So my son has joined a gang.
Let me explain: The parents right around us fall into about two categories: permissive and protective. These two categories happen to fall along cultural lines in our neighborhood, but let's not go there just now. The permissive families don't seem to care much where their kids are. I have met the parents only briefly, barely to wave, would not recognize them outside of our cul-de-sac, yet their children are at my house a lot. Once, a little girl left our house, saying she'd be back in a minute, and sure enough, she returned about 5 minutes later with her 1-year-old brother.
"My mother says I have to bring him," she shrugged, carrying him into our family room. Um. OK. What's his name?
Anyway, the kids that run in and out of my house range in age from about 7 to 10. They're all (except that little brother) older than A. and are often interested and knowledgable about things that he is not.
J., in particular, is over here a lot, and asked me how old I was. "42," I answered. "42!" he exclaimed, "Shouldn't you be a grandmother by now?"
and...."G., are you a Norteno, Soreno or just normal?"
and...."I'm old enough to know about violence and drugs but not sex. That's what my parents say." (He's 8).
Just this week, A. has been inducted into their group. It's a little different for him, because he's only allowed at one house (whose parents I do know) and he's not allowed to run from house to house except for between our two houses. Kind of limits his mobility compared to theirs, but at least I know where he is. For the first time, we've let A. go to someone else's backyard without going with him.
It's weird. I ask him what they talk about, and he says, "Nothing really. BiggerKid just tells me what to do, like to get the blue thing."
He's completely thrilled beyond belief to be included, and it makes me nervous. I like these kids, for the most part, but they could end up having so much influence over him. He says that tomorrow they're planning a party in the backyard for just the boys, and he has to bring our homemade ice cream, and he can't go anywhere with us tomorrow because he doesn't know when the party is and he might miss it. Even activities that would have thrilled him last week, like miniature golfing, are only possible if they don't conflict with his homeboys' plans.
It makes me nervous because I have no control over it (I mean, I do - if I found out they were doing bad things I could stop it, but I don't think they are) and because I'm afraid it's short-lived. How long are 10-year-olds going to let a 6-year-old hang around? How do I explain it when they gather without him and don't include him?
And is the period where he wants more than anything to be with me ending? I don't think I'm ready.
And, oh geez, my little Ben is starting preschool in just over a week. WITHOUT ME.
I understand that someday they both will be tall (a relative term in our family) and old enough to go live in another state without me. That's just not acceptable. Sorry. Right now, I'm totally willing to be the crazy mother who visits her son at college several times a week to do his laundry.
Perhaps I should ratchet myself back a little. They are still only 3 and almost 6. ::::deep breath::::
(Please forgive me if this is a little disjointed. I'm just going to hit publish and hope some of this makes sense. I'm not really having a panic attack but I am unbelievably tired.)
OK, and in other news.....a long time ago, my old laptop had this game on it where it would show a black screen with a bouncing blue ball within 4 walls. You had to draw lines within this box as balls appeared in order to sequester them within their own area, but the balls couldn't bounce off the walls as you drew them, so timing was important. Anyone recognize this game? Know what the name is? I miss it and can't find it because the only part of the name I remember is "..ball."
Friday, August 22, 2008
So my son has joined a gang.