You Don’t Listen Right!

That proclamation struck me such a blow that I barely felt the punch in the stomach the next moment. If you only knew how hard I’m trying to hear you, Baby Boy, if you only knew.

It was medicine time…a normal part of the nightly routine and one with which we almost never have issues. Javan had already been frustrated because he received a spanking when he didn’t obey the simple verbal command to “Stop! Stop! STOP!” getting more lotion. So, he tries to dip his pills in the drink before he takes them, and I don’t allow this because then the pills get all slimy and slippery and icky tasting. But he tries it tonight anyway. I say, “No,” and move his hand away from the cup. His reply: “UuuuuuUUUUUuuuuuhhhhh! You don’t listen right!” (followed by the punch).

He’s trying to communicate with me in some mysterious way other than talking and I’m not getting it. And he’s realizing I’m not getting it. Ouch. He then declares that his normal pill-taking drink, chocolate milk, is not in fact chocolate milk at all, but coffee. I reassure him several times that it is chocolate milk. Nope, he’s not buying it. So I tell him he can take his pills with chocolate milk or nothing at all. I’ve had it by this point. He wisely decides to try the drink, makes a face, and declares it COFFEE because “it’s wet.” I look at him blankly and then decide that maybe I’m not listening right. So I offer him Gatorade and the rest of medicine taking time went off without a hitch.

Earlier today, we celebrated July 4th with a family gathering. Javan did spectacularly! There were so many people, and activities, and NOISE…and he did great! After swimming for several hours, he suddenly became withdrawn and began to cry. The crying lasted for quite some time. He refused to speak to anyone or give a reason for his tears and he became quite agitated with anyone trying to figure it out. A wise aunt asked the question, “Do you have to know why?” Well, I would certainly love to know why, but no, I guess I really don’t have to. In the swimming pool situation, there was nothing I could do to help because I had no idea what was wrong and he wasn’t open to suggestions. But with the chocolate milk, while I would have liked to know what was wrong, I didn’t need to. It was obvious that there was some sort of discomfort or another having to do with the drink, so I changed the drink. I listened without hearing. I listened without understanding. But I listened.


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