In Our Own Way

Yes, because we need more drama.


I talk sometimes about my six-year-old nephew Jakey, my sister Heather’s older son. I love this child, I’m sorry, more than anyone else in the universe, and I told him so once when he was upset. He’s in kindergarten, having started school late because of a house move, and ever since he started there’s been problems getting steadily worse.

Jakey is very intelligent, like all the kids in my family. School personnel, even ones he’s been inexcusably rude to, have commented that they’ve never met such a smart child. His comprehension and vocabulary is amazing even in my bright family, he’s amazingly creative and intuitive, and he’s sweet and loving and adores his baby brother, and he seems to never have envied or resented the attention little Winky (my nickname for him) has received. Jake loves animals, is incredibly friendly. We’ve explained stranger-danger to him, but when with us, he’ll happily talk to anyone who passes by, give compliments, cheerfully share whatever’s going on in his life. He’s a good kid. He really is.

I may have mentioned there is a possibility he’s with me on the autistic spectrum, he’s being evaluated later this month. The ADHD, I believe, has been confirmed. Luckily, Jakey’s school is very proactive, very understanding and eager to work with him, and he was assigned a personal aide who’s with him at all times and takes him out of the classroom for a little while each day to work quietly alone. Jakey’s made friends with one of the administrators and is allowed to visit his office and hold his pets, including a big snake. (Ugh, I hate snakes.) They’ve been understanding through his tantrums, his cursing, his screaming, but when he started making threats of violence, they had to suspend him, and we’re not sure when he’ll be able to go back, as of this writing.

My answer to this is homeschool him. I’ve found an online program if all else fails, hell, I’d rather teach him myself than send him back to the school he says he hates, because I hated and was traumatized by school and I don’t want him to go through that. But my sis and mom are right – he needs the socialization. He likes playing with other kids, but he needs more practice at it and to work on managing his frustration when he’s not in total control.

Jake saw an unhelpful jerk psychiatrist a few days ago who pretty much said he wouldn’t do anything, even sign a paper saying he can go back to school. Basically, he says Jake can’t go to school until he’s well into therapy and medication, neither of which he’s going to help with, and anyway, Jake has to see a cardiologist for an EKG before he can be given any medicine. Today Jake saw another, supposedly-nicer psychiatrist; I haven’t heard yet how it went. Remarkably well, I’m hoping.

Though it’s not helpful to blame anyone, I do wonder how much my sister’s parenting has played into this. She’s overly-permissive, inconsistent, and doesn’t make him eat vegetables, which I did when they were living with us. He’s her first child and she has a hard time saying no to him, but she’s trying. YouTube has been taken away from Jake and Netflix restricted in an effort to discourage the bad language and violent talk.  My mom drives the fair distance to Heather’s house almost daily to clean the mess she always finds and give Heather a chance to sleep. Sometimes I go with her,  and end up cleaning Jake’s room. We like to help, but Heather and her boyfriend don’t match our efforts. They can’t even put dirty diapers in the Diaper Genie and take out the damn garbage.

Heather, to her credit, did clean a good bit the other day, and she finally took my advice and got put on Adderall so she stops falling asleep mid-sentence and at work (she’s a pretty high-up manager-type at a big retail store). I wish I could help her more. I visit when I can, tell her to go to sleep, and leave the house clean and dishes done. I buy clothes for her kids, give her extra money when I pay her my share of our phone bill, and never come over without bringing a snack she especially likes. I love my sister dearly, second only to Jakey himself.

People say, “You choose your friends, not your family,” but I know better. I chose my family before I was born for reasons that aren’t all clear to me now. My father and I have been close for many lifetimes and always got along easily. My mom…well, if you’ve read my other posts, you get a sense of our relationship. My three sisters were friends and comrades growing up, and I still adore them. Where does Jakey fit in? I sometimes think he’s my tether to this world. I can’t die because of him.

UPDATE: Diagnosis – DMDD – disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Prescribed Risperdal and Vyvanse. Depending on how the medication works, he may be able to return to school soon. Likes the psychiatrist.

Where was I? Oh, yes, my troublesome little binder to this Earth. I love him beyond anything else I’ve ever felt. Each time a new child is born to the family, he or she brings us all closer. If there’s a meaning to life, maybe it’s something to do with that. The ties that web-like connect us aren’t inherently good or bad. They just are. Love just is.

Author: athlynne

"From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed. I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made." - W.B. Yeats

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