There is this five year old boy with the intellect of a 3 year old. His mother abandoned him through neglect and his father is trying to raise him in the little time he gets with him a week. The father tried to reason with his fiance before she left; however, a new life of general social rejection was more appealing to her. The parents of the mother embraced him with open arms, but at their age, there is so much that they can do. As far as I know, no one properly plays with this child.
Whenever I see him, he is always on a computer or a gaming system- which is fine every once in a while, but a kid at his age should have his nose pressed against the screen for over 10 hours a day like he does. No one can feed him properly because his mother only feeds him McDonald's and he refuses to have any other food.
I do my most to try to get him to try new things, run around outside, expand his knowledge of the world and the language he is supposed to already have learned (by this, I mean the basics... It seems he can only communicate in broken phrases); despite my attempts to do good, there are still several things cutting me off from him.
The main factor is his Grandpa... His relationship to his son is nonexistent even though they live in the same house. They simply don't click, it's as simple as that. For that reason, he sees this child as a second chance (the mother of the child is not his daughter, but his wife's). This is a completely natural mentality to adopt, but when you control the child to where you won't let a 19 year old girl try to talk him into drinking soy milk, or eating brussels sprouts because you have issues with someone else influencing him, you have some serious issues.
Earlier this evening, I was pretending to be Batman and he was my Robin. We were tip toeing past the bombs, hopping over booby traps and trying to catch the Joker and over in the next room his grandpa's voice instructed, "don't get him wound up. Let him watch videos on the computer." I turned to the kid and said, "you know what Robin, we might have let him escape today, but we'll get the Joker tomorrow." and I gave him a high five. He refused to go into the next room.
I over-exaggerated a pout and then knelt with my arms open to carry him into the next room. He didn't react at all. When I scooped him into my arms, he just dangled awkwardly. This troubled me more than being told to stop. I set him down in the hallway before the room his Grandpa was in to not upset anything and I urged him to go in. Immediately he walked over to the computer desk.
"Sorry, sir," was all I managed to say. I don't like explaining to others why I do what I do. There was a long silence with just the droning of the TV and computer giving motion to the particles around us three. An idea presented itself to me as I thought about ways to fix what I had done.
After a few minutes of listening to me talking the child into getting a warm cup of milk so he could sleep, his Grandpa responded with, "you don't have to influence him at all. Don't worry about him. I can take care of him."
"Sorry, sir. I just felt bad about playing with him earlier, when you wanted him to sit at the computer. I know warm milk puts people to sleep..."
Is it sad that what I said was genuine and he wasn't bothered by it at all? He repeated what he said. I stared into the child's back as he sat at the computer three yards away from me, wishing him the best of luck. Then, I left.
Nothing is harder for me than seeing a child being deprived of something and barely being able to do anything about it. It's happening right under my nose and I can't step out of bounds... the moment I do...
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