"Why does school have to start so early in the morning?" It should start at like noon! Who's idea was this anyway? Someone who just wants to torture kids and make our lives miserable?"
"If school didn't start until noon, kids would be getting out of school in the dark," says the mother.
"No...we should still get out at the same time."
"How would you have enough time to learn everything you need to know?"
"Just cut out lunch and go straight through," says the 15 year-old boy.
(my Facebook Status one day last week)
I pick up Red from school early for a psychotherapy appointment. When he approaches the car, he is not wearing his ordinary frown. This is a good sign.
"How was day?" I ask.
"It was o.k."
"Did you have lunch with a PAL today?" (PALS are student mentors)
"No. The PALS weren't on campus today."
"So how was lunch?"
"I was lonely."
We stop at the Mc Donald's drive-thru. We are waiting for them to get our order right. Quarter Pounder with cheese -plain and dry, combo meal with Sprite for the drink (for Red). A small order of fries and a Coke (for me). They hand us a bag with both of the fry orders upside down so that both orders of fries fall into the bottom of the bag. What is this rocket science?
While we wait:
"Mom, do you think I'm sad about not having friends 50 percent of the time or 100 percent of the time?" he asks.
"I would say you complain about it pretty close to 100 percent of the time."
"Well you know -actually I had a good day today. I talked to a lot of people about the movie I made and people were interested. I gave out a couple of copies of the DVD and people wanted to watch it when they go home."
"Wow! That's awsome!"
"You know, I really do have more friends than I say I do. I was just walking down the hall with Ms. S (let's call her) and people were speaking to me. She reminded me that a lot of people say hello to me and that I really do have more friends than I tell you about."
"Well -why to you come home everyday complaining to me."
"I guess I just don't want you to know everything. I act different around you -at home than I do at school. I'm usually pretty happy at school most of the time. I mean -I get sad sometimes, like because I don't have a girlfriend and I really want one."
I'm sitting there just flabbergasted.
We go to his therapy appointment. He is lucid, talkative, sitting up straight, using gestures and appropriate facial expressions, and even the occasional smile. He talks about the movie he made with his new camcorder.
"So how is school going?" asks doctor Stein (lets call him).
"Actually pretty good," Red replies.
"I talked to a lot of people today. I actually have more friends than I thought I did."
They talk for a while. The conversation is so positive it's hard to believe this is actually my son.
"Dr. Stein, I'm a little confused," I interject. "Every morning for two weeks we have been fighting tooth and nail, I mean yelling, screaming, refusing to go to school. He's only been on time once in the past two weeks. He comes home everyday frowning, telling me how horrible his life at school is. He uses that as the reason that he doesn't want to get out of bed and go to school on time."
"How about that Red? Why are you giving your mom such a hard time?" the doctor asks.
"Well...I'm just tired in the morning."
"The funny thing about that is that he's the first one up on weekends and while on we were on Christmas break," I say.
"It sounds like this is about motivation...not about being tired if you have no trouble getting up on the weekends," he says to Red. "
"Also...on weekends and during vacation their is less stress," he says while looking at me.
"Red -your mom also says that you come home and complain. You're picking a fight every morning so that you can be late. So what's up?"
Red looks around for a bunch of excuses. None of them really add up. He tries to blame me for "yelling and being mean." The doctor broke down that explanation by asking him, "Is she yelling or just asking you to do something you don't want to do?"
Red admitted that to be true.
"I don't know why I treat my mom so bad. She's not really mean. I just act different with her because I've been with her my whole life." In other words...I am most comfortable with her. "I really depend on my mom a lot. She does a lot of things for me."
"So why do you think you treat her the worse when you need her the most?" the doctor asked.
He promised to try to treat me better and for the next 5 days...he did.
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