Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Trying to talk to Norma

Norma can be quite defensive about her son and, yet, there are things I still need to bring up.

J and her son are in strings camp together. Norma is taking in the morning on her way to work and I pick up after lunch. In the beginning, I didn't realize I'd be picking up her son, Lenny, and bringing him here. She said he could stay home, but I knew it wouldn't end up that way. I wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea of me babysitting him being part of the deal, but I decided it would be worth it in the long run. For the past two years, Norma picked Lenny up at lunch and kept him at work; it was that pattern I'd been expecting.

Tuesday, both boys played well downstairs all afternoon, although I was really anticipating Norma's arrival home at 6:15 or so. It felt like a long time to keep the kid and I kept trying to shoo him home so he'd be there when she got there.

Instead, around 6 and through J, Lenny, who is 12, asked if he could use the computer. I knew it was coming. I knew I didn't want him on my computer. I do not have child controls and I do not know the places he goes. With J, I know he just goes to gaming sites. Lenny goes other places, looks things up on Google, etc., places I'm not saying are bad; they're just different and could potential lead to much more than Cartoon Network. Just the one time several months ago Lenny and J spent time together here on the computer changed J's viewing habits.

So I told the both of them that I didn't want to be responsible for Lenny on the computer, that he looks at different things and I don't have child controls. Also, I said that his (M.ormon) mother is very particular and I don't know what is allowed.

I figured that I should pass this along to Norma, just in case he questioned this. So today at lunch, I went to pick up the boys. Mind you, the line is exceedingly long. The first day, I got there five minutes early and still waited 20 minutes. I decided to try it earlier the second day and got there 20 minutes early. Finally, the children began pouring out. I saw J, but no Lenny. Although cars could get around me, I felt like I was holding up the line, as I was toward the front, so I sent J to look for Lenny. Twice. J could not find him. So I called Lenny's cell. Voice mail. I didn't know if that meant he was on the phone with his mother or not, so I called his mother at work to see. Always defensive about him, she said she wasn't on the phone with him (they had been the day before, so that's where I got the idea) and that the phone was probably off. She said that maybe his class had not let out yet. Perhaps, but there were schloodles of other kids out waiting. Most likely he is doddling, I thought. That's his style.

While I had her on the phone, I told her I wanted to tell her about the computer and me explaining to him that I didn't want to be responsible for it. She snapped back that he's fine at his father's. I responded that he changed J's viewing habits and I didn't want to deal with that again. She defended that dynamic, saying that kids together are up to more mischief than a kid alone, then went on ad infinitum about some women and their sons, how they egg each other on. Well, when J's never been to Google and he goes because of Lenny, I would say that is an older boy's influence on a younger boy. However, I couldn't get in a word edgewise that I was trying to protect the safety of both our sons, not accuse her son of being a pervert, but sometimes there's no talking to Norma. She defensively takes a turn at a tangent and the original point is lost.

Finally Lenny shows, strolling out, sun glasses on before he left the building. Ahh, he's acting the teenager. He's oblivious to the idea that someone is waiting on him. He was poky putting his instrument away and getting out to the pick up line. At least today, I was to take him to his telecommuting father's house. Of course, his father pulled up after I did; I don't think I could have left Lenny on his own if Daddy didn't pull up. Poor Lenny has such critical and picky parents.

So here this is, documented for my sake for later and getting it off my chest. Norma didn't call me to walk for the first weeknight in a long time. I guess she is mad at me. I wish she weren't so defensive about her son; she always complains of the school singling her son out and how they seem to pick on him. Honestly, being called to the Principal's office twice a year isn't picking and I am realizing it is a lot more about her reaction to them than merely the behavior of her son.

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