We have been adjusting around here. Adjusting to my mom getting ready to move into her own apartment after living with us for over five years. My daughter only knows life with Gramma around. I’ve been talking to the kids prepping for the actual moving day so it’s not a big “Surprise! Today’s the day!”
I figured this was the culprit for my son’s behavior of late. After two weeks of back to school with fairly decent mornings and getting off to school fine, suddenly he is an emotional, defiant, argumentative, sputtering mess. And not in the pre-pubescent way. No, it’s a bratty, fit-filled, moody way.
Did I mention the husband is away on business? Yes, we specialize in this kind of timing in this house.
Anyway, speaking to one of my son’s teachers today I find out there is a report due next week that involves reading an entire book. Something I have not seen said child actually doing. Later I ask, “So what’s going on with your report?” and am met with giant sighs and falling to the floor. I am assured that reading is being handled and report writing will be 100% taken care of.
He is on page 30 of a 152 page book and it’s due next Wednesday.
We pinpoint this as the source of some of his anxiety. No problem. It’s handled. The evening routine is all drama and tears and emotions still, however. Head-scratcher.
After reading to my daughter peppered with my own tears thanking my seven year old for being so kind-hearted and understanding when all of mom and dad’s attention feels like it’s focused on the big dramatic kid, I tuck her in and get her to bed.
Next up, big kid bed time. My son has a mini meltdown over a snack, lies about brushing his teeth, and finally heaves himself onto his bed giving up any hope that the day will include ice cream and video games. We begin what is supposed to be a quick convo about the day and it turns into something I did not see coming.
“Mom, I think I know part of why I feel so depressed.”
I hold back my cringing at the buzzword and try to focus my energy on an open mind and face. (my face is something I have very little control over)
“(best friend) has been really sad lately and says he’s depressed.”
“Hmm … i wonder why. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Well, I think it’s because of his dad… he died.” (the best friend’s bio parents are divorced and mom is remarried with 2 more kids)
“He died?! When?” (this is news to me)
“His parents got divorced and his dad was really sad so he … you know… killed himself.”
Holy fucking shitballs.
Right. So now go ahead and roll with that, Supermom.
“Wow. That is heavy. That is a lot for (best friend) to deal with, certainly. I wonder if he feels like talking to a counselor would be helpful.”
“He goes to therapy every week.”
“Wow. Ummm, i’m really glad that he has a friend like you to listen and support him. …. that is a lot for you to deal with as well. As important as it is to be there for him and listen and help him work through how he’s feeling, I want you to find a way to leave that at school with him. When you walk away from that kind of interaction, it’s really important to try and center yourself around (yourself) again. Empathy is important, but those are not your problems to work out. That is not your reality.”
“Ok mom.” and he seems to get what I’m saying after some more brief coaching.
We work out the reading math problem of barely read pages minus total pages divided by procrastinators time frame left before adding actual report writing time and then…
“So what is the point of the cover for a penis? You know, that thing…?”
[to avoid situations like this one!!]
“If you don’t want to make a baby, you use a condom.”
“So then does that mean that – sputtering giggles- sex is … fun?”
And that, my friends, is how the evening went in my house. From depression and suicide to homework and concluded with a painfully masked conversation about sex and why it’s not just for makin’ babies. Now I have to figure out if the whole best friend depression father’s suicide issue is actually real. How do I handle that?! The best friend, to my knowledge, has limited friends at this school where he is a new student. I don’t know the parents all that well. What does THAT conversation look like? We really only text. Do I text the mom, “Hey, heard your ex offed himself and the boys have been talking… anything I need to know?”
And I thought the pre-sleepover conversation asking if there were guns in the house would be the hardest question to ask.
Conclusion: Use a rubber if you are unwilling to mask your extreme discomfort speaking to an eleven year old boy about anatomy and copulation.