The boys arrived home from camp on Saturday and our quiet week of alone time came to a crashing halt. We had a few minutes of melancholy and then got happy about the noisy boys being home again. They got unpacked, we started some laundry, and then we had a nice Family Naptime Hour. Naps are #1!!!
Yesterday, we had some business to take care of. When Jim and I drove up to camp (4 hours each way) on Friday just to have dinner and enjoy the evening’s festivities with the boys before turning around to get home so I could teach my Saturday morning spin class, the 13-year-old was, shall we say, less than happy. He wasn’t upset at us, but he was extremely quiet and wore the face of someone scorned badly. We couldn’t understand why this kid who was supposedly so homesick early in the week would not express a little happiness at our surprise visit, beyond the first hug when we arrived.
To make a long story short, after sitting down with him this afternoon and having a lovely (and calm, and non-emotional) chat with him about his week, we discovered something. He was a Patrol Leader at camp for the first time and his patrol was made up of 8 boys who are younger (read: inexperienced Scouts).
Inexperienced, young Scouts + Inexperienced 13-year-old Patrol Leader = A Big, Hairy Mess
We don’t think he has a Homesickness Problem at all. He has an Aversion to Change problem, a Reluctance To Try New Things problem, an I Haven’t Practiced Thinking Positively In Negative Situations problem, and a little bit of a When Things Are Going Badly For Me, It’s Not That I’m Homesick But I Just Don’t Want to Be Where I Am problem.
So we hashed it out. He told us the details of his week, we complimented him on the things that he did well, and we asked him to be more open with us about his issues as they come up so we can avoid so much confusion. The conversation went really well.
We had another issue to discuss too: at the dinner (at camp), the 16-year-old was telling us about his bug bites and suddenly, jumping out of his surliness, the 13-year-old leaned in and snapped, “I didn’t get any bug bites, if anybody cares!” It was so unexpected for him to lash out like that. We obviously were getting to him and his bug bites, but were waiting for the other son to finish his sentence.
When we spoke to him yesterday, we brought that up. We asked him why he made the “if anybody cares” comment. He said, “I was joking!”
What? What? Joking?
I said, “It totally didn’t sound like a joke. You didn’t smile afterwards or anything; you just went back to being your crabby self.”
Background info: This kid, for the past year or so, has talked about becoming a stand-up comedian when he grows up. In fact, he IS quite hilarious. He is a huge fan of any and all stand-up comedy, his favorites being Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, John Pinette, and Demetri Martin. He is a little bit of a prankster but finds the funny mostly with jokes, and his sense of humor is, at times, VERY dry.
We talked about this little “joke” of his and explained that he can’t expect people to get his jokes if he’s in a really bad mood.
Really bad mood + dry sense of humor = a joke nobody will understand as a joke.
He understood what we were saying and we went on from there, agreeing that if he’s acting crabby and negative, he would need to make it more obvious that he’s joking.
Later, he and I were baking some root beer cookies. (He wanted to be a chef before he wanted to be a stand-up comedian!) He made some kind of joke and I said, “Now THAT was funny, because I knew you were joking. You’ve just got to know when it’s a good time to joke around.”
He replied, “Yes. And that’s why, just yesterday, I decided not to be a stand-up comedian. I’m going to stick with playing the guitar.”
He’ll always be MY little stand-up comedian.