If you saw an entry get posted earlier today then mysteriously disappear, that was my fault. I wrote something short and quick about Riley being fearful about random things lately, especially noises, and shortly after I hit publish someone commented about the possibility that he may have Sensory Processing Disorder and maybe I should consider getting him evaluated — and I had this knee-jerk reaction of feeling like I had portrayed my child superficially and falsely, like I’d painted only a tiny part of his whole enormous picture. Like I’d left the door open for his mental health to be analyzed based on five slapdash paragraphs.

I’m fairly certain the commenter meant her suggestion in the same way that people suggest cradle cap treatments and potty training methods and anything else — which is to say, it was surely meant out of kindness, just an idea for my consideration. And it’s not an out-of-line suggestion at all, especially when you consider the things I’ve written about Riley — hates loud noises, is a picky eater, roils with suspicion. But that’s the problem, I think I tend to turn people into a sort of caricature of themselves when I write about them here (JB, the fence-leaping, nuts-grabbing, constantly leering husband!) and I don’t want to do that with my children. As Riley gets older he’s getting so much more complicated, he’s such a faceted little person now instead of a baby who spends their day engaged in mostly the same activities as all babies do.

The other day I was watching Riley play in our garage and he had picked up this piece of wood and was brandishing it ferociously, shouting about how he was chasing goats out of Daddy’s shop. Over and over he would run from one end of the shop to the other, waving his stick and yelling for the goats to GO, GET OUT OF HERE! And at one point he bashed his stick down all cave-boy-like and I started feeling like things were getting maybe a little too aggressive, so I said something about how he didn’t want to hurt the goats, did he? And right away he got all contrite and changed the game entirely, now he was picking up invisible baby goats that fit in his palm, holding his hands up to me tenderly for me to see the tiny goats, they’re just babies Mommy. Next he wanted to build a home for the baby goats, so he took pieces of wood and made a square frame outside in the grass for the baby goats. At one point I said let’s call the goats in to their new home, and I (stupidly) said “Here they come!” while pointing across the lawn and his eyes grew wide and fearful and suddenly he was kind of frightened and wanted to go inside.

So you see, depending on what part of that (incredibly thrilling!) story I chose to tell, you might think Riley was kind of violent (the stick, the chasing), sweet and loving (the goat home), or just kind of a wuss (the being scared of the, uh, invisible goats that he had invented).

Anyway. After 6 years of this, I feel like I’m blindly groping into new territory blogwise. I just want to do right by my kids, and I suppose I’m still trying to figure out what that means when it comes to this website.

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