March 20, 2005 – 7:00 pm

We had a great run of a few weeks where the weather and family travels aligned: Dad and I were both back, so we got to do a lot of fishing boat activity. One day we caught a ton of fish (they were practically jumping into the boat) and on the way back into the harbour we saw a pod of dolphins so Jenine jumped overboard to swim with them. Great times.

But Dad’s away in the US and when he’s away we don’t go out on the boat. And when we don’t go out on the boat, we’re just not as happy. Bad things always seem to come to the front when he’s gone, it’s like he’s a talisman warding off the bad mojo. No pressure, Dad.

So the latest stuff is bullying at school. It’s unclear what’s going on, but he had a bruise he didn’t want to talk about and he has told us stories of being pushed. Then we went to a school swimming day and saw a lot of unpoliced rather grotty behaviour.

It’s also plain that he’s not seamlessly merging into the class. I went along to the playground today during interval and lunch to see how they played, and W doesn’t have a steadfast thick-and-thin friend the way that he did in the US. He bounced between groups, not really fitting in with any of them.

He’s upset by the move. He occasionally asks to go back to America to see his friends. He’s more fragile than he usually is: bursting into tears if he drops his sandwich on the ground, for example. And, most worryingly, in the last few days Jenine has heard him (our lovely, beautiful, sweet, wonderful, gentle, loving six year old) talking not melodramatically but just straightforwardly and wistfully about being dead.

So we’re wigging out, as you can well imagine. What do we do? Move him into a different school, where he’ll still not fit in? He might find good kids, he might not. He’s never had to make friends before, as he’s always been around the same group of kids that he’s known since they were infants. Maybe he doesn’t know how to make friends and the stress would still be there in the new school? Is it about finding good people or avoiding bad ones? What do we DO?

So that’s the current source of stress. It’s a bummer, because without the school/friends thing we’d be okay. Jenine has a job that’s loving (part-time fixing computers for the local high school) and we have met some interesting people via a great party that we went to last week. But we don’t really have room to be happy about those things when we can see W (and to a lesser extent R) is so miserable.

Next step is to talk to a family friend who’s also a counsellor. I find it difficult to think rationally when my boy’s so upset, so I’m hoping she can bring a little clarity to our thinking here …

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