Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mothers on the edge

The most sensitive boy I've ever known is having a great time. He's in the mad stampede to gather the pinata candy, happily grabbing lollipops and plastic kazoos with a huge mangled Clifford hanging over his head, for the moment having put aside concerns about itchy tags, being bumped, and the large echo of the room. Life is about candy right now, and survival of the pushiest is the rule, His mother is relieved that he's happy, and even more relieved that there have been no tantrums thus far. It has been a smooth day. Her patience for his sensitivities runs low when other kids are acting so "normal," and she is slowly believing that since he began kindergarten, he has turned a corner and life might just be okay after all.

And then it happens. In a slow motion terrible turn of events, my husband leans over to pick up candy for the smaller kids and the cold beer he has cradled in the crook of his elbow, dumps over the top of the boys head. There is a stunned silence between my mortified husband and the six year old who's huge blue eyes are now drilling a hole through my husband's head. A milli-second later, the hysterical squall begins, and of course, escalates into a full scale banshee scream. Just before I actually fall onto the floor laughing, I manage to knock off a few shots of the torturous event. Don't think my flashing a camera in his face, or the hysterical laughter of every adult in the room helps to calm him down. Of all the children in the room, for this to happen to this particular boy, can only be described as bad karma. Which is of course what makes it funnier to us "grown-ups" who are now behaving in a manner that should surely receive a strict lecture on being sensitive to other people's feelings from any decent kindergarten teacher. What really comes through in the pictures though, is the complete disregard for the incident by every other child in the room, who, by now, are doing complicated math in their heads, as they each divide the boys uncollected share of candy in their minds. To the herd of sugar hungry kids scrambling around the alcohol soaked floor, this means only one thing — more candy for us. The moment forever caught in megapixels shows a screaming six year old, with bad hair, amidst a scavenging crowd of his peers, and one forlorn mother in the background, knowing her idyllic party scene has just devolved back into every other day of her life.

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