Monday, August 04, 2008

What's a mama bear to do?

AM is always slow to admit what's buggin' him.

He usually starts by telling me that he doesn't want to go somewhere. Then he'll start asking, every day, "where am I going tomorrow".

Many, many, many times, it's because the place in question is loud and AM doesn't "do" loud well (sensory thing). It's one of the (main) reasons he's in a small, private school.

Because it's often sensory related, it's often NOT an actual problem with the "place", meaning the place can be perfectly fine, it's just that AM isn't coping with the noise level. This has happened at church, at birthday parties, in the gym at school (anyone that knows him from school knows he has his air-traffic-control ear phones on every time he goes into the gym........they are actually firing range earmuffs, for anyone that's curious), at a friend's house, etc....

It doesn't matter how badly he wants to be in those places, he can't quite overcome his reaction to the noise level. We're hoping to find him a bio-feedback practitioner (my cousin's son, with similar problems, had tremendous luck with bio-feedback).

Okay, 'nuff bout that.

Today, I finally found out part of the reason I've been getting the "where do I go tomorrow?" question. A large (!) part of it is the noise level at summer camp. However, this morning he casually said "mom, come here for a second". When I went there for a second, he said "Jeffrey keeps telling me I'm dumb at summer camp".

The time it takes blood to boil: approximately a nano-second.

His summer camp is supposed to be a "zero tolerance" zone. Now I know that kids will be kids, but I was picked on horribly until highschool and it's the one thing that will make me go mama bear faster then anything else.

I, of course, immediately wanted to find this snot-nosed, weasel.....I mean Jeffrey and have a little conversation with him. Or at least with his mom.

Of course, being an adult of (reasonably) sound mind, I know I can't just approach a child. Instead, I said something to the "teacher" (she actually is a teacher, but they don't really "teach" during summer camp) when I dropped AM off this morning.

She immediately assured me that she would say something to his leaders (also teachers.......they are all teachers, for the most part, since they use this camp to help them get teaching credits......but that's not really the point right now).

AM gets in the car tonight and says "Jeffrey was mean again. When he came into the gym, I said 'hey Jeffrey' and he said 'hi dumb AM'".

Now we've had conversations about who's opinion should matter to us (I tell him to worry about the opinions of nice, caring people.......not some dufus that calls names......yes, I see the irony in that). We've talked about how kids that pick on others are usually trying to divert attention from themselves (embarrass someone else before you can be embarrassed). About how it's rarely "personal", they just pick any handy target.

None of that keeps ME from wanting to swat the child. Or at least suggesting to his mother/father that THEY swat the child.

It's times like these when I am SO thankful that he goes to a small school. Now, mind you, we've had some "issues" with a couple of students there, but it's handled appropriately and quickly.

Some might wonder why I have him in the summer camp. Well, for a few reasons. One, he already had a buddy in this camp and the other child has gone there a couple of years and loved it. Two, AM DOES have fun, once he's not in the gym (which is a short portion of the day......the Jeffrey thing bugs him, but it's not the reason he doesn't want to go. He doesn't want to go because of the noise.). Three, there's only a few more days left and then we'll be done for this summer.

I know, I know. He has to "learn to cope" with the noise and learn to handle wormy kids like Jeffrey, but what parent likes having to watch their kids learn those types of lessons? Especially when that child says "mom, I know I'm supposed to love him because Jesus loves him, so I'll pray for him to have a nicer heart". Talk about ripping my heart out: my tenderhearted (but, thankfully, tougher then his mom) boy just wants to be this kids friend and this twerp is mean to him.

At least AM has the appropriate response (pray for him, love him anyway), which is more then I can say for his mama.

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