Ben Tells Me What’s What

New Post:

I haven’t written a blog post in 3 years–partly because, as Ben gets older, I don’t want to embarrass him–it’s just not the same as when he was younger. But last night something happened that made me want to share– because, even if he were an an adult, his ability to set boundaries and teach others (in this case, me) how to treat him is astonishing. His honesty and his self awareness never fail to surprise me. We had this conversation and I wrote it down as soon as we hung up.

Phone call tonight

I was home tonight watching the news when Ben called. His voice is deep now and his delivery is underplayed and relaxed — cool. A cool kid.

Ben: “Hi Mom, Dad said you wanted me to call you when I got out of the shower.”

Me: “Yeah, honey I wanted to say goodnight to you and tell you I love you. How was your day? How are you?”

Ben: “I’m good but mom, you really upset me this morning. First you told me that there is going to be a war and that we might have to leave the country. And then you told me my dad is fat.”


I sat there stunned. I had done that, he was right. I had driven him to Jeff’s and talked about Jeff never having paid any attention to calories and struggling with his weight all his life, and I was telling Ben how important it was to be aware of calories. And the war….last night the U.S. shot down a Syrian plane, plus Trump said “Thanks anyway China, you can’t help us with this N. Korea thing.” So I had war on my mind.

Me: “Wow. I’m sorry honey. What a buzz kill.”

Ben: “Mom, I don’t want you to talk about these things with me again. It’s really like you’re acting like I’m an adult and I can take it but I’m still a kid even though I act like an adult.”

Me: “You’re right. I guess I think of you as my pal sometimes and you are just a kid, it’s true.”

Ben: “A grown up kid.”

Me: “Yes, a grown up kid.”

Ben: “But I don’t want to talk about this stuff anymore even when I get older. I don’t want to be getting ready for danger ever again for one more minute in my life. Even when I’m an adult. That makes my day all shaky and I don’t want shaky days.”

Me: “I get it. I don’t want shaky days either. So what about the news? What about Trump? You don’t want to talk about him? And you don’t want to hear anything about what’s on the news?”

Ben: “Nope.”

Me: “What are we going to do about me watching the news all the time?”

Ben: “I can go in my bedroom. But I can still hear the news through the door. I think you need to get me my own TV for the bedroom. I want a Sony.”

Me: “Well, I do think there should be a TV in there.”

Ben: “Ok and don’t forget. I never want to talk about that stuff again. Not, ever–not even in 2025. But I think Donald Trump will get kicked out of the White House in 2018.”

Me: “Really? 2018?”

Ben: “Yes.”

Me: “Why do you think that?”

Ben: “Because I do. Mom I have to go.”

Me: “Ok I love you.”

Ben: “I love you, too.”


By the way, Jeff is not fat. 🙂


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Ben’s Obsession with Michael Jackson

Ben: “Michael Jackson died wearing his Thriller costume.” Me: “What makes you say that?” Ben: “Because every time he comes out of his grave he is wearing it.”

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Ben’s Unusual Word Choices (and they make sense!)

“Mommy when I went to the Pennington school for Kindergarten, it was kind of a bully-ish school. And that made it luck-based. I did, however, make a really nice painting while I was there. And that was convenient.”

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September 5, 2013

“A butterfly was chasing me. I guess he wanted to be on my team.”–Ben


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When I was a kid, there were hundreds of fireflies every summer night. Now we’re lucky if there’s one. Last night we went to get ice cream and a firefly appeared. Ben stood and watched and after awhile he started saying “thank you” every time the firefly lit up. As I was wrapping my head around this sentiment Ben said, “thank you, firefly for lighting the way.”


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February 28th Bad Day at School

This all happened on February 28th…been meaning to post:

It started with a note from Ben’s teacher, in which I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry:


Ben had a difficult day today. He repeatedly disrupted the two students who sit next to him. He copies everything they say and he calls them names like, “Big Bird.” He also tries to pet one of the students and he says, “What nice fur you have.” I told him that if it continued tomorrow I would have to change his seat. We discussed how those two boys are his friends, and we practiced appropriate ways to talk to our friends and get their attention. If you could talk to him about this I would appreciate it.


Ms. ______

But  that night I discovered that the experience at school with Ben was not funny at all. He cried all during his homework and said he wanted to go to his room. I asked him if I could come with him and we went together. I told him that sometimes there were certain situations that were just not good and that it happens to everyone–it’s happened to me, I told him. “You can be in a bad situation, like this school where you’re just not happy. But we’re going to find you a new school and it will all be better and you won’t feel like this anymore.” He looked at me and through his tears he said:

“I want to climb back inside your stomach and live there from now on. I used to hear you sing from inside there and sometimes you would wake me up. And when I looked through the dark I could see the stars.”

I hugged him while running these sentences through my head. And then I left the room to find a pen.


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Ben’s take on Meditation 2/9/12

A few nights ago Ben mentioned to me that I should meditate–something I used to do a lot more than of late. He is tuned into things so when he told me–out of the blue–to meditate, I did it. Work has been hectic and stressful lately so I was glad to be reminded to take care of myself.

Tonight he and I had a typical evening at home ; we had dinner, he read a little, took a bath, and then he played Angry Birds while I worked on my computer. When I put him into bed I asked him, just for fun, if I should meditate and he told me yes. I said, “Why, Ben?” And he said, “Because you need to settle up.” “Settle…up?” I said. “Yes,” he said and then he rolled over to go to sleep.

I thought about this for awhile. No one would ever use that expression, “settle up”–he couldn’t have heard that somewhere–he made it up. But it’s exactly what meditating is to me–I don’t really settle down…well, I do…but it’s more like I settle upward.

How is he so wise and original?


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10/08. Ben said last week: “Mommy, when we let Simon (our cat) outside in the winter, did he go out there and have a snowball fight with a bird?”

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Sept. 24th, 2011

Yesterday evening Ben and I were driving past the movie theater in our town and I said, “Ben, how about if we go to the movies?” He only likes to watch movies at home–the movie theaters are too loud for him and he sits holding his ears until we leave. So, as I imagined he would, he said no. “Well,” I said. “How about if we go to a different kind of movie…a movie for grown ups…about love…a movie that’s quiet.”  He looked at me from the passenger seat with a big smile on his face and said, “A movie about love? That sounds like a kid’s movie!”


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Broken Hearts

When the first plane hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, like many people, I thought it was an accident. Jeff  was on his way into the city, and he called from the train. My mom (who had been staying with us for three weeks since Ben was born)  answered the phone. “Turn on the news,” Jeff said.

We did, and we watched for a little bit. I saw the flames but, in my mind, I was thinking it was going to be similar to the story about when the plane hit the Empire State Building long ago. A tragedy, yes, but at that point they were saying it was a twin-engine plane, and for some reason I assumed the building was basically empty.  It was just too early in the morning for many people to be in there. Geez, I hope the pilot got out okay, I thought. Total denial.

My mom was getting laundry ready to take to the laundromat, and she had the basket in her arms. We were talking about something. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a fireball on the TV screen.

“Wow, I just saw a fireball or something,” I said.
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