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It occurs to me, as I’m waiting for a late-night pizza, that I’ve not seen karaoke in a LONG time.

A cute, young, black man croons to some non-descript r&B/rap  song. He’s off-tune, but not as much as his smiley, spikey-haired counterpart. His dimples sell the song, so no matter, along with his tight-fitting designer jeans, which gyrate and thrust to the music …

Next up, a curly-haired duo, probably sisters.

“Everybody go sandbagging today?” the one on the left yells. There’s a loud “woo!” in response before they break into a monotone verson of “Just What I Needed.”

A middle-aged balding man in outdated round, gold, wire-rimmed glasses offers a flat rendition of  “Leroy Brown” that’s just, well,  karaoke. And it’s not good, dawg.

College girls text in the corner, nodding their heads in tune with the music, definitely a new addition to the bar scene since I”ve been a part of it.

Something that isn’t? Some desperate dude asking my name and whether I’m there alone. Guess I still got it.


Preface: Before lunch, he was outside. He came in soaked from puddle-stomping, despite rain pants and boots. I took off his soggy socks. He wanted dry socks, but I (somehow) talked him into eating barefoot. I told him we’d put on fresh socks after lunch.

Me: Simon, let’s go take a nap!

Him: NOOOO! Runs over and smacks his sister, who is dilligently coloring a butterfly cutout, on the head.  She starts screaming.  I try to grab him. He darts away, into the dining room. I corner him there. I try to pick him up, but he’s gone limp in protest, and he’s too damn heavy.  I’m going to have to bring out the sweet-talk.

Walking up the stairs, sing-songy: Siimoooon! I’m going up to see the Millennium Falcon! And read Goodnight Moon! I bet you can’t find the red balloon!

He’s intrigued. Walking toward the stairs. He’s there! I show him his bottle. Here’s your bottle! Come on, bud!  I’m backing up the stairs, shaking it in front of him. He gets two stairs up before he flips onto his back and starts screaming and banging his head.

Bottle! Millennium Falcon! Come on, tiger. Let’s go! Do you want me to carry you?

Carry me! I start back down the stairs. Nooo! I sit down, defeated, sigh and get up again.

Come on, Simon! Let’s go read books. Please? If I can just get him upstairs … I walk toward his room. He’s following me!

I wait for him in his room, sitting on the rocking chair. He stands outside the door, still silently protesting.

In the great green room, there was a telephone … Do you know where the telephone is? He points. Ha! Got him!

And a red balloon … Where’s the red balloon? Points again. I try to pull him up on my lap. He goes limp, slithering off my legs.

Socks! I want socks!

OK! I reach into the drawer and pull out a pair. I lean over, grab a pudgy foot and try to stuff it into a sock.


No socks? OK. No socks.

I want socks!!!! I bend over again.

Noooo!!! My patience is wearing thin. I wrestle the socks onto his feet. He inspects them for a while; decides the socks are acceptable.

And a picture of … the cow jumping over the moon! He’s still standing a few feet away from me. He starts grunting.

Simon, did you go poop?

Yes, change me.

OK. I lift him to the changing table. He kicks me in the face. I ignore it, take his pants off.

Put my pants on! I want the brown pants!! The brown pants!!

Simon, you were wearing the brown pants, and I’ll put them back on as soon as I change you.

Noooo!!!! The brown pants! He pauses, thinking for a moment. The gray pants! I want the gray pants!

The gray pants are dirty.

The brown pants!

These are brown pants. I wrestle them back on. See? They’re cool brown pants! They even have a little pocket! I rip open the velcro on his cargo pocket and crab a tiny car from the carpet. I try to put it in the pocket. Mistake!

Noooo!!!! I want to put THIS car in the pocket! The truck he’s holding is twice as big as the pocket.

Simon, that one won’t fit. Should we find a different small car?

No!! This one!

It won’t fit, Simon. Let’s finish reading Goodnight Moon. He grabs his blanket and reluctantly climbs onto my lap. We finish the book.

OK, Simon, one song.

I’m a little tiger, and my mommy loves me …

Big blue truck!

I’m a big blue truck and my mommy loves me, I’m a big blue truck and my mommy loves me. When she tucks me in and says goodnight …

Big black truck! This game continues until we’ve exhausted five or six vehicles.

OK, Simon, time for bed! I plop him in his crib.

Superbear! Where’s Superbear’s cape? Where’s the CAPE? Where’s the cape?!?! I pluck the red satin cape from the floor and affix it to Superbear’s skin-tight leotard. Simon smiles. I cover him with the yellow blanket and the green blanket, and leave the white blanket by his head.

Here, I’ll read the trucks book, then it’s time to go to sleep. I flash the pictures in front of his face as he begins to relax. Big rig, dump truck, car transporter … I finish the book and start out the door. See you later alligator! After while, crocodile!


I knew this was coming. I grab a few books from the table. OK. One more. Do you want the tow truck or the train book?

Tow truck!

I sigh and begin reading. I’m a big tow truck, and I like to help people …

I read the train book, too. I can’t stop thinking of how patient his dad is, how he always gets Simon to go to sleep without tears. Finally, it’s time to cut him off. Good night Simon! See you later Alligator.

NOOO!!! He’s definitely going to cry himself to sleep again. NOTHER BOOK! NOTHER BOOOOOOK!! He’s sobbing as I shut the door.

I go down the stairs and shut the door to the second floor. I stumble to my bed, put my hands over my face and try not to scream. I should probably go see the artwork Clare’s working on, but I really need to be alone right now.

So Simon is in special ed. I’m fine with, even happy about it.

His speech is improving. His fine motor skills are coming along nicely.

And today, we moved one step closer to correcting his crossed eyes.

So why do I spend so much time sighing?

Because his behavior, the thing that has frustrated us most, has not improved. He still hits, kicks, bites and head butts everyone he knows and even some people he doesn’t.

He bit his day care teacher so hard she got a round purple bruise punctuated by little tooth-mark hyphens. She was in his personal space.

He stabbed our beloved cat with a screwdriver as he was wheezing out some of his final breaths. The cat was the center of attention at the time.

Something is not right. I’ve tried everything I can think of. We have figured out some things, such as yelling never helps, even to get him to stop doing something that could hurt him. For instance if I yell, “HOT!” as he’s reaching for the stovetop, he’ll rush his hand there all the faster.

If he accidentally hits his head on, say, the kitchen countertop, he’ll lash out and bang his head some more on the floor. I don’t dare try to comfort him in that situation. He’ll head butt or bite me for sure.

We’re constantly walking on eggshells. The other kids are getting shortchanged. The geek and I are bickering over really stupid things.

So yesterday, I called Fraser, a center moms of special-needs kids seem to worship. He’s on a waiting list to be evaluated for Autism. That’s not to say I am certain that’s what it is, or even that the Fraser people think that. It could be something else entirely. But I want someone to tell me what it is, and I WANT HELP. I don’t know how to handle him. If he continues like this, he can’t possibly function in the real world.

I hope it’s something I’m doing wrong. I hope someone can tell me what to do better. But my gut says it’s something more.

I hear all the time about parents who are in denial, who don’t want to hear that something might be wrong with their child. Honestly, I have to believe those people are few, because right now, in the thick of it, I would do anything to find out how to help him. He’s frustrated and angry all the time. So are we. I want us all to be happy, and I really don’t care what it takes. If it means someone has to throw a label on him, fine. So be it. Label the hell out of him. Just help me help him, please.

But hey, it’s not all dark clouds and death around here! Check out the new kitty — he purrs and purrs and plays and he’s super-duper soft and yay! I think we all needed something cute and cuddly, and we found him. His name is Harry.