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Mom’s on her way here for a visit. I’m straightening my hair, doing the dishes and watering the plants. Those are not things that are being done because i am expecting my mother. Those are things done because it’s Sunday (well, not the hair straightening part, that comes simply when the mood descends).

This is actually the second visit in a short amount of time. Late last month we finally made it to her house for Christmas… I had planned to be there much earlier, but she had decided to go back to school. Again. Our original plans fell through as my husband and my days off are weekdays for the most part.

I don’t remember what the conversation was about at “Christmas” something about “if i ever turn into that sort of person, shoot me”

to which she added.

“Because lord knows you’d shoot me without provocation anyway.”

No. no, that’s not it at all. not without provocation. That. that right there. that’s provocation for me to shoot you. the provocation of consistantly, repeatedly, wantonly ignoring the fact that you say horrible things to me and then expect me to be your best friend afterwards.

alright, that wasn’t so horrible. that was an offhand comment. She’s said worse.

but then again, they are all offhand comments. every single one of them hurts. and what cuts even deeper is the fact that when i try to express it i get rebuffed. dragged back into the past and told to get over it. but i’ve said all this before.

Anyway, the dishes are done soaking. I’m totally gonna ruin my St Patty’s Day day-glo orange nails, but whatevs.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. First it took some time to find the courage to do so and then after that simply finding the time and the words i needed to use.

I was a tantrumy kid and i think in the end it will make it easier for me to cope with and comfort my tantrumy croc. my parents did not do well in handling my tantrums, in my opinion at least. maybe it was because they did not have the experience to draw from of being unaccountably upset by something that you can’t control your reaction to; of passing that point of upset into a realm where you can neither stop crying without some comfort nor comfort yourself. a vicious catch-22 for a child who’s decades from discovering Joseph Heller.

I feel i was deprived pretty consistently of that comfort i didn’t know how to express i needed. hell, i still don’t exactly know how to express what it was i needed back then or the emotions or events that led to the tantrums in the first place. maybe that’s why i’m so diligent about listening for the change in the croc’s cries from tantrumy to just needing comfort to settle down. when i hear it i hug her and talk to her and maybe when she’s older we’ll talk to each other about what set her off and how to avoid it next time.

I needed that, i know that much. it would have made it easier over the years. it would have improved me over the years. but instead i feel i got worse and worse until i grew to an age old enough to understand myself. old enough to exert the amount of restraint and control that was required… which is a lot. I have always said i am a ball of chaos covered in a thin layer of sanity. That thin layer has only been in existence since my early teens but it could have been there earlier and been a thicker coat of that calm sanity that i so desire.

But as it was i was a wild terror when things weren’t exactly the way i wanted. I guess i can undertand how, out of frustration, my mother hit me the way she did that ended with me living with dad. (though if we’re being completely honest, dad spanked me too. Though i still have not figured out the logic of inflicting pain as a means to get a child to stop crying) but that’s all on them, not me. I didn’t fully understand what was out of tune with me, and i never was given a chance to find out.

But there is one thing that lands on me. because just a few weeks ago i hit the croc. it was a slap to the belly with just my fingers and no harder than the bottom spanks i gave her a few months previous when she was in her biting stage. but the look of confusion on her face, because unlike the biting episodes she hadn’t been doing anything wrong. she was so surprised; her laughing, bouncing, goofing around-ness ceased abruptly and i was finally able to finish changing the severely dirty diaper which had been in danger of getting everywhere the way she was acting.

She would not stop no matter how i raised my voice, but i shouldn’t have hit her for laughing. even though the precise image of the expression on her face has faded, i remember how shocked i was at her shock. she forgave me; was chattering and laughing a few moments later, and has probably forgotten. But luckily for her, i have not. i cannot and i should not.