• The boys and I

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    I’m 44, married and live in a sewerless small town on the central coast of California. I am an Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivor. My passions are reading, knowledge, shopping and photography – in varying order depending upon my mood. Though I’ve always wanted to be really good at something, I find that I’m just pretty good at most things. I live with my husband, Daddy-O, and our sons, Ben and Danny who are 10 and 5. Ben has ADHD and enough natural energy to power the Pacific Time Zone… and he’s not afraid to use it. Danny has Norries – a rare genetic disease causing him to be born blind. It’s a crazy, hectic life but I can’t complain any more than usual.
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Parental Ping-Pong with a side of memories

So much has been going on lately…  I did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in July.  My boys were gone most of the summer and I missed them like crazy.  Then they came home and I didn’t miss them so much after that.  And now school has started… and it just so happens that Danny is a kindergartener now.  Whew!  So very much happening and I haven’t been able to write a thing.  I’ve gotten part way through several posts.  But then I see a bright light or shiny object and, well, I just can’t seem to finish one up. 

I am determined to complete this one, though! 


So, the boys were at their Va-Va’s house (Daddy-O’s mom) for most of the summer.  Ben doesn’t really enjoy going to her house.  She’s a hoverer.  A micro-manager.  She’ll get up in the middle of the night to check on my soundly sleeping, non-infant children.  Not that these are bad things… they’re just not MY things.  Nor, Ben’s apparently.  Thankfully, he doesn’t mind hanging out over there during the summer as much because he gets to swim more days than not.  But he feels that he “didn’t get a summer” to a great extent.  Danny, on the other hand, doesn’t mind being over there at all.  He could probably use much more hovering and micro-managing than he gets in our household.  Sorry, it’s just not the way I roll. 

We tried very hard to enjoy the kids when they came home on the weekends.  We did lots of fun things like going to the fair more times than we’ve EVER been before and taking in a few concerts, doing the lake thing, etc. It felt a lot like what I imagine a divorced parent feels on their visitation weekends with their kids.  Shove as much fun in as possible and be damned the rules.  While it was fun and certainly liberating, it was also sort of icky-feeling and I don’t ever want to have to feel like that again. 

And now school has begun.  I find it hard to fathom that I have both a Fifth Grader and a Kindergartener this year.  Danny is going to Hawthorne Elementary because they have a Special Needs Kinder class.  I just didn’t feel that he was socially ready to be in the mainstream kindergarten at Baywood.  I love that his class makeup is only 8 kids and a whopping 5 adults!  I also love, love, LOVE that he doesn’t have a dedicated Aide this year.  What I don’t love so much is that he seems WAY more advanced than his classmates and MUCH more social.  I worry that I’ve underestimated him.  I guess only time will tell.

As for Ben, well, I think this year will be very exciting for him.  At least my 5th grade year was.  I remember it very clearly.  At least the social aspects.  Interestingly, it’s the only year I can’t tell you specifically who my teacher was.  Hmmmm.  What I can tell you is that Angie Haywood and I both began wearing bras that year.  We were (if I remember correctly) the only girls in our class that did.  I also remember going behind the maintenance shed with a boy  – I think I was expecting a kiss and may have actually gotten one at some point (that part’s fuzzy)  – but instead got my bra snapped.  And so began my self-consciousness and poor  body image.  It was at least a decade and a half later before I realized that having boobs was like having a Super Power – they could be used for good or evil… but mostly, they could be USED.  Oh, wait… this isn’t about me. 

So, I’m thinking this is going to be a very fun year for Ben.  A year of great changes.  I hear rumors that pubic hair may be making an appearance sometime in the near future.  (Ack!!!!!  La, la, la, la, la! ) Really, though, I have no concept of the male pre-pubescent angst.  I’m beginning to gather there is a lot of anger and frustration that goes along with it, however.  Just the other day I required something of him – something, I’m guessing, that was either completely beneath him or too demanding of his precious time – causing him to fly into a frustrated meltdown and run to his room.  He was crying and mumbling angrily.  Then I heard his muffled yell of unfairness and hatred.  He was yelling into his pillow.  Oh, how I remember those days!  I considered it private time and didn’t interrupt him. 

So maybe there’s not such a difference between boys and girls at this age.  But here’s where my concern lies…  He doesn’t really seem to have many friends – certainly not a close or best friend.  When I dropped him off at school the first day there was a circle of 5 or 6 boys he’s known and played sports with since kindergarten.  I watched him circle the group several times, land once or twice for a minute or two then begin a meandering orbit again.  I don’t think he ever actually spoke to them beyond a hello.  It was the same last year.  Towards the end of the school year I thought he’d finally found a good friend.  He seemed to be hanging with one boy quite a bit.  However, when Ben approached him on the first day of school to ask how his summer was, he was told it was none of his business.  It hurts my heart.  I know how important friends are in these years of change! 

It wasn’t always like this for Ben.  Our weekends used to be filled with playdates and sleepovers.  He used to be met on the playground with a chorus of greetings.  Then we put him on ADHD medication.  Suddenly, everything seemed to change.  He doesn’t go outside to ride his bike on weekends anymore unless we push him to.  Even if we don’t let him watch tv or play video games he really doesn’t want to leave the house.  For the life of me I don’t know if it’s the medication or just Ben.  And I don’t know what to do about it. 

So, this is my year to worry about my oldest boy.  The youngest seems to be doing just fine.  Is this what parenting is all about?  A ping-pong game of worry and concern?  Maybe I’m just watching too much CSI and Criminal Minds and not having a close friendship is nothing to be concerned about… 



3 Responses

  1. You know, I’m wondering if it doesn’t make sense to have his ADHD re-evaluated. If there’s social stuff too, you might be looking at Asperger’s. I know I’m like a broken record about that stuff, but one of the things I keep finding in my reading and in talking with other parents is that ADHD is usually the first diagnosis while the AS is completely missed. Sometimes the conditions are both there, sometimes the AS was just mis-diagnosed. Believe me, I have these concerns also, and that’s what started my whole search.

    Yes…they are just a ping-pong match and we are all, as my sister-in-law says, in a “stage”.

  2. I hope school is going really well for you guys — it sounds like Danny is in a GREAT place!

    Kindergarten — wow!

  3. My 11 year old son is very social, but I find even he needs help in making close friends. We have made an effort to invite one kid at a time from school to do some kind of activity with us – like ice skating, going to a ball game, or even just a movie. Creating that one on one time has really helped him to make closer friends. Also, they usually invite him to do something in return.

    On another note – I am a survivior of triple negative breast cancer and am brca2 positive. I was also happy to find the info about brca and triple negative. It’s a very small study… but I’ll take all the good news I can find!

    Congrats on the 4 year anniversay!

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