Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Can't Wait Until I'm Eight

     Many of you are aware of my trepidation and uncertainty regarding Ian's baptism. I was concerned because I know that he's not accountable for a lot of what he does. I was concerned because I know he's deathly afraid to put his head under the water. I was worried that he wouldn't act appropriately and people wouldn't understand. I didn't need to worry.
     After talking with Scott and my father-in-law regarding the accountability issue, I decided to talk to my bishop also. All three of them said the same thing. They said that Ian needed the blessings of having the Holy Ghost with him all the time. My bishop also pointed out that God is the only one who can determine a person's accountability and He will do so in a completely fair manner. He said it was our responsibility to make sure that ordinances are performed so that a person can benefit from the blessings. The way he said it helped me to calm down and understand that this was a good thing for my son.
     At the last minute, I decided to go ahead and have Ian baptized on the stake baptism day, which was September 11th. The day before that was his birthday.
     His birthday was one of the best he's ever had. He woke up bright and early at 6:15, ready to open his presents. Surrounded by his groggy family, he ripped paper and tore into his bounty as only an eight-year-old can. I thought for sure he'd refuse to go to school, wanting to stay home and play with his new toys, but I was wrong. He wanted to go to school. He was excited for me to bring treats for his class so that they could celebrate with him. Thank goodness I remembered. I didn't think I'd make it to his class in time though, becasue I forgot my wallet at the store, but luckily Harmons takes checks and didn't ask for I.D.
     In the afternoon we took Ian to Chuck E Cheese with Joe. Having one friend instead of a bunch of hyper boys was perfect for him. Everyone played arcade games, including Tawni and Beka, who gave their winnings to Ian so that when all the tokens were gone, he had almost 500 tickets to turn in. He was so happy and so appreciative. He and Joe played together until evening and when it was time for bed, Ian fell asleep in my spot, snuggled next to his dad. I didn't have the heart to move him so I left him there and slept in his bed instead.
     The first words out of Ian's mouth the following morning were, "I'm getting baptized today!"
His joy and excitement were palpable. He was hyper and stimulated from the get-go. But he never misbehaved. He was good as gold and his happiness was contagious.
     We went to the church early so that we could take pictures. Somehow Ian managed to smuggle a giant pink Slinky and tiny toy monkey into the building. The Slinky made a grand entrance, bouncing off the ceilings of the hall and foyer with joyful abandon. The monkey behaved better; it knew that screeching was not allowed in church. But when the Slinky tried to bounce and fly into the chapel, it was apprehended and jailed inside Tawni's purse.
     The baptism program took place in the chapel. Three other children were being baptized the same day and they, along with their dad's, took a seat on the front row. Ian was not capable of sitting. He crawled across the bench, wiggled, squirmed, sprawled across his dad's lap and then stood up. He walked to the wall next to the podium, and grabbed the ledge with his hands. Lifting his feet off the floor, he proceeded to hang and crawl along the edge using his hands. He has amazing upper body strength because his feet never once touched the floor. I was horrified and entertained at the same time. What I couldn't understand is why Scott wasn't stopping him. And then I saw it. My mother-in-law was taking pictures, causing Ian to do it even more because he had an audience. My children were crying they were laughing so hard. I just shook my head. What did I expect?
     Once the program started the kids had to go up to the stand and receive their Book's of Mormon. As the speaker introduced them Ian pointed and hollered, "Mom! There's Julie!" He started waving frantically at his friends and me until I acknowledged his efforts. After that he decided he was bored and bent in half over the ledge, arms dangling towards the floor, while the other three kids stood reverently beside him.
     Our primary chorister, Mary Beth Sheppard, called on Ian to help her with some songs. She gave him a card to hold. When he lifted it up high, everyone needed to hum. When he put it down, we had to sing using words. Ian was very excited to be helping and climbed on the bench to stand up so that everyone could see him better. He held the sign high over his head and we all hummed. He put it down and we used words. He got that gleaming sparkle in his eyes and... hum, sing, hum, sing, hum, sing, hum, sing... in rapid succession. The smile on his face said it all. He was having the time of his life and so were we.
     When it was time for Ian to be baptized, we all journeyed to the primary room where Ian's Grandpa and Uncle Peter acted as witnesses. Scott led Ian down into the water and my boy clung to his Dad with a death grip. He was so scared to go under the water. But he did it, although I seriously doubt he'd have done it for anyone other than his dad.
     Back in the chapel, all those who turned out for this event wrote messages to Ian, notes for him to save and help him remember this day. While we were writing he came galloping back into the chapel, hair dripping and sticking up, and resumed his wiggliness on the bench.
     During his confirmation, I wish I'd kept my eyes open to watch him but I didn't. I was informed by others that he kept looking up at the many different hands on his head, and scanning the room around him. I doubt that he heard one word of the blessing, but by this point, I knew it didn't matter. Ian hearing and understanding wasn't the important thing taking place. When it was over, everyone expected hugs from my boy. Ian doesn't do hugs, not without a lot of prompting and bribery. He tried to escape but Scott is quick and let him know that people needed handshakes or hugs. He hugged his dad and his grandpa, the rest either got a high-five or a hard-pumping handshake.
     This entire baptism process didn't take more than 45 minutes. During that time, I worried a little about Ian's behavior, but after a while I knew it just didn't matter. There was a feeling that overshadowed all worries, all hyperactivity, all wiggles. The feeling was joy. Ian was filled with it, his family and friends felt it, and I know the Savior felt it. His love and happiness bore testimony to the rightness of what was taking place. As I observed my son, I knew that everything he did that day was smiled upon. No one judged or disapproved. They just loved this special child of God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Marking Instinct

     I'm having trouble finding humor in my everyday life. My children, other people, myself--none of us are funny. Most of the time I find the company of others downright irritating and I can't wait to retreat to my safe place; the chair in the corner of my bedroom with a permanent butt print on the cushion. Once there, I can immerse myself in novels or mindless computer games so that I don't have to do any thinking. I can block out the chatter and noise of others as well as the voices in my own head. I fill the emptiness I feel inside with cookies and lactose laced foods. In spite of my intestinal distress, I've gained five pounds.
     I must be depressed.
     But today, a small ray of sunshine broke through, and his name is Ian.
     Ian has been home from school since Wednesday. He always gets sick shortly after school starts in the fall. It began with the pukes on Tuesday night and progressed to a major head cold and cough. He's feeling better today, because he has lots of energy, but he sounds terrible and can't seem to stop wiping his nose on the furniture. He also takes about four showers a day. The hot steamy air helps to clear his sinuses and loosens the chest congestion so that he can hack up a bunch of snot. Lovely, I know.
     I had a bunch of errands to run today, aka lunch with Julie while watching Big Bang Theory. When I got home, my sister, CoCo, who was watching Ian, told me his appetite had returned and he'd had a shower. I went into my bathroom to make sure the shower was turned off all the way. Ian usually doesn't push the tap in far enough and the water drizzles for hours until it's discovered. The tap was off this time but there was a washcloth over the drain. I took my foot and scooted the wash cloth off the drain. And the sight that greeted my eyes should have blinded me forever. Instead, it made me laugh. It's so Ian.
     My drain was stuffed full of poop.
     I proceeded to question my child about his improper plumbing usage. He denied it at first.
     "It wasn't me."
     "You had a shower in my bathroom. I know it was you. Why did you do it?"
     "I don't know."
     "Where are we supposed to poop?"
     "In the toilet."
     "You are forbidden to ever shower in my bathroom. From now on, you will have baths."
     I donned my hazmat suit--rubber gloves, bandana over the face--and armed with a plastic spoon and a paper plate, I proceeded to extricate the excrement. A half-gallon of bleach and twenty gallons of water later, the drain was as clean as it would ever be.
     While I was cleaning out the drain, I wondered, why do boys do what they do? I know mothers everywhere have pee-pee and poopy stories about their sons. Just last week I was at Julies house. She had Legos on a towel next to the kitchen sink and bleach scented the air.
     "What happened?" I asked her.
     She proceeded to relate an experience involving Colby, the Lego bin, and urine.
     The first time I caught Ian peeing in the backyard I said, "We don't pee in the yard!"
     He replied, "Grandpa does."
     I've had foster boys who thought the closet was a commode, and one child never did use the toilet. He liked to stand on the edge of the tub and spray away.
     Ian and Joey both have deposited turds on the Palmer's lawn. They wanted to be dogs.
     Girls don't do these things. What is it about boys?
     I don't think human males are any different than their animal brothers. They all seem to feel an uncontrollable instinct to mark territory.