Monday, August 25, 2014

Red Hot Ryder

Red Hot Ryder Holding A Club on a Horse

He woke up late this morning. He tends to do that when he's been in trouble the night before. Being on restriction, he realizes that he has no reason to get up any earlier than he has to. He lost use of his iPad and all electronics for reasons I won't get into here.

As he did for the past couple of school days with Bugs Bunny and Leo the Lion, he went to his iPad to choose a Looney Tunes still. He picked this shot of Red Hot Ryder from the cartoon, "Buckaroo Bugs." I think it's funny that the narrator introduces Red Hot Ryder as "Brooklyn's famous fighting cowboy." Victor has watched this cartoon countless times and loves the dialog in it, usually replaying certain phrases over and over and over again. In this snapshot, Red Hot Ryder is about to give his horse a wallop to get it to stop. He had pleaded with the horse and asked it repeatedly to, "whoa," but it just kept galloping on, leaving him with this obvious course of action.

I took to task and finished pretty quickly. I'd intended to draw it smaller and include his whole hat and the entire club. Instead, I unintentionally drew it with the scale and proportions that match the snapshot exactly. His hat and the club are clipped in the screenshot just as in my drawing. I definitely enjoy drawing these cartoon scenes. It would appear from the plethora of screenshots Victor's saved on his iPad that I might be doing many more in the coming days and weeks.

We didn't speak much this morning. I could tell he was a little sore about being on restriction. We didn't have much time for chit-chat anyway. He went through the routine more smoothly than normal -- one benefit of him looking to be on his best behavior to earn his privileges back.

"What do you think?" I asked him.

"Looks pretty much the same," he replied. It may not seem like much, but that was actually a high compliment considering how critical he can be sometimes.

It's interesting now that he uses his iPad at school because I no longer have control of what he does with it during the day. I did, however, explicitly tell him that I didn't want him using it before school which he had done last week.

So far, I've parked and stuck around at the school until his teacher opens her door. He hasn't yet told me not to stay, but he has made it clear, on account of him ditching me once we get to the stairs, that he doesn't want me to be too near. Oh, how things have changed from the days in Kindergarten and Pre-K when he wouldn't leave my side. I've kept my distance, respecting his space, but I stay because I relish the opportunity to watch him interact with the other kids.

On the second day of school, he took out his iPad and found a shady spot to sit down. I looked across the playground and wondered why he wasn't running around or playing with any of the other kids. It was a warm morning. I found myself wishing he was releasing energy in the sunshine instead of sitting down, all by himself, in the shade. It made me worry about his future at this school and the challenges of finding new friends.

The playground was full, as was the blacktop, with kids running, jumping, climbing, and sliding. Several kids near the buildings were chatting and being silly in groups or in pairs. There were many other kids on their devices too. He wasn't the only one. Most of them were by themselves, independently typing or tapping away. I wondered how he'd make friends if he just kept to himself with his focus locked onto the screen of his iPad. Was this the future of school playgrounds? Was he avoiding the challenges of making new friends in a new school? I stared out across the field, then at the kids playing basketball, then at the ones on the play structure.

I looked back to find Victor and was surprised to see a crowd of kids around him. Some were sitting by his side; others stood looking over his shoulder. There was one kid standing directly in front of him looking upside down at his screen. I was pretty sure he was building something new in one of his Minecraft worlds. Clearly the other kids were excited about it. I thought the access to technology was making him antisocial; but, as it turns out, it was the iPad and Minecraft that drew in the others. I only recognized one of the other kids, so it was clear that these were new friends he was making.

Later that evening, he confirmed it. "Today I made new friends, Daddy. They like Minecraft," he told me. He listed out their names. That made me very happy. Now I know he'll be alright. Things may be a little different at this new school, but the future looks bright on all accounts.

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