us to adopt our boy. We understand her decision. We respect it. One day, the Pterodactyl will, too.
But not now. Now, he will see a picture of a beautiful young woman who looks like him, holding his tiny face next to hers, and he won’t comprehend the complexity of the situation. He won’t see us, his parents, who chose him. He’ll just see her, his birth mother, who didn’t. And that makes me sad.