Sunday, June 24, 2007

Many of the NOLA blogpocheh are linking to this interview of one of our own. Read some more of The American Zombie's blog, and you'll get another reason - indeed, a whole bunch of reasons why this guy is one of the touchstones of truth concerning New Orleans. Check it out, folks.

As for me, I am laid up in my bed trying to fight a fever. Caught it from the stresses of coming in to an industrial-grade A/C-ed building from a towelling-off at the pool in the summer heat twice a day with all the campers...or I caught it from the campers themselves. As it is, I'm getting a tad more pessimistic about working with the five-year-olds than I have been. It doesn't help when I walk into a meeting with the camp directors and my fellow group counselors, and the first words out of the directors' mouths are, " guys have the hardest group in camp." We talked over kids who aren't participating, kids who are stirring things up, how best to get the attention of the kids without yelling our heads off, kids who are still affected by what happened during and shortly after Katrina. Five counselors and eighteen kids - shouldn't be too tough, but then accountability creeps in over our heads. It's something I encountered last summer, and it's something that's going to be there for as long as I'm working with kids.

Even with my own son, which is also getting discouraging.

It's even tougher when he's attending the same camp where I am counseloring (though he's not in the same group, thank God). Turns out he's been acting out for the past three months, which is something I learned only recently after he had a very bad day last week. I called his teacher from the past school year for tips, and she informed me of this fact. She also assumed it was because my husband was traveling a lot. This is now making me question even more my decision to come back and work at the camp. Having his counselors and mom at the same place is having worlds collide. If things get any worse, I am leaning towards keeping the little guy there rather than keeping my job...because this area is in the middle of a major crisis with regards to many services for children. I can be replaced. A different camp for my son is an ill-advised move.

I was raised with the idea that I would be very self-sufficient and look out for my personal interests. No one ever told me that my interests would go right out the window once my own children were in the picture, but I certainly had many hints of this fact. If the right thing is me staying at home and teaching my son to keep his hands to himself, well, I'll have to do that...because, ultimately, I am accountable, since he is a minor under my care. I am seeing firsthand how all-too-easy it is for people to label a four-year-old as ADD, as emotionally disturbed due to a need for a father who is working his tail off in Baton Rouge every weekday, as a little pariah.

These are the things I was always afraid of if I ever became a mother, and here they all are, right in my face. I hate that I have brought my son into all of this, but I am obligated not to give up on him, first and foremost. If I am fully recovered from my fever by tomorrow morning, this next week will only tell if I will stay or go. If I must head out, the five-year-olds will have to do their thing with a new person and a quite capable group of four counselors that are still there. Such is life, sometimes. I guess.


Mark said...

One thing I observed during my brief stint coaching (herding) T-ball: my son would act up a lot. I finally decided it was because of the amount of attention I was giving to other kids.

Might not apply to your circumstance, but if he knows mom is just around the corner with another group...

Leigh C. said...

Well, it's also why I would rarely volunteer for helping in his class during the school year. If it involved bringing things into class or whatever, I could do that, but I couldn't come into his classroom for any length of time before he'd get crazy.