Being Honest About E~

23 Oct

We’ll go oldest to youngest.

E~ is a wonderful kid. I really enjoy him. He has a sneaky, dry sense of humor. He gets sarcasm. He’s a good friend. He’s able to show true empathy. He’s taking ownership of his faith. He’s growing & changing & it’s really neat to watch.

E~ has struggled with ADD in the past. He was on meds for a few years but they really affected his appetite. At the end of 6th grade, he went off his meds altogether. I was sick of fighting the daily battle. How could I tell him his lack of appetite was the price he had to pay for being marginally organized? The kid was 12.5 & weighed 74lbs. He was barely on the chart for weight. Going off the meds wasn’t a hard choice. He normally took a vacation from them during the summer. The school year was going to be a challenge though. Not only was he taking a notoriously difficult math class, he was starting after-school athletics. He seemed to be rising to the challenge though. He loved cross country. He wasn’t struggling too much with math. He was eating (he hit 80lbs on vacation this summer. He no longer looked like Montgomery Burns.)

And then the wheels came off the bus. We began getting emails from teachers about missing work. I was at his school & was being cornered by teachers about his tardies & his late/missing work. And then the math grades started rolling in. Let’s just say, things were not going well for E~.

We quickly went into triage mode & became the strictest, meanest parents ever. Organization became priority number one. It was no longer good enough to have finished math homework at school – it had to come home so we could check for understanding because his teacher was not (another blog post). Missing work was found or redone. Privileges were revoked. It has not been a pleasant few weeks for E~.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Only one class is still missing work. I am confident the math test at the end of the week will go better than the previous tests. He’s not losing as many papers & he’s made it to all of his classes on time for over a week.

At E~’s conferences, the resounding theme was ‘He’s a great kid. He’s nice. He’s polite. He’s smart. He knows the material (except in math. Seriously, that teacher is the one they’re talking about in articles on ‘bad teachers’). He is just incredibly disorganized. Most of his teachers were positive that he would survive the hole he was busy digging & were more than happy to help him out.

I keep hoping one of these years we won’t have to endure the cycle of “E~’s digs hole. E~ hits bottom. E~ gets help to climb out of hole. E~ becomes moderately more responsible.” Rinse. Repeat. One of these years, he’s just going to skip the hole digging.

I hope…

In the meantime, I’d love to share a few positive things about E~. He celebrated a big birthday recently. E~ is now a teenager. E~’s a really neat teenager. He even suggested recreating a baby picture.

Ethan 04-06-02IMG_9238

I couldn’t convince him to wear just a diaper for the recreation, but then, you can’t have everything 😉

He also is a nice friend. For his birthday he invited 6 friends over for pizza & s’mores. E~ has nice friends, but most of them are either oldests or only’s. All the alpha males can make for a long night of arguing. I figured we could suffer through it for a couple of hours. E~ struggled with inviting one of his friends, Amos. Amos is on the autism spectrum. Amos is a nice kid but he can be a little deep – one of the conversations he started after practice was what if the Earth had no gravity but if people were their own gravity. That’s a normal conversation starter from Amos. Amos was in our cross country carpool & E~ was hoping to invite all of them to his party. But he wasn’t sure about Amos. When pressed, he said not all of his friends liked Amos. I countered that it didn’t really matter if his friends liked Amos, if E~ liked Amos, then that should be good enough for E~’s friends. E~ invited Amos. Amos was very excited, which confirmed for E~ that he had done the right thing. His party rolled around & the first guest to arrive is Moe. I was putting some things together in the kitchen & overheard Moe grilling E~ about who else was coming. Moe was not thrilled by 2 of the guests, one of which was Amos. I was so proud of E~ when he stood up to Moe & told him that if he didn’t like Amos, that was fine, but if he thought he couldn’t be nice to Amos, than Moe was welcome to leave*. Moe stayed & a good time was had by all.

One last thing. E~ really enjoyed cross country. So much so that he decided to run at the state meet even though none of his friends were running. It meant more practice & an early morning drive to Capital City, but he was excited to go. I’m so glad he did. It was a great course – very reminiscent of Princeton (for the two of you who ran for my high school, you will immediately visualize the woods & the sandy/muddy trail & the tight, tight course). The course was narrow, through the woods & up & down some great hills. It was perfect running weather too. Cloudy & cool. E~ had a great race. I’m not sure if it was his PR or not, but he looked comfortable & he had a great sprint into the chute.

IMG_0941

A leisurely race through the prairie

I am going to miss cross country. E~ is already looking forward to track.

K~

*not E~’s exact words, but you get the gist of the conversation.

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One Response to “Being Honest About E~”

  1. Wendy October 28, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    Love your honesty! Parenting is such a hard job and truly helps to know you aren’t alone in this thing. In my class we are reading a book, Wonder, by Palacio. It deals alot with empathy and the struggles of a boy who is different in a big way. I bet E would love it and it is also hysterical! You will love it too. E would totally relate to a few characters I bet. and it is totally appropriate for a 13 year old!

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