If I were crazy enough to go into Sean’s room at 3am and switch on the lights, in the stupor of sleep he would pull himself up by the crib rails like a drunk. Then squinting like Clint Eastwood and teetering in a desperate search for balance, he would rub his eyes and automatically say, “It a prit-ee day Mommy!”
“It’s a pretty day Sean! It’s great to be alive!” Those are the first words spoken around here of a morning. From the time that we brought him home from the hospital, I would get him out of bed with that simple phrase. And it has stuck. It could be raining rusty nails and he would exclaim, “It a prit-ee day Mommy!” Not a bad attitude if you ask me.
Up until recently, it has been Sean’s nature to be a happy, friendly, outgoing little guy. He has always been quick to shout “Hu-woe!” to everyone he sees. That was the old Sean. The new Sean doesn’t really like people and is repulsed by the general public.
Whereas before he would give a big smile to the greeter at Wal-Mart now he sulks and scowls and hides his head under his arm. Whereas before he could not care less who played with his toys, now he acts as though his arm has been severed if someone dare to touch anything of his. Things that come under the heading “His” include but are not limited to the following: everything.
I remember as recently as this past spring being at the mall playground and watching a mother with a child in this stage of development and thinking smugly to myself, “That poor dear woman. Pity she doesn’t have a delightful child like mine. I wonder what she’s doing wrong.”
Having a child will make one grow fat eating, gorging, scarfing, slurping, guzzling and chowing down on one’s own words. One’s own words have a surprisingly bitter after taste.
While at that same mall playground yesterday, I sat watching my formerly delightful precious miracle of life shoot laser beams out of his eyes at the other children. When he wasn’t busy issuing the look of death, he was busy howling and crying and running to me any time someone dared look in his general direction or brush past him. Excuse me (burp) — a little arrogance indigestion.
As we drove home from the mall, we came to a stoplight. Sean looked across at the car that had pulled up next to us and started wailing and pointing, “Mommy I don’t want those people at my pretty day! Make them go away from my pretty day!” Never before have I appreciated car windows as much. The idealistic-teacher mother that lives in me, but is usually napping, wanted to calmly explain in a soothing sotto voce that what makes a day pretty are people and that without people, it wouldn’t be a pretty day, but a lonely day.
But then the tired-cynical mother who also lives in me and who is given to biting sarcasm said, “Well, Sean, I’ll see what I can do about getting them off the planet.”
Sean doesn’t want anyone at his Wal-Mart, his playground, his public thoroughfares or his pretty day which leaves him with two promising career options: monk or recluse.