What IS the nutritional value of cellophane??

Imagine a 6’2″ adolescent with the emotional capacity of a 2-year old who has had no structure or consistency in his life.  You know, the toddler in the grocery store who has a melt-down in the check-out lane because he wants candy -he whines, cries, kicks the candy display, throws himself on the floor, wails…until he eventually gets what he wants.

This is what it is like living with a teenager with an attachment disorder.  A simple request – Kenneth please take the casserole dish out of the fridge and put it in the oven – has the potential to start an emotional avalanche.  Fifteen-year-old boys are not particularly inclined to help out with household chores to begin with.  A teen with AD is having to navigate the raging hormones and yearning for independence that is typical for their age – as well as the physiological and emotional impairments caused by the extensive and persistent trauma experienced in early childhood.

It is terribly tempting to just not ask Kenneth to do anything to help out around the house – to let him live in the squalor he creates in his room, let him while away the hours on the internet playing his virtual games – for the sake of peace and quite and sanity.  Though, that will do nothing to help Kenneth slay his real monsters, heal his wounds, and learn that he is a loveable, loved and cherished young man.

So, tonight when I called home to remind him it was time to put the casserole in the oven I got the usual resistance, spiced with exasperation and and peppered with disrespect.  I simply said “Thanks, Kenneth.  I love you and I will see you when I get home.” – to which he replied “Whatever” and hung up.

About an hour later Tom, my husband, called to tell me he had bad news.  Kenneth did not take the time to read the instructions I had written on the foil that covered the casserole – which said to remove the foil and plastic wrap (ok, I am a little obsessed with keeping casseroles fresh) before puting it in the oven.  I pictured melted congealed cellophane baked into the chicken, broccoli and potato casserole that I spent an hour preparing the day before and saw RED!  I am so done with him!  A simple task and he can’t take 10 seconds to do it correctly!  When is that kid gonna learn!  For GOD’S SAKE!!!!

Fortunately, the casserole had been fully cooked the day before, so it just needed to be in the oven at 200 degrees to warm up.  Apparently cellophane wrap is resistant to melting at that temperature, so dinner crisis diverted.  I was still riled up and ready to go toe-to-toe with Kenneth when I got home.  I was playing out my rampage in my head as I headed down the elevator and to the car: You are nearly 16 years old! Yyou need to contribute in a meaningful way to this family!  I do ALL of the major cooking, I just ask you to heat things up and get the fruit and vegetables together!  If you want to get a job and hire someone to do it for you fine – but until then if you want privilages (read electronics of any sort) you WILL help with dinner, you WILL do it right and you WILL be respectful to ME!

Thankfully on the drive home I remembered the blog I wrote yesterday.  Divine Intervention suggested I listen to my own wisdom.

When I got home Kenneth jumped up and said “Good, you’re home!  Dinner is ready!”.  I said “Cool, I’m starved!”  Then asked, “So, what do you think IS the nutritional value of cellophane?”  He laughed and said he didn’t read the instructions all the way through. 

We both agreed it was a good thing we didn’t have the Cheeseburger Pie casserole tonight – it needs to be baked at 400 degrees!

copyrighted 8/18/09

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