The Funnel Effect

Yesterday was a good day.

Milo and I met some friends at a nearby water park. We planned to get there when it opened, but I got lost (the Maps on the iphone 5 suck) and had to feel my way. Milo was surprisingly patient as I made the same wrong turn twice. He walked barefoot through the parking lot, waited in the ticket line and then wisely went to the most popular and most aggressive ride first, before the line built up. I hate amusement park rides of any kind. They make me nauseous and disoriented. Knowing this and knowing that the most exciting rides require double riders, Milo found another single rider and made his own fun.

We were at the park for more than 7hours and he never once complained. He rode every ride that interested him, ate lunch calmly, took it in stride when he found out that the snow cone booth wasn’t open and even made a new friend while jumping off the side of the pirate ship. In the soak zone he choreographed a “3-D” movie using the curtain of water that fell over the fiberglass couch. In the wave pool he positioned himself on the edge of the whirlpool line so he would feel the tug but not quite get sucked in.

His favorite ride was the Dragon’s Den because it is pitch dark and includes a large, fast funnel. Milo loves the surprise of getting caught in the swirl and then dropped into the light of day.  It’s a metaphor for his frustration, his confusion and his rage. But if you ask him,  he’ll tell you that the funnel “is just so AWESOME!!!!”

He was cooperative when it was time to leave and gave me a thoughtful interpretation of the new Macklemore song about marriage equality and gay rights.

“People  love who they love and they should get to marry whoever they want to marry. Well, except that you shouldn’t marry someone who is blood related to you because then your kid might only have one eye.”

We stopped for gas as a menacing thunderstorm moved in. Milo, who is ironically unnerved by stormy weather, was encouraging as we drove through the pounding rain. “You’re doing a great job Mommy.” After taking a long look behind us he said, “It’s dark where we came from, but there’s blue sky ahead. So I’m just going to keep looking forward Mommy.”

Today was a bad day.

Milo woke up wanting to play Minecraft but it wouldn’t load on our computer. This caused a screeching meltdown that led to him asking us to find a way to kill him that “wouldn’t hurt too much” because his life, “has no meaning.”  All before 9 am.

By 10 o’clock we were on our annual 1/2 day canoe paddle with close friends on a lake we love. While zipping his life jacket Milo discovered the emergency whistle.

“What’s this for?”

“You blow that if you need help, if you’re in distress.”

“But I’m always in distress.”

We’ve had a record amount of rain and the lake bottom was particularly squishy. Milo’s attempts to muck around in the water were more arduous than carefree and he hated it. He went in and out of the cape, uncomfortable in either place. Eventually he blew his whistle. We towed him back to the dock.

There was screaming over food, his wet bathing suit, the indignity of being alive.  There was a shower of stomping and fury.

Then, miraculously, Minecraft loaded on my phone and we had a short reprieve. But a visit with some out of town friends meant Milo climbing all over my husband, chewing on my husband’s clothing, complaining loudly, rudely and incessantly about . . .what? It wasn’t exactly clear. What was clear was the fact that Milo seemed desperate to crawl out of his own skin. And this discomfort swirled and funneled into rage until Milo bolted from the house with his hands over his ears yelling about Buffalo wings.  My husband went to dinner without us and I took Milo home.

Of the 15 hours that Milo was awake today, 10 of them were spent in distress. Imagine the racket if he had an actual whistle on him the entire time.


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