Midsummer Night’s Dream or Nightmare?

Technically, we have a couple of weeks to go until the official middle of summer, but with all three boys home with me full-time, some days feel like the Fifth Circle of Hell, home of the wrathful and sullen. (I should really read Dante’s “Inferno”. Someday.) Let’s start with a little heaven first.

There are now two teenagers living in The Zone. Wild Thing turned 13 in mid-May 2012. There were small celebrations at home and at school because the Big Bash was coming up:  WT became a Bar Mitzvah on June 2, 2012, and he exceeded our greatest expectations. Over the last year, WT gave up almost all of his outside activities and interests to study for his Bar Mitzvah. In the beginning, I had my doubts whether he would master the cantillations for Torah and Haftarah (readings of prophets), but WT’s mastery of the tropes, the services, the prayers, the speech, blew me and WineGuy — and all our guests — completely away. For those in the know, WT led Friday night and Saturday morning services, chanted four full aliyahs and the maftir, chanted a complete Haftarah, and gave an intelligent yet funny d’var torah (speech). Finally shining on his own, WT performed and excelled with ease. WT’s bearing through the entire Bar Mitzvah weekend reflected the best of our genetics:  WT was (and still is) poised, funny, relaxed, prepared, affable, friendly, warm. He is everything we hoped he and his brothers would be. WT further showed his responsibility by finishing the last of his thank-you notes last weekend, one month after the Big Bash. My heart bursts with pride for WT!!

Moose extends my little slice of heaven a bit further. He hit double-digits in February 2012. He is smart yet goofy, worldly yet naive, handsome yet smelly … a typical 10 year-old boy. Moose accomplished something this year that his brothers never have:  he earned straight As on every report card this year! The Snooty School moved Moose up a year in math and provided him with advanced curricula in language arts and reading. Moose really rose to the challenge and excelled in every class. Most marking periods, Moose earned more than the maximum number of points available because he mastered the material and earned all the extra credit, too. Moose began playing the saxophone this year. He loves the instrument but not enough to practice regularly. Moose practices his piano lessons a bit more regularly but still not often. Regrettably, Moose’s piano teacher, who used to live up the street, moved out earlier this year; it was so convenient for the kid to ride his bike to his weekly piano lesson. Moose also played basketball in the youth league at the local park again this year. His height and modest athletic ability serve him well, but his coaches have run the gamut between mediocre and excellent. I think he should play in a more structured league to receive better coaching. Moose has a wonderful sense of humor and has inherited my ability to mimic voices and accents. He also has become quite an accomplished organist (origami aficionado), folding every scrap of paper into wonderful, whimsical creatures. (I’ll post some photos later.) This summer Moose and WT are enjoying various different day camps around town. They both would have liked to go to sleep-away camp, but, for the life of me, I cannot get my husband to commit to camp ahead of time. Weird.

My nightmare is Wizard. He just turned 16. Need I say more? He thinks that he is smarter than his parents, that he is more capable of parenting than his parents, that he is the moral authority in the house, and that he is right all the time. At 6’3″ and 225 lbs, it’s physically impossible to challenge him, yet he pushes us constantly. Our sole recourse is to call the police and have him arrested if he physically threatens any of us. WineGuy and I have instructed WT and Moose that they are free to call the cops on Wizard. Wizard’s aggressive behavior has made us prisoners in our own home:  everything is always about him; no one can get a word in edgewise. He is enough of a threat that we can no longer leave the younger two boys with him. Therefore, WG and I haven’t been out together, without one or some boys, in months. We’re struggling to plan a summer vacation because we don’t want to be stuck in a car or on a plane with Wizard. His behavior is that bad. Months of counseling haven’t helped a damn bit, and I’m seriously contemplating switching therapists. Living with Wizard is truly the 7th, 8th and 9th Circles of Hell:  he is violent, a falsifier, and a traitor against his home and family. I wish I could send him away, but I refuse to waste any more money on him. Wizard won’t get a job, won’t do what is asked repeatedly, won’t tell the truth, isn’t diligent about schoolwork. At this rate, it is unlikely that this brilliant child will even get into a 4-year college. What a waste. What a strain. What a complete pain in the ass. What a way for a mother to speak about her child. Right now, I wish he’d get the hell out of my house.

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