We made a quick trip to the local grocery store for a jar of mayo. Boo insisted on staying in the car while I ran inside. When I got back, I found him sitting in his seat with his chin on his chest. I asked him what was wrong. No answer. I asked again. No answer. "Booooo????" A small voice replied "I'm sleeping, stop bothering me." I stifled a giggle, then stage whispered to myself "Darn, I can't give Boo these chicken strips I bought him because he is sleeping." Grocery store chicken strips are one of his favorite things lately. Chin still on his chest, he reached one hand toward me and said with a sigh "I guess I'll take them. They help me to stop sleeping sometimes."
Back at home, Boo got busy playing with toys and imagining all sorts of games. His imaginative play is often structured like a computer game, complete with imaginary buttons he invites you to "click." I knew that the forecast called for storms in the evening. I noted that the clouds had begun to move in. Boo's normal
Boo: "Dad, do you like car number 2?"
B: "No you don't."
B: "Dad, do you like car number 2?"
B: "Why not?"
B: "Ok, Dad, the speed limit is 55, so you can drive that or slower. But not faster."
(Boo counts down and starts the race, and dad rockets around the "track" ahead of him.)
B: "NO Dad! You weren't supposed to go that fast!"
D: "I was only going 54."
B: "That's too fast."
D: "You said it was 55 or slower, so I went 54."
B: "No, it's only 5. I changed it."
The longer it went on, the more incessant Boo's chatter became. I was cracking up listening. Mostly because I was in a state of joy that there was another set of ears in the house again and it wasn't directed solely at me. Dad eventually went to attempt a nap before time for the barbecue. Next thing I knew, Boo was running circles around the house at top speed. He was a ball of pure energy, unstoppable and intense. I began to countdown the minutes till the barbecue began, longing for him to be able to run, climb, and pedal his way around the place.
Outside, the wind was picking up and the temperature was beginning to cool. I decided that Boo and I ought to change from shorts to pants. We changed clothes and I started gathering things together to get ready to leave. Boo wanted to take his toy Lightening McQueen with him but couldn't find it. He was screaming and upset, and refusing to go. It seemed like a meltdown was imminent, but suddenly he calmed and decided that rather than taking the plastic toy that had been on his birthday cake when he turned four, he could take the metal one he had been playing with just five minutes earlier. But we couldn't find that one either. It was a downright Lightning emergency. Finally it was located and we all headed out to the car.
For a while after we arrived, everything was perfect. Boo was playing happily. I was enjoying adult conversation. I realized I had forgotten to bring my dish, so I headed back into town to get it. On the way back I photographed this cloud bank moving in.
Shortly after I got back to my dad's house the wind picked up furiously and it started to rain. We moved inside the shop building, said a prayer, and began to fill our plates. Of course, there was nothing there that Boo would even consider eating. I had tried to get him to eat before we left home, but he only had three small strips of garlic cheese bread. He is usually content just to play outside while the rest of us eat but this time he was not happy about being cooped up in the shop. The floor in front of the shop doors was wet from the rain and Boo slipped and fell on the slippery concrete. He cried about his hip hurting, but soon got back up and insisted on walking back and forth in front of the doors repeatedly. After a few more falls I finally insisted that he stop walking in the wet area. So he decided to take up a campaign for going home immediately. He whined and begged the entire time I was trying to eat my meal. The main problem was that the seat of his pants was wet from his repeated falls on the wet concrete. But beyond that, he was simply bored.
I continually suggested that he choose from his selection of toys his grandpa keeps in the shop, but he refused. He decided that he wanted to play darts, and set about making the rounds among the family asking each one in turn if they were finished eating. He finally found someone to play with him and for a while his wet pants were forgotten. Later, as everyone was leaving, he found his tricycle and started riding circles around the shop at top speed, shouting "Look out, train coming through-woo!" I helped with cleaning up the place. But when it was time to leave Boo refused to get off the bike. It took repeated requests, and finally the threat of a swat to get him off the bike. He put it away but refused to leave. After having spent most of the evening annoying the daylights out of me begging to go home, when it was actually time to leave he was begging to stay. I had pulled my car around in front of the shop so we wouldn't have to walk far in the rain.
My husband was gathering our belongings as I attempted to get Boo to go to the car. He dug in his heels and his tantrum began to lean toward a meltdown. My nerves were hanging by a thread. The entire evening felt like a trial instead of a joy. I insisted, and he hit me. I swatted his backside and he hit meltdown status. I picked him up and asked my step mother to open the door for me. I carried him to the car, and had to force him screaming and flailing into his car seat. He was clawing at the seat belt trying to prevent me from buckling it, but I finally got it done. By then my husband was on his way out with both his hands full, so I opened his car door for him. As he sat down, Boo was furiously pummeling the back of the passenger seat with his feet and screaming like a banshee. I snapped at him to knock it off and he stopped kicking. As I walked around to my side of the car my step mom caught my eye from where she stood in the doorway of the shop and she remarked "You know, a wooden spoon works great for that."
I was tired, annoyed, stressed, standing in the rain, and ready to snap like a crocodile. I shot her the nastiest glare I could muster and shouted past her "goodbye Dad." Then I got into the car and drove us home. Boo continued his blood-boiling scream in the backseat for a couple minutes before it began to subside. He had smacked his finger on a table while pretending to be a train and now he suddenly decided this was a terrible injury. We arrived home and I got him settled with an ice pack on his finger and an episode of Spiderman and His Amazing Friends on the TV. He ate a bowl of cheese crackers while the show played, and afterward he happily transitioned to his bedtime routine and fell peacefully and soundly asleep. But the thunder in my mind and heart continued rolling long after the thunder outside faded into the distance.
"As the storm blows on, out of control...deep in her heart, the thunder rolls."
The Thunder Rolls, Garth Brooks