I just spent 20 minutes sitting with my 9 year-old in his bed as he cried and cried.
He is sensitive. He carries so many burdens on his skinny shoulders. Night-time is when it hits him the hardest – recalling how he was short with his sister, thinking about the documentary about the missing bees, or even the brief flashes of a scary movie trailer. He relives it all. So much pain and fear. He hates himself for being mean to his sister. WHY are the bees disappearing, and why aren’t more people worried? Why does anyone who has been loved by someone have to die?
These are the things he said tonight. He also said he feels different from other boys, and that this difference makes him feel isolated. When I asked him what he thought was different, he said he does not like violence and rough-housing and pretending to kill people and that being “peaceful” makes him feel like a square peg in a round hole.
Here’s the thing: he IS different. He has always been different. He has never been a typical “wild” boy – always calm, not a fast mover or noise-maker. He has always played alone at recess – not because he was unwelcome, but because he hated the way the boys all played. He has rarely been invited to parties, and at 9 has NEVER had anyone at school who we didn’t know outside of school invite him over to play. I don’t know why. He is funny, gets straight A’s, cute, has decent hygiene. Why is it so hard for him to fit in?
I can identify with some of this, of course. I am sensitive too, and have always been that way. I get how the fate of the world feels heavy and pointed when you hold it in your hand. I often feel transparent, a conductor to other’s pain. This is a hard way to live, friends.
There is still so much, though, that I don’t understand. I never had issues with motor skills as a child – I could do whatever I wanted. D struggles with this stuff still – running, jumping, climbing, these things do not come naturally to him. I loved to read – I mean, I did it all.the.time. I lived for the Scholastic book order. D is a good reader but is pretty meh about books. I loved art and music – he draws stick people still and quit the violin this year. I don’t know what to do with this kid.
He loves Mine..craft. Which I don’t get, but I don’t have to because it’s his thing and not mine. Since it is an interest, I allowed him to play it – often. He watches youtube videos of it. He began making his own youtube videos – I wasn’t crazy about this but didn’t know what the harm was so I let it go. And I should have been more vigilant. Because soon a few internet trolls latched onto his videos and began making rude comments on them – comments like “what the fuck” and “please stop.” One even commented on his nipples – apparently he’d made the video in his pajamas without a shirt on.
I blocked the commenters. I changed his videos to private – I didn’t want to just delete them, but I didn’t want anyone else to have access to them. I also went through and deleted the mean comments and removed the comment option, just in case they were ever moved back to public without my knowledge. I changed the search filters on all the tablets to the strictest settings. And he is no longer allowed to upload any videos online.
I don’t know what to do here. I love this kid so much. How do I help him? I don’t even know where to start.