First Born

Being the first born carries a special weight to it. Of course, I may believe this because I am an oldest child. I am, in fact, the oldest child of two oldest children.

I am the “test run” of two “test runs.” We are all the children of first-time parents, people who really did not know, in any material sense, what they were getting into. Some of us fared better than others.

I married an oldest child.

I am a glutton for punishment.

We have five oldest children (including our first born) living under one roof. As it turns out, that is exactly four oldest children too many.

We all want to be in charge. We all believe, on some level, that we are in charge, all the time. Picture Clash of the Titans…on Steroids.

As you can imagine, this causes no end of conflict on certain occasions…most occasions.

Something is not right. Something has broken and I don’t know how to fix it.

Grand Master H has the metabolism of a coked-up hummingbird . The kid simply can’t get enough calories in any given day. Some days he eats 6 eggs. Yup, my four year old can put away half a dozen eggs. In one day. He is a ball of energy. He hops up and down most of the day. He is enthusiastic and sweet, but he can fall apart when not tended to regularly…like every two hours, without exception.

Since last Thanksgiving, I have set alarms (every two hours) to make sure that he eats regularly and eats enough. This level of vigilance is really getting to me.

I think that I have failed him on such an epic scale and I have no idea how to remedy this situation.

The consequences of not feeding him every two hours are dire. He wails like a wounded animal. He cries uncontrollably. He screams. He rages. He spits. He hits. He kicks. He repeats a single phrase over and over and over again until the syllables become blurred and soaked with tears, mucus and frustrated rage.

He tells me he hates me. He tells me I am stupid. He tells me to shut up and get out of the house or the car. He tells me to go live in the green area.

We have had him tested for diabetes, hypoglycemia, etc.

The day we had to take him for his blood tests is tattooed on my memory.

I was not able to get him dressed because he kept ripping his clothes off. I waited in the car with him while Mr. Smith went in and checked us in. As soon as I let him out of his car seat, he skittered to the far side of the back seat and crouched on the floor.

He curled up there, crying and wailing, begging me not to take him into the lab to have tests. “I don’t want to have the test” he yelled over and over again in a chant. Until the crisis somehow passed, that would be his personal mantra.

I tried to go to the other door to get him, he scampered to the opposite side. And so it went for several more attempts on my part to retrieve my terrified son. He begged me to just take him home. And I wanted to do just that, more than anything.

Finally, I climbed in the back seat and dragged him, in my arms, out of the car. He hit me and kicked me. He slapped my face and screamed into my mouth as I tried to calm him. He had to have felt he was fighting for his life, the poor thing.

It was taking everything I had to hang on to him and keep him from falling to the pavement. I gave up on the idea of shoes. I was carrying my wailing child into the office barefoot, clad only in his pajamas.

I can’t even imagine what the other people in the waiting area thought of us, thought of our child, thought of our stellar parenting skills.

I don’t know how many other people were there, I was so focused on keeping it together. I felt so overwhelmed, so helpless and so scared. I knew I had to do this. I knew we had to find out if there was something wrong with him, but the process required to find that out was so daunting.

The phlebotomist was amazing and got the necessary blood drawn without incident. I looked at his little face and he just sat there, stoic and weeping.

He got through it. We got through it.

We got him doughnuts. We bought him toys. But he still gets nervous when we drive near the location of the lab.

I felt wrung out and exhausted. I wanted to go home and crawl under the blankets and stay in bed for the rest of the day, for the rest week. But I could not do that, I can never do that, no matter how much I want to.

I am the oldest child. I have to take care of everyone. I have to take care of everything. I am the one who is responsible for holding everything and everyone together.

Yesterday, it happened again. The screaming, crying, raging went on for about half an hour. Sometimes it goes on longer…up to an hour.

So, every two hours, the boy’s food alarm goes off on my phone. I stop what I am doing and begin negotiations with H before he falls apart. The clock is always ticking and I can hear it.

I am getting really tired of it.

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