Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

Raising a special needs child is not for wimps.

We’re fighting today. Don’t ask me why, it just started off on the wrong foot.

First I heard him in the kitchen trying to talk Brad out of the milk.

Brad said, “No, you can’t have all of the milk. You can have some of it.”

He said, “Come on Daddy Brad.”

“I said you can have some of it,” Brad said.

“I want that milk!”

“You can’t have all of it.”

Then I heard him heading back into his room grumbling, “Hmmpffff! Sermon Man!”

So I turned over and went back to sleep. You think I was getting into the middle of that? Not on your life.

I guess it was around 9:00 when Brad left for church. He said, “Charley, I’ve got to go to church.”

Charley said, “Not me.”

Of course I had to go and stick my big nose in. “Oh yes you are,” I said.

“No not.”

So it comes time to get ready for church. I’ve got his pants, his shirt, his underwear or “wonderwear” as Charley calls it, and his socks all laid out for him on the bathroom sink, and of course, 2 towels. Charley likes 2 towels and he doesn’t even care if they are wet as long as he has two.

I say, “How’s about shaving the other side of that beard for church son?”

And he says, “No thank you.”

So I say, “It’s about time for your shower.”

“Or what?” he says.

“It’s not wise to have a smart mouth, now get out of the bed.”

“No.” He pulls the covers over his head.

So I reach under the blanket and tickle his toes.

“Get away!”

I say, “Son, you coming out from under there?”


“I’m not going to hush until you get up and take your shower.”

I stand there a few more minutes. Someone is not budging.

So I say, “Hmm, there seems to be a rock there in the middle of the bed, a big lump and look, it’s underneath a Superman blanket!”

No response.

I go and get his batter operated Superman toy and turn it on. It’s a most annoying toy that just keeps saying “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SUPERMAN!” Now why don’t they make a toy with a cape that yells “It’s SUPERMOM?”

I can personally say that this particular Superman toy has caused me some grief. He had left that toy in the car and I guess I hit a bump in the road or something and it must have some sort of short in it because I’m driving down the road when all of a sudden I hear this voice out of nowhere saying, “Look! Up in the sky!” You get the picture. But the problem was, I was the only one in the car, and the toy was in the back seat, and I couldn’t reach it. It just kept saying the same thing over and over again. Come to think of it maybe I do have something in common with that Superman toy.

I tried to turn the toy off when I got home but couldn’t get it to stop. Finally out of sheer frustration I threw it into the bushes. “There! take that!” I said, and went into the house. The problem was, I forgot about it. I don’t know how long it had been in the bushes, but it had settled in pretty deep and I wasn’t about to reach in and get it out, not with all the wasps buzzing around, so I just left it in the bushes. Well, one morning on our way out to the car the toy went off and Charley heard it and begged me to get it out. As in put my hands into the bushes with the morning cobwebs and spiders? No way.

“Pleeeeeeeze mom.”

This of course meant that we would listen to that stupid toy all the way to the doctor’s office in the car, but well, I caved in and got a stick and poked at it until it fell out onto the ground.

Now the toy lives in his room again. It doesn’t go off all the time but when it does, it seems to be when I’m in the house alone. I hate that toy. Except this morning I’m hoping the toy will be on my side. Perhaps it can irritate my son enough to get him out of bed.

I put the Superman toy next to him on the bed and it’s yelling the superman thing, and that should do the trick, but nothing. Nada. No movement whatsoever. Alright, it’s time to play dirty.

But what will I do? I know, I’ll get that backscratcher out of my room. No, he doesn’t have an itchy back, it’s just that there’s a little red string on the end of it. So I reach over and start to tickle his ear with the string.

He swats at the string but doesn’t open his eyes. “Mom, there’s a bug in here,” he yells as if I’m down the hall.

I don’t say anything, I just stand there real quiet and then reach over with the string and tickle his nose.

Another swat.

“MOOOOOOOM, I said there’s a bug in here!”

Sooner or later he’s going to open his eyes. I tickle his ear one more time and this time he opens one eye and sits up. “I MAD!”

“Well yes indeed, now out of the bed buster.”


“You’re gonna be sorry if you don’t hurry up.”

“I not going.”

“Okay fine, but you aren’t going to see Cameron unless you hurry up.”

Charley likes to sit with Cam and Beth during church.

“And you’re not getting a surprise today if you don’t get yourself to church.”

That should do the trick.

I go back into my room to get ready.

The next thing I know, he’s sound asleep, snoring.

It’s my fault really, I’m in charge of his pills on Sunday mornings and I forgot to give him his 9:30 dose. What this means is that his behavior won’t be very nice when it comes time for church, so I decide to leave him alone thinking he’ll sleep through church, and I sneak out the door closing it quietly behind me but first I pick up the cat and put her in the laundry room so she won’t sneak out when he forgets to shut the door behind him, if and when he decides to get his rear end out of bed.

I slip in to the pew and look at Brad who is giving me his famous “You’re late” look.

Ronald is in rare form this morning. He’s leading the singing and stops at one point to ask if anyone has any song suggestions. A tiny child’s voice comes from the back of the church. It says, “No.” Everyone is laughing.

I look over at Dianne and she’s pointing to the back of the church. There underneath the table in the foyer is my son. Hiding. He does that sometimes.

I go back and fuss at him for wearing his muscle shirt because he knows that’s not allowed, but at least he’s at church, and I’d rather have him here than at home, so I tell him to come with me and we sit down in the pew, and I'm finally able to give him his pills.

He fusses because I don’t have any water. I say, “Just chew them.”

“My teef Mom,” he says, pointing to his teeth, indicating that he can’t chew his pills anymore, but since I don’t have a bottle of water in my purse I tell him he can either swallow them or wait until he gets home, and since he’s a show-off and wants everyone to know how grown up he is, he pops them into his mouth, and who’d’ve thunk it, he’s chewing them and the next thing I know, he’s scooting past me to go across the aisle and sit with Cam and Beth where he proceeds to blow his nose on a Kleenex and then throw it at Brittany. I know, that’s about the most disgusting thing you’ve ever heard, right? Me too.

Well this just grosses everyone out, and he looks over at me for my reaction, and then moves his eyebrows up and down like Groucho Marx.

I mouth the words to him, “You’re in big trouble mister.”

He sticks his tongue out at me but not boldly, because there’s a technique to sticking out your tongue at your mom so that only you and she know you’ve stuck your tongue out.

Brad starts the sermon.

Charley gets up and comes across the aisle right in the middle of the sermon and says, “Mom, you got me a prize?”

Are you even kidding me?

“Sit down,” I say.

He sits down.

A few minutes pass by and I’m not happy with something Brad has said about me in his sermon, so I’m fidgeting, and here we go again, Charley is beside me talking into my ear.

“Mom, you mad at me?”

“I’m not happy, now sit down.”

“No not.”

“Either you sit down right now or I’m going to move over and sit with you and Cam and Beth.”

He sits down.

Lets see now. Am I mad? He hasn’t taken his shower. He came to church in his grey muscle man shirt which he knows is forbidden. He’s gotten up every 3 minutes to talk to me during his Dad’s sermon. He’s launched a used Kleenex in Brittany’s direction. You think I’m mad? You tell me.

Finally, Brad is in front of the church giving the Benediction and Charley’s standing right beside him glancing over at me. They start to walk down the aisle and Charley comes over to me and puts his arms around me and gives me a big squeeze.

“I did good in church Mom!”

I glared at him. “You are in so much trouble,” I say.

He sort of gives a little kick in the air and then squats down and puts his hands up in sort of a Kung Fu type of motion.

“Are we Kung Fu fighting?” I say, and I kick my foot in the air and then squat just like him and put my hands up in the martial arts position. It occurs to me that
he must have been watching the Karate Kid movie again.

“Come along grasshopper,” I say and we head off down the driveway towards the manse.

Once inside the house he disappears into his room for a while; he is too smart to ask me for a surprise. He’s bigger than me but I could flatten him like a bug if I wanted to and he knows it, but I usually use my tongue as my weapon and it can be razor sharp when I want it to, and he’s not about to get a tongue lashing, so he’s going to let the dust settle I guess before he ventures out to test the waters.

He has 2 TVs that are both the same size. I don’t remember when or where he got them or even the circumstances. I only know that he has two of them and can never settle on which one he wants to watch, so throughout the day he switches them back and forth about every half hour. It makes me exhausted just watching him. When he gets tired of one he brings it down the hall, puts it on the floor of the work room, switches the clickers, and picks up the other one and takes it to his room. Charley has well developed muscles and hasn’t spent a day in the gym but that’s because we don’t have a gym nearby. I’d take him if we did, but oh well; I guess if you don’t have a gym nearby you can always haul TV’s back and forth down the hall.

Each time he has switched his TVs today he has peeked into the den to see what the climate is like. Is it chilly in here? Is it fair to partly cloudy? Is it fixing to rain all over his parade?

I glare at him. He stands in the hallway and glares right back with his arms folded.

Neither one of us speaks.

When he’s had enough of staring he comes into the den.

“I get my prize now?”

“Do you think you deserve a surprise after the way you acted at church?”


“Then you would be wrong,” I say. “Did you take your shower?”


“Liar, pants on fire!”

He laughs.

“Were you supposed to wear your muscle shirt to church?”


“Give it up son, you’re busted.”

“Warry Mom.”

“Did you throw a Kleenex at Brittany?”

“I play game.”

“It wasn’t funny, son.”

“Did you stick your tongue out at me?”


“Yes you did, I saw you.”

“I play game.”

“So you think you deserve a surprise?”


I say, “No.”

He says, “Don’t tell me no, you TV back at Marcy house.”

He’s talking about the television I recently brought home from Marcy’s house in Louisville, and is threatening to take the TV back to her house, not that he has a means of transportation but that doesn’t phase him in the least.

So he stands there. Waiting. Brad walks by the den and looks in. “What’s he doing?” he asks.

“I think he’s waiting for a surprise,” I say, “But it’s going to be a long wait because in his words, he’s not getting “NUTHIN’!”

A few minutes later I hear the shower. He emerges completely clean, having changed his clothes and he’s twirling his dirty underwear on the end of his foot and flinging it across the hallway. It reminds me of when he was a toddler. We were in the mall in New Orleans and he took his diapers off and started running. Everyone was pointing and laughing and at one point he picked up the diapers and twirled them around and they sailed through the air and landed in a man’s lap. Nothing much has changed since then.

“TADAHHH!” He says, and jumps into the middle of the room.

“Better,” I say, and give him a hug so I can get close enough to him to tell if he’s really been in the shower or if he just stood outside the bathtub while the water ran and then put on clean clothes. His skin is still damp; that’s a good sign. It appears that the water actually landed on the body.

“I clean Mom.”

“We’re all relieved, son.”

“Now I get that prize?”

“Sorry, it doesn’t work that way son.”

“Karate chop!” he says, assuming the Karate kid position again. I’m not sure, but he just might render me helpless.

“Go ahead, chop away,” I say, “I’ve already lost my mind, I may as well lose my head too.”

“Comeone, Sherry! Gimme dat prize!”



“You’re a sight,” I say.

“You a psych,” he says. As in psycho?

I turn my attention to the computer and start writing.

“Sherry honey,” he says.

“Stop trying to sweet talk me,” I say.

“Mommy darling.’”

“It’s not working,” I say.

“Mommy honey,” he says.

“Look at you, begging me for a surprise when you know you’re not going to get one.”


“Because your behavior in church was not acceptable and you know it, that’s why.”

“I good shower mom,”

“Yes, but you were supposed to take your shower before church, not after.”

He’s quiet now, thinking this over, I supposed.

“You me my butter,” he says. (Meaning “You melt my butter.”)

“Ignoring you,” I say.


Uh oh, now the insults are gonna hurl.

“Nurse!” (That’s the kiss of death in Charley verbiage.)

“Bad teef homan!” (I think he just called me a bad teeth woman – that’s the first time I’ve heard that one).

“Take that back!” I say.

“Mommy…I warry.”

“Apology accepted.”

He goes and gets the basket of dried flowers that’s sitting on the mantle.

“Here Mom, for you.”

“Thanks son, and they smell so good too!”

“Now you got me a prize?”


“Well boo on you.” He says.

“Well Kung foohey on you!” I say.

He turns and blows me a kiss and then gives another Kung Fu kick in the air.

"Right back atcha," I say.

"Hmmmmffffpppfff!" He disappears into his room. "Hummmpppfff!"

Brad walks by the den again. “He’s in rare form today, huh?”

Yep, the kid is a real kick.

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