Friday, August 17, 2007

Developmental Age

I hope that I am not seeming worried about Frankie's child-like behaviors. Well, I was a bit concerned about the time-telling thing, and I appreciate everyone reassuring me on that score.

I am not generally worried about Frankie, concerned that we find the right educational environment for him, not but generally worried.

Frankie is a sweet kid. I am used to teenagers who are street-smart, tough, and parentified. You know, sixteen going on thirty. These kids are younger than they want to admit, but they put up a good front. Their attitude says, "I'll accept a limited amount of parenting from you because it's the price of living here, but I don't really need it."

Carl, when he first moved in, seemed to be a cross between a 16-year-old and a younger child. He had 16-year-old friends and an "I'm too old for a parent" attitude. He also enjoyed playing with Andrew, who was then 11. There was a difference though. Carl seemed like a 16-year-old who was periodically "going back" and enjoying some of the things that he missed.

Frankie however seems like ... well, like a perfectly normal 10-year-old boy. I walked by his room on my way to mine and heard him playing with his Lego creations making those machine noises kids make when they play with toy vehicles and robots. He is so unself-consciously excited about what he has taught his Furby to do. He doesn't seem like a 15-year-old playing 10-year-old games. He just seems 10.

I want to go out and buy him the big box of crayons. I bet he never got the big box -- especially with all the crayons new and pointy.

It makes sense that he would be about age 10 in some ways. Though his life was far from perfect prior to that age, that was when it became truly bizarre. Once it stopped being too strange for words, he was into care and then group homes. So he missed being age 10.

But that is okay. It is fun having a little boy in the house again. I expect he will go through the developmental stages more quickly. In other words, in a year I expect he will be closer to 15 than to 11, but I don't know. In any case, the whole point of being here is to let him be himself.

I also wonder if being a little kid is protecting him from dealing with the issues that his pubescence forces on him. That though is okay too. One of my favorite therapists told me once that denial is a good thing: it keeps us from feeling or thinking about things we are not ready to feel or think about.

Frankie will grow up when he is ready and feels safe enough to do it.

In the meantime I might just go buy that box of crayons.


  1. Oh please do! One of my favorite gifts I ever got myself was the BIG box of crayons. Crayola ones, not the cheap knock-offs. I still have it.

  2. Yes, get him the crayons! When I got out on my own I bought myself the big box of 64 Crayola crayons (with the built-in sharpener). I've rarely used them, but love knowing that I have them.

  3. Definitely get the crayons. They must be Crayola (best are the ones made in USA) with the 64 colors and the sharpener in the back.

    Just go buy them, along with a pad of white drawing paper, and place them in his room.

    If nothing else, he'll probably open the box and smell them, because there is nothing quite as wonderful as the smell of a box of brand-new, never been used, crayons.

    Truthfully, even as an adult, I'm happy to buy a new box of crayons... Granted, I share them with my kid, but I draw with them too.


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