First, don’t get mad.
You’ll want to get mad because he is infuriating. You’ll want to scream and send him to his room or to time out or straight to hell, but I promise you this: This Will Not Work.
Second, keep away anything he can hurt himself or you with – knives, bats, cats, Transformers (those fucking things are sharp!). Hide the Wii remotes, his DSi, your laptop and try to get close but not too close because you thought it was a good idea for your gender-fluid little boy to learn taekwondo before he attempts to wear his punk-rocker chick outfits to school so he’s stupidly strong for a nine-year-old boy. Try to stand in front of the six-hundred-dollar flat screen TV your husband just bought so that when he does throw something, it hits you. You will mend. The TV won’t.
Use that soft sweetie-pie voice. Say you love him.
Tell him if he killed himself your heart would be broken forever. Forever. Because it would be. Tell him you would never survive. Because you wouldn’t.
Tell him he’s handling his strong emotions well, even when he isn’t. Bribe him, soothe him, calm him, calm him, calm him. Because if you don’t, chaos will reign and chaos isn’t pretty.
If he calms down, put him to bed with lullabies and then drink until you’re shitfaced and the world seems sane and you can forgive yourself for the genetic time bomb you’ve given him.
If he doesn’t, call 911.
Judy Hall is a teacher of English and is an MFA candidate at William Paterson. She’s been published in Linguistic Erosion, Rose Red Review, Literary Orphans and elsewhere. She’s currently writing a novel about a mother raising her bipolar child, based on her own experiences. Her other work can be viewed at: http://judyhall.x10host.com.