Last week, McDiesel got invited to a classmate’s birthday party. After the initial (and, as usual, all-too-brief) excitement of finding the invitation in his school folder once he got home, he declares (as usual, with all the oppositional vehemence he can muster) that he is NOT going. (Shocker.)
Big Bro Typ, sitting next to him at the table, demands why not. (With a four-and-a-half day weekend coming up and no travel plans, I second him.) A party at a gym with multiple bouncies and indoor soccer on a Sunday afternoon in January is supposed to be FUN for kids. Birthday party invitations are not supposed to initiate a crisis in kindergarteners. It’s like McD needs this spelled out for him. (As usual,) I do my best.
McD begins an impassioned defense of his (oppositional) position, including the main fact that the birthday boy is a bully. (He pays attention in Guidance. He knows this is a catchword.)
Big Bro Typ takes the bait. He wants details.
The birthday boy is mean. And he hurts people. Mrs. W. has to talk to him every day about hurting people. He’s not nice. He gets mad. He cries.
I remember the class Christmas party when this super-cute little boy had a meltdown and his mother had to corral him in a corner and help him chill out. I remember thinking, that looks like me.
Big Bro Typ says (rather astutely, but perhaps not wisely), “Sounds like you, McD.”
McD is quite obviously deeply offended by Typ’s betrayal. Naughty words, punches, and tears begin flying—immediately. (And here I was worried that trying meds would turn him into a different kid!)
We wind up going to the party, of course, and McD winds up having a (mostly) great time. The details don’t really matter—except that as I am sitting next to McD during cake, I can’t help but hear the birthday boy’s mother listing all of the interventions they’ve tried—psychiatrist at the biggest children’s hospital in the area, PT, OT, play therapy, behaviorist, diet. She even confides to the mothers at large that she’s into all the nuts-and-berries stuff and has always gone organic, but that they finally had to try meds. The other women nod sympathetically; and, although she probably can’t tell, I nod in solidarity. One of the mothers (of a very nicely behaved little girl) asks about diagnosis.
I could’ve bet the house on what she’d say. Big Bro Typ could’ve bet the house on it. It all sounded just like us.
Husband Number One asks–exasperated and frustrated–when I tell him, “What is going on??” He means in our culture, in our society, in our environment, in our food industry, with our boys. All these interventions and we still don’t know.