My 8 year old grandson lives with me and has since he was 2 years old which was when his daddy died. Tramadol. I hear it takes the lives of people often so be wary of it. My daughter did a sort of shut down when he died and I was going through a raging divorce that never seemed to want to end. It’s what happens when one person doesn’t respond to or hear the other person. When violence was threatened for no apparent reason after the dog chased a skunk and I closed the patio door so as not to smell the little critter he decided it was time to threaten violence if I closed the door. I knew it was time to leave.

So one month later I moved into a home where the three of us could live. I was 61 at the time and didn’t know if I could handle my 34 year old daughter from my first marriage let alone a 2 year old. It was hard. The little guy had way too much energy and he screamed when he cried. But eventually we settled in and I learned how to talk to him to settle him down. Now we have a pretty good relationship as I’m the buffer between his mother and him. On their last trip they were gone for about seven days and he was anxious to get home. His grandfather asked him why he had to get home so fast and he answered.,”I miss my grandma.”

Over the years this little guy has sometimes made me scream and more often he has made me crazy with his constant chatter. He’s generally a happy little guy and plays well by himself. I wish his mom would find someone but she’s still not ready even though it’s been seven years since her love died. I often feel like advertising for a husband for her because I see how her son needs a dad. But such things take time I guess. Still, he’s growing so fast and is definitely at the age where he needs a dad, badly.

Anyway, more often then not, he says things, like all kids do, that makes me laugh like the time he asked me if I knew when a church was a real church. I said I didn’t know what made a real church and he said, “They’re the ones with the T on top!” And the other day I told him if he was good in school that day that I would have a surprise when he came home. He said after thinking on that comment, “well, it’s pretty hard to be good in school, so how about I be good tomorrow. Can I have a surprise tomorrow?”

He went through a particularly hard time in Catholic school. The teachers had no idea what to do with him. He wasn’t bad, he was just himself. He doesn’t know how to be any other way. But that presents a challenge to people who have 40 other kids in the classroom to deal with. I totally get it. But every day one of the staff would call my daughter to let her know what he did that day to upset the cart and tensions were growing out of proportion. I mean, the kid was six years old! I’m sure the last straw was when he pulled apart a church pew. He just began kicking it and pulling at it until it was broken. After I picked him up I asked him about it. He said, “How’d you know about that?” And I said, “Word gets around.” He said he didn’t know why he did it so I asked him:
“Were you angry?”
“Were you upset about something?”
“Were you bored?”
“Were you playing around?”
Finally I said, “well, you want to tell me what the thought process was when you decided to pull apart a church pew?”
And he said, “well, it was kind of broken anyway and I just wanted to see how it was put together!”

Anyway, as I’d said before, he’s just being himself and didn’t know the trouble he was causing being his ADHD self. He has all this energy and has never been able to sit still. One story I remember was of an old Indian (Native American) grandfather who would watch his grandson get into all kinds of trouble in school and finally took him aside and told him, “There are pipe makers and there are scouts. You’re a scout!”

One day when this inquisitive boy was kicked out of school for the day because of his behavior, his mother was taking it all rather seriously and was very upset. Not at him, but because she was just at wits end about the whole situation. The constant calls from teachers had finally gotten to her. I kept telling her the boy is just six and she should relax but it was wearing her down.

The little guy was sitting at the kitchen table and I knew he was aware of how much his mom was reacting to the whole situation and he was with me for the whole day. He was very nervous and I knew I had to put things in perspective for him. So I said, “Let’s talk.” He said, “OK.” So I got a piece of paper and I drew a puzzle piece on it and told him he was the puzzle piece. I said that he shouldn’t be upset about all that was going on cuz he was just a kid and it was up to the adults to figure out where he fit in the larger puzzle.

He totally relaxed. I said that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, that he was just being himself and it was ok to be himself. We just had to figure out how to teach him and because the system he was in hadn’t changed in a very long time, it had gotten stuck in only being able to teach kids that fit into that system. He relaxed some more. I said, “Perhaps you’ll be the one to change the system.”

He said, “Can we talk like this more often?”



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