Friday, July 19, 2013

My Boy

*Shared via fb Feb 13, 2013.

We would have a bigger problem had he not learned to talk. So said my husband amidst my worries and panic over a call from Garrett's school asking that we come to discuss Garrett's behavior. The call came 2 weeks after I had a 1-hr talk with the teacher-in-charge who told me that Garrett needs to improve his self-control. Teachers apparently have raised a common concern that Garrett has gotten the habit of correcting teachers in class for small grammar slip-ups in a manner perceived to be discourteous. Garrett, he said, would also tend to ask irrelevant questions and blurt out his questions without first being acknowledged or given permission to ask. 

True, we are at fault. I am at fault. We allowed Garrett to talk as much as he wanted when he started talking. We were relieved and in fact overjoyed and so thankful when Garrett started talking, from a few words I could count with my fingers when he was 2 to phrases and short sentences when he was 3 and about to start nursery. He was different as a baby and a toddler, and developed at a slower pace with speech, walking, and potty training. He could not grasp abstract concepts easily and was not into physical games or even toys. As a little child, he was fixated on large billboards along the highways, water fountains, and the pool, and he spent a lot of time staring blankly at nothing but seemingly in deep thought. He would stare at a water fountain standing, and not want to leave. He would run in the mall or at the park and not bother if somebody was watching him, with no fear that he might get lost. He would talk and not take cues that the other person needed to talk as well. Development doctors who saw him observed that his attention span was very short. 

Garrett is now 10, at an age when people expect him to conform and conduct himself in a socially acceptable behavior. Garrett is still much of the little boy he was. The only difference now is that he talks incessantly and reads voraciously. He still has much to learn in social graces. In one essay, Garrett wrote that he is excited about summer because he can be the person he is and not someone else he is trained to be at school. He is having difficulty reconciling the world in his mind and the world he actually lives in. I am all ears for him, but, at this point he needs to understand that conversations are two-way, that teachers teach and students listen, and that questions and opinions are oftentimes better kept to one’s self. I hope we can guide and teach him without stifling or changing him. I know my boy. His heart is kind, his ways simple, and to him things ought to be in black and white. His mind can not find rest when things can not be explained as such or when gray areas exist. 

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