Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Jiro

My Jiro, so tough on the outside, so biscuity on the inside.

These past few weeks have been rough. I don't think I've seen him so emotional since before he started speech therapy and was only able to physically convey his feelings. Oh, his feelings!

So it's pretty simple. It's been a tough year. I think I've mentioned that both Satchel & Jiro's best friends left the school this year. In their class there are only 5 boys. Jiro usually hangs with Jordan, Will & David hang together, and Satchel is odd man out. Of course Satchel hangs with Jiro some, and from what Jiro tells me, he also hangs with Jordan. (Satchel has also started reading. A lot.)

To offset the lack of regularly hanging with boys their age, I signed them up for fall soccer and winter basketball. Soccer was great, and for the most part basketball is too.

BUT! Jiro's very best buddy, Q, is a year older than he is. So Q and Satchel are on one team and Santi (Q's little bro) and Jiro are on another. (We couldn't get them all on the same team, like in soccer.) Both teams practice at the exact same time and in the same place. No big deal, right?


Every time Q runs in the gym and joins his team, which happens to include Satchel, it's like he's put a knife through Jiro's heart. A couple of weeks ago...wait. If I tell you this, you can't say anything to Jiro. (He is very sensitive about me airing his dirty laundry!) Promise? Pinky swear? Ok...a couple of weeks ago after basketball practice, Jiro actually cried himself to sleep. Between sobs he said things like, "Satchel stole the best friend I ever had."

Oh my, it was so heartbreaking. It was no good trying to talk any sense into him. He just needed to get it out.

Now, in Satchel's defense, he hasn't "stolen" anyone. (As if that were possible.) Q has matured a bit and not having him in the same class seems to have made Satchel much more interested in actually hanging out with him. So while most of us view Satchel and Q's new found friendship/tolerance of each other as a positive thing, there is one of us who simply can't cope.

Since I am friends with Q's parents, I mentioned to his dad how sad Jiro was. Well word eventually got to Q. Q was shocked and genuinely surprised, as he still quite actively considered Jiro to be his best friend. Unfortunately, Q, being 8, said to Jiro, "I can't believe you cried yourself to sleep!"

Seriously, I'm surprised Jiro is even talking to me at all.

To help Jiro & Q bond, I suggested we have Q and Santi spend the night. Instead of being excited, Jiro burst into tears. "He'll just play with Satchel!" he cried. Oh my. "What if we also invite Theo?" I suggested. Theo is older and probably technically Satchel's best friend at this point. Theo also knows Q and Santi from school and basketball. This was an acceptable solution.

Then on the night of the sleepover, Theo got grounded. When I told Satchel and Jiro, they BOTH burst into tears.

Seriously, why even try?

After a lot of hysterics, I got them to suck it up and get on board with the sleepover. Q and Santi came over and everything went pretty well. Until Jiro lost his shit. And then it pretty much sucked. And then after a lot more hysterics, it was ok again. The next day after basketball we joined up with Theo and everyone hung out and had a great time. Then Jiro had some quality time with Q and Santi and I thought everything was cool again.


Jiro is still just devastated. "Q hates me!" he says over and over and over. I don't know what to say or do to convince him that it's all in his head and the more he worries about it, the worse it gets. I mean, really. Who wants to play with the grumpy, sullen kid? No one.

To make matters worse, Jiro then decided that everyone on his team hated him. His evidence? They didn't pass him the ball. I go to every practice, and I can attest that this was a little bit true. BUT! Not because they hate him.

Last night before practice, I said, "If you want them to pass you the ball, get open. Use your voice. Say, 'I'm open!'"

And then lo and behold, he did it. And everyone passed him the ball! It was awesome!

So now I'm trying to figure out what to say to get him to stop being so sad about Q, who by the way has done nothing but request play dates and sleepovers for the past week. This morning I said, "If Q isn't playing with you, just go over and say, 'Hey, let's do this,' or 'Hey, let's do that.'" I told him that if he was busy playing with Satchel, he should say, "Hey, let me and Santi play too."

Easy, right?

I don't know if I convinced him.

I also said, "Stop being sad and start being awesome!" A little harder to visualize, but who knows...

Turns out he is also super stressed about a school report. Typically, he gets to work with Jordan on reports, but for the first time he has to do one alone. They've had several weeks to work on them, but I don't think he's started. I'm pretty sure in his mind he was thinking, "I just won't do it. So what."

Well, it turns out that the punishment for not doing the report is no recess. And for every day it is late, it has to be a page longer. So now Jiro is in total panic mode, even though he has over a week and his dad and I have both offered to help.

He just has no confidence. I hate it.

Over the weekend he was an all around mess. On top of his internal strife, he was also feeling a little sickly. I couldn't get him to cooperate or do anything. Finally he just erupted into tears and buried his face in my stomach. I sent Warren and Satchel to the park, and somehow managed to calm him down. Once calm, he said, "No one ever wants to do what I want to do." So I asked what that was, and soon the two of us spent a lovely afternoon playing board games. He was light and happy and just like I wished he could always be.

Maybe it's just tough being 7? Being the youngest? Being Satchel's younger brother? Having feelings?

I wish I knew. I wish I could fix it.

I just hope it gets better.

(Which by the way, is Satchel's de facto response, "Jiro, it gets better." And yes, he is laughing inside about Jiro not knowing he's talking about being gay. Sigh.)


Stephanie said...

Connor had a phase where "no one ever wanted to do what he wanted to do" too. He had a plan in his head of how he wanted things to go, and it never seemed to go that way. He'd want to play with me, and I'd agree, but I'd play the wrong thing, or if I did play the right thing, I didn't play long enough, etc. There must be something developmentally where they become cognizant that they aren't actually the center of the universe, and it causes some internal strife as they come to terms with it.

Ashley said...

Oh, the time when they will fully express themselves, albeit heartbreaking (or maddening) is a gift. Soon enough it'll be stuffed down or reserved for the ears of friends only.

Shiloh said...

May he always retain that ability to cry it out. And I concur that 7 is an interesting tough leap in de-self-centering. Mine has been having similar social-awareness quandaries, but is increasingly aware of her part in the dramas & how working on her own issues changes the dynamics. May we all do as well. :)

Tiffany said...

You should read the book Wild Things: The Art of Raising Boys. Really eye-opening into the mind and heart of a boy. (BTW 7 is in the 'lover' stage marked by a heightened sense of fairness/justice and emotions frequently taking over).

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