Wednesday, November 26, 2008

social skills

This morning, I dropped Ben off at school. He was excited because now that his best friend's mom works at the school, Cody is there early. Ben burst into the classroom and very loudly said hello to Cody. Cody looked uncomfortable. Ben immediately ran up to Cody to hug him, and Cody took a step away. Ben didn't understand. He took a step closer. Cody took another step away. Pretty soon, Ben was chasing after Cody, trying to get him to give him a hug. The teacher thought they were playing tag, but really Cody was trying to get away from Ben. Cody finally came up to me and said, "Can you tell [Benjamin] to stop following me?"

This was hard to watch. In fact, watching this made me feel like my chest was being crushed. I tried to tell Cody that Ben just wanted to play with him, but Cody said he didn't want to play with Ben.

This is Ben's best friend. He's trying to tell Ben that he needs some space. And Ben doesn't get it.

And then there is Elliott. He is a loner at daycare. There are two girls his own age who already talk really well. One of these girls had a mother who did hardcore drugs when she was pregnant, and she still talks better than Elliott. When Elliott wants something, rather than try to ask for it, he collapses into the floor and screams and cries and rolls around and sometimes kisses the carpet. Needless, to say, he doesn't have a lot of friends. Yesterday, he got a tub of cookies out of the pantry and came careening towards me screaming. I said, "Say cookie," and instead of trying to talk, he threw the tub at me, ran away, and fell into the floor screaming, his face turning red and tears springing from his eyes.

I had no social skills when I was a kid, but I figured that was because my parents made no effort to raise me even somewhat normally. They didn't teach me boundaries or etiquette. But I'm trying to teach my kids that, and it's clearly not working. Maybe poor social skills are just genetic. Hopefully not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm pretty sure this is the longest I have gone without posting. This is simply because things have been so crazy. We have already been dealing with children who scream in frustration because they cannot draw their ABCs perfectly at the age of 4 (Ben), and who hit themselves in the face with ceramic piggy banks before plunging off the couch head first (Elliott). On top of this, Ryan's car just stopped working last week while at the very same moment, Ben projectile vomited all over the inside of it. We had to buy a car we cannot afford to replace this one and we all contracted that lovely stomach virus, spending the weekend expelling liquid from all directions of our bodies. This doesn't take into account the fact that we have jobs we have to work at and other life obligations. We are worn down. Piles of laundry and mail and paper and cereal are all over our house. Oprah has told me that I need to clean my house and make my house a haven for organization, etc., and I say to that: Oprah, you are rich and have a housekeeper. Only rich people get to have havens. The main question on my mind has been, why do Ryan and I produce such intense, strange children? The answer to that, of course, is that we are intense and strange. A part of me loves having this intense, strange family because a lot of the time it is crazy in a fun way. But sometimes it is crazy in a really stressful way, and you add work and financial worry into the mix and you become quite exhausted. Oh well...Winter break is on its way...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

oh my god

I'm so happy I have no eloquence to express it. I don't think I could've lived with a McCain presidency, and in my head that was really never an option. I am elated today. When I see images of people of EVERY background crying, jumping, laughing, shouting with joy, it makes me so happy. We did it. We will make this country so much better. We will work hard and we will be inspired. We witnessed history last night and this is just the beginning.

One major disappointment last night was that Prop. 8 went through, a law which eliminates rights that already exist for homosexuals. This was largely funded and organized by "Christians." Because that's what Jesus would do. Eliminate rights for people. The Yes on 8 people were some of the most hateful people I have ever seen. They bashed their ideas into people's heads. They threatened and blackmailed and assaulted and stole. You know, the way Jesus used to. The worst part was that they claimed they were fighting for free speech and freedom of religion while really they were fighting to take those rights away from other people. Way to go. You all should be very proud.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

on punching a kid in the face

There is a boy at Ben's school; I will call him Evan. Yesterday, when Ryan went to pick Ben up, he observed this Evan boy making fun of the way Ben speaks, mocking him as he rode on his tricycle. A little blonde boy who was hanging out with this boy Evan was laughing at Ben too. Ben reacted by looking very sad and, when trying to get off of his tricycle to get away, falling down. Evan and this other little boy laughed at him some more.

When I heard this story from Ryan, I wanted to find this Evan boy and punch him in his face, hopefully permanently scarring him so that he would remember the lesson that my fist had taught him for the rest of his life, becoming a humbler, kinder person. Ryan reminded me that this boy is only four years old, but I do not remember four year olds making fun of each other so meanly when I was a kid. Who is this joke of a kid? Who are his parents? Why is he so mean, so ruined, so early in his life? I was teased so mercilessly throughout school that the ramifications carried well into my adult life. Seeing my child go through this brings back those memories but to a heightened degree. It doesn't help that Ben is so sensitive and kind and that he internalizes all of his anxieties. I want to protect him from this, but I know that I can't and that it is only the beginning. I knew this was coming but I didn't know it would start this early. Do I still want to punch that Evan kid in the face. As Sarah Palin would say, you betcha. Will I? No. But I will actively imagine a variety of horrible futures for Evan and his little buddy. I guess that's all I can do.