Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Living with him

This evening after dinner:

Frankie. "Yondalla, will you help me find the headset?"
Me, "No, I'm busy right now."
Frankie, "Do you know where it is?"
Me, "No. If I knew where it was I help you, but I don't know where it is."
Frankie, "Do you think it might be with the electronic games?"
Me, "Frankie, what part of 'I don't know where it is' is confusing you?"
Frankie giggles and says, "None. I'll find it."
And he did.

Recently I have been getting a lot of "I don't know how you do it. I could never deal with Frankie."

And I am not certain how to respond, because I wouldn't have thought I could either. The description I got was not wrong, but it was not accurate either. I was told that he was fifteen, had had some anger management issues but was doing much better, and had done some gender identity questioning. I made certain that he wasn't dangerous to the kids and agreed to meet him.

If I had been told that he was going to seem like a much younger child who tended to obsess and almost never stopped talking, I don't think I would have taken him. I think I would have said that I could not deal with that.

But it turns out that I can. It turns out that I did not know what I could do until I tried.

I think it helps that he speaks in a deep voice. It just isn't the high pitch screaming sound that some kids make. Perhaps having lived within institutions makes a difference, since he doesn't seem to expect you to escalate with him. He may be frustrated to the point that he is lying on the floor crying, but he really isn't trying to work me up. And of course it helps that he is not terribly difficult to de-escalate, assuming you have any skills in that area at all.

Besides, a lot of the time he is just plain funny.

While I have been writing this he has been playing his game. I just notice that he is not narrating and that he hasn't been narrating while he plays for a while. Anyway, he stopped and walked over and leaned against my chair. "How are you Yondalla?"
"I'm fine. Do you need something?"
"No. I just thought I would take a little break and say hi."
"So are you having fun?"
"Yep. Barrel of laughs."
"Okay. I'll go back now."
And he did.


  1. I had thought I sensed a bit of humor lying underneath some of his and your comments about him, I that is what would keep me going.

  2. So often your posts about Frankie remind me of my Slugger. Constant narration, etc. But there's a sweetness in there, isn't there?

  3. I think you are just MUCH more patient than I could ever be. Kudos to you.

  4. Like the toddler who has to check in every little bit, verbally and physically...gradually changing to visual. Makes me wonder what developmental stage he may be filling.

  5. I was going to say what Jo said but she beat me to it.

    Sometimes a sense of humor is the one thing that saves us.

  6. Anonymous10:21 AM

    This is my first comment here. I really like your blog. To me, Frankie sounds cute and endearing. Potentially irritating, but sweet.



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