13 or so years ago, I delivered a healthy baby boy. The pregnancy and his delivery were not without their fascinating complications but my son survived and we’ve been creating his tale ever since. There have been a few twists and turns during the development of this plot but I never thought it would turn in to a who-dun-it. Turns out the plot is not all that complicated as typically he is the who that has dun-it. Case in point ? The mystery of the open, half consumed, hastily stashed bag of marshmallows. My son stars in this little tale of intrigue. Think Inspector Clouseau or those really dumb burglars in Home Alone and you’ve got the picture.
Now I can tolerate many behaviors in people. Being of a quirky turn myself, I try to be as open-minded as possible. There are those that would say differently but if they knew what I REALLY wanted to do and say most of the time, they would quickly honor me with some kind of trophy or award. Honestly – to live in a world where so many people have lax morals, never mind poor spelling and even less attention to hygiene is taxing for the holier-than-thous like me. It’s a wonder I survive… It’s also a wonder that more people don’t smack me out more often but such is life.
Two behaviors I cannot tolerate are lying or stealing. Especially if either of these things is done to me or my stuff. Both of these behaviors will send me off the edge even if it’s happening to someone else. When it is my own flesh and blood trying to get away with these deviant, selfish, nasty, low-brow, horrible behaviors well let’s just say a sack of oranges is never far from my mind. Did you know that you can whale on someone with a sack of oranges and it doesn’t cause a bruise but hurts like hell ? I’ve never tried it but it comforts me that such punishments exist. The penal system is really wasting its’ time with rubber hoses and the like. Oranges are where it’s at. Urban legend or not, you don’t need a licence or a waiting period to buy citrus.
So it is with this comforting thought in the back of my mind that I approach my gangly, freckled boy with the evidence of his treachery. I keep marshmallows in the house on a regular basis as they make a fantastic, low-calorie, no-fat snack. If you take 5 or 6 of them, put them in a bowl and microwave them for about 1 minute or until the centre of the gooey mess starts to turn golden brown – you’ve got yourself a little treat there my friend. In my innocent, sugar fueled, teenage years a friend shared this with me and now I’ve passed it along to my kids. No doubt it will give us all cancer or rot our teeth but we’ll go out with a smile, toothless though it my be.
I found the evidence of his marshmallow mis-deed stashed in our dry goods cupboard. Now if you have committed some type of infraction that YOU KNOW is going to send your already high-strung parental unit in to orbit, don’t you think, in the interest of self-preservation at least, that you would try to hide the said evidence a little better ? But no – in typical Aspie / ADD fashion he tosses the open, rapidly diminishing marshmallows on the bottom shelf of a shallow cupboard that we all go in and out of several times a week. Now I will admit that given that half the bag is already missing this has either been going on for a bit and I haven’t noticed, or he has super-human powers of marshmallow consumption and the stomach of a goat. While I can consume legion-sized amounts of sugar, even I would go in to a coma based on the number of marshmallows missing. So it’s not bad enough that he took the marshmallows, he also failed to somehow tie the bag shut thereby rendering the rest of the purloined white fluffy nuggets of yummy somewhat stale as well.
As I advance on the boy with the evidence held aloft, he is on the phone. He pauses, eyes the evidence in my hand and smiles. Not a happy to see you smile, not a love my mother smile but a nervous where has she stashed the bag of oranges smile. This would be an acutely accurate type of smile for this situation. I HATE lying and stealing. HATE IT! And he is well aware of this fact by the virtue of trying to get away with it previously and my yelling with a bulging vein in my forehead about how much I HATE lying and stealing. I’m not too fond of those that do it either. While I assured him that I still loved him and always would, I also made it crystal clear that I did not like him very much at that moment and liked the behavior even less.
I go in to the kitchen to collect myself and work on dinner which was not a meal I could walk away from to grab the bag of oranges to work my frustrations out on the boy . I completed the meal to the point that I could potentially whale on him with some citrus and called him in to the kitchen. In clipped, clear language I explained the folly of his ways and the consequences of his actions should this behavior continue. I was in control enough of my faculties to note that we were eye to eye. My boy was looking me in the eye. Oh sweet Jesus in Birkenstocks – he is old enough and tall enough to look me in the eye ! If he is willing to risk the wrath of his slightly unbalanced mother over marshmallows what the hell am I going to do if (I hesitate to admit when) he moves on to bigger and more stupid choices ?
** Here is where leaving a post for a few hours rather than finishing the thought at the time becomes problematic. Within that last paragraph, a prophesy was made. Inadvertent, unwanted and unexpected as prophesies can sometimes be, it was made all the same. This shall have to be left for another post but I shall leave you with this little cliffhanger: in the space of less than 12 hours he managed to accomplish the impossible and fulfill the prophecy of moving on to bigger and more stupid choices. Let’s just say it involves the age-old down fall of men through out the ages: boobs. **
But back to marshmallows and eye balls.
So my 13 year old boy, of whom I have taken good care I might add, has grown to the point where I have to look him in the eye to chastise him. Lucky for me, he does not recognize that this is significant. He does not see that I am any less the authority figure because he is on the verge of exceeding me in height. I am apparently scary enough to overcome this physical hurdle. Bag of oranges aside, I am still in a position to inflict discomfort on my son and this is where the fun begins. Due to his bone headed decision to once again (last time it was cookies) purloin treats, he has lost them for the rest of the week and was grounded to his room.
Now this doesn’t sound like an especially serious punishment I’m sure. However, aside from the secret of the oranges, I have another secret weapon: my husband. Once he is advised of the marshmallow debacle, he is on the prowl. His diabolical mind starts churning out the means of payback. And it goes like this: we regularly go to downtown Oakville for beautiful, organic, BBQ’d sausages followed by ice cream for us and a cinnamon bun for my milk-allergic son. Today ? He got to eat lunch at home and then accompany his sister and father on the foray for sausages. He also got to sit there while they enjoyed a little bit of cold heaven in a cup as the tantalizing waft of cinnamon drifted out of Cobbs bakery to help remind him of the error of his ways. I have to give my husband props – this was truly genius. Now had I not ended up with a migraine today, and had a new batch of stupid not sidetracked me, I had planned to bake cinnamon buns at home. However, this would also punish me as I am trying to lose weight (again) thereby rendering it a really effective torture on me which was not the point.
Now I realize in the grand scheme of things, taking forbidden marshmallows is not a huge deal. No one died. Nothing irreplaceable got broken. No flashing lights came screaming up to the front door as they’ve done at my neighbours. However it is about truth and responsibility. It is about respecting the rules of our home and those that pay for the damn marshmallows in the first place. It is about teaching my son, who has social challenges to begin with, that there are consequences to behavior and choices to be made. He was advised last evening that if this 6 year old behavior continues, he will be treated appropriately. No more going garage sale-ing Saturday mornings with his friend Jeffrey. No more being allowed to swim with friends and no parents. 730pm bedtime. Fewer TV choices. The list went on and his suitably horrified face suggested he was grasping the situation. He also knows I am a big enough bitch to make it happen.
So a couple of things might happen after this. He may stop the behavior and therefore minimize the amount of time he is spent grounded or otherwise punished. He may move on to more spectacular feats of stupidity and try in his bungled way to cover them up. Or he may finally grasp the concept of lying like the proverbial rug and hiding his tracks effectively so that he is more like the main character from Mission Impossible instead of the aforementioned Home Alone series. My hope and suspicion is that it will be the middle choice. That my intelligent, creative, Aspie boy will continue to blunder his way through puberty butchering the truth like the Barber of Seville and hiding his tracks like a drunken bear. At least this way, I’ll know what he’s up to before it gets more serious than marshmallows.