Life with Paul
February 1977
I found myself curled in the fetal position, moaning softly, this morning. Paul is alternately the neatest kid around, and the most impossible child in the world. His enthusiasm for Little League (which he has yet to begin) is really great. He is so cute, setting off with his bat, glove and ball to practice with Grant, his newfound friend. Today is his first real practice and when the black clouds formed yesterday afternoon, he was in tears for fear this week's session would be rained out too and that he would disgrace himself in his first game because he hadn't had a chance to practice.

Today is Paul's class play, in which he has a fairly large part (as a rabbit). We have been trying to get a costume together for him, with much frustration, many tears, and a lot of yelling. Nothing suited him. Long-Johns felt too rough and he didn't like the sleeves; if he wore Jeri's sleepers, everyone would laugh at him because they would think he was a girl; he couldn't find the right shirt and pants to wear. It went on and on and on for days. No matter what I suggested, he had some reason for not wanting it. Finally, I told him he'd have to go without a costume, which sent him screaming, "Everybody hates me! I'm going to kill myself!" up the stairs. A friend saved the day by suggesting Paul could borrow the monkey suit Ned was wearing in his play. Ned's teacher reluctantly agreed and Paul was ecstatic.

He has also been having trouble with his clothes. He has "nothing to wear." Yesterday it reached the height of absurdity. He had a pile of clothes 18" high to take upstairs. It included about 10 new shirts that a friend had given us. And he was standing in the family room crying that he had no shirts!! When I pointed out, somewhat angrily (i.e., I was screaming at the top of my lungs) that he had 10 brand new shirts, he fumed that he wouldn't wear them because they smelled funny! Today it was pants. Suddenly every pair of pants he owns are either too big or too small. No matter that he was wearing them just last week, he suddenly has no pants that he feels right about wearing. I dread having him get ready for school in the morning because for the past week it has ended up with our screaming at each other every single day.

Earlier this week, he and Walt were to go out to buy his baseball mitt, another disaster. They tried every single mitt in three different stores before finding one that suited him--one that was identical to about 20 others that he had tried on before. The first time out, he waited excitedly for Walt to get home from work. He had spent the day before sharing his excitement about Little League. That afternoon we had taken his new bat (a gift from Walt and me, since he was so excited about the new activity and since we don't often have a chance to do special things for Paul) and I had gone up to the park with the boys and spent over an hour pitching to Paul and just generally having a good time. He was so happy and jolly. Then Walt rushed home from work so they could go and buy his mitt. At Davis Lumber, Paul could not find anything that he liked and he came home in a snit--nobody liked him, everybody hated him, nothing good ever happens to him, and he just has bad luck.

What a frustrating kid!!

1999 Note:  I wouldn't mind going through this again, if it meant having Paul back again.  

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