A Happening Dude

Truth-telling time — we had a really challenging summer with Island Boy.

Maybe we pushed his geographic boundaries too far.  Summer 2010 was IB’s first with our family and in America.  As a result, we hewed closely to our policy of keeping our world as small as possible for his sake.  As a result, we did not take any trips away from Kay Nou.  “This is your home, and you can expect to sleep here every night.  All of your people will return here every night as well,” was the prevailing ideology.

Flash forward one year.  There were long trips to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Haiti picnic near Gettysburg and, of course,  our great western adventure.  The latter roadie was characterized by memorable segments such as: the tantrum in Minnesota; the tantrum in South Dakota; the nuclear tantrum in Iowa.

After returning home, the tantrums continued.  They were bad, too.  Worse than anything we had ever experienced with our Caribbean Prince.  We wondered if the difficulties that we had anticipated (and seemingly avoided) in early 2010 were coming home to roost a year and a half late.

Running Girl and I despaired of the coming school year.  What would the drop-offs be like?  Had our failure to properly socialize IB with other kids this summer (or at least we used this notion for self-flagellation purposes) turned him into an anti-social, weirdo kid who had lost all ability to connect with his peers?

And worst of all: what would we do when the elementary school principal called with the sad news that our son had been expelled for abhorrent behavior in kindergarten?  Obviously, one of us would have to quit our job to stay home with the monster we had created.

Gentle readers, this may sound comical to you as you peruse this post (we certainly hope it does).  But, I assure you that these were very real worries for Running Girl and myself a few short weeks ago.  Just because we didn’t choose to share them with you at the time doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.  We get it that the formula is for readable blog posts is:

Pain + Time = Comedy

****

The great thing is that life will surprise you every once in a while.

Just when you think “We’re so totally fucked,” La vie will grab you by the boo-boo and shake vigorously.

Turns out, kindergarten was just what Island Boy needed.  Drop-offs were rocky for exactly one (1) day.  After that, our Haitian Hero found his groove.  And his mission.

The mission’s name was Carson.  He is a little boy who has struggled mightily with kindergarten anxiety.  One look at the little dude’s distraught face was enough to break your heart.

Well Sir, IB is Carson’s rock.  He helps Carson through the h-e-double chopsticks that is the early morning Y program at Derek Jeter Elementary School (it’s not really called thatbut I can dream, can’t I?).  In turn, Carson gives Island Boy a purpose.

And as the weeks have gone by, this dynamic has lessened to some extent.  Within a month, I’ll bet you that IB and Carson will be just two boys ready for the world each school day.

As for school, to our bewilderment, Island Boy has not been expelled.  In fact, he is thriving.  His teacher loves him.  His in-class aide is super helpful (despite the fact that she sends home notes warning us that IB’s lunchbox is “smelly”).  His in-school services are apparently working.

IB is learning to read!

Island Boy was supposed to be out here with his teammates.

It’s almost as if the Derek Jeter Elementary principal (to whom I have derisively — and quite unfairly — referred in the past as “Principal Barbie”) knew what she was talking about when she told us, “Relax.  We know what we’re doing here.  We realize that Island Boy is a very special case.”

She’s right.  Island Boy is a special case.  He gets special treatment.  But, he needs it.  And he deserves it.

*****

Instead, he ended up here.

On Saturdays, IB plays soccer.  When he first arrived in America, we pushed hard in a futile attempt to get him into a youth soccer league.  “Too young,” they told us.  “Not until he’s five.”  We bemoaned their lack of foresight (to our mind) for petty insurance purposes.

Guess what?  It turns out that Island Boy is a total disaster on the soccer pitch.  He’s an indifferent player.  He can’t follow any directions from his coaches.  And the only goals he has scored have been rocket shots directly into his team’s own net.

But, we’ve decided to give him a pass on this one.  You can only ask so much from a little dude.  Even a super hero like Island Boy who can overcome obstacles such as:  orphanage life in Haiti, large-scale catastrophe, immigration with just the shirt on his back, a new family, and their crazy scheme to haul his butt in a vehicle across America to look at Mount Rushmore for an hour.

So what if soccer’s not his bag at this moment in time?  We’re playing the long game here.  There’s always next season, or not at all, if he doesn’t choose to swing that way.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world, Island Boy.  You’re doin’ just fine.

— The Major

Island Boy after soccer.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Cec on October 3, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Well, while we’re a little disappointed that our’s will now be the only one throwing nuclear tantrums on this side of the street, we’re glad IB has hit his groove at school.

    Reply

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