This year, it was about anxiety.
After some too-public parenting and a minor diversion home and back to Sturbridge this past weekend, I can say that yet another event has taught me yet another set of lessons.
- Adolescents do not think clearly and will not tell you what is going on except under duress. Expect tears.
- Keep the kid busy.
- First aid help exists, use it.
- Pack Gatorade.
- Bed sacks increase warmth and comfort immensely.
The Young Mr, seen above in Full Pout Mode, had a roiling head full of anxiety made worse by heat and dehydration, for which he refused water and the suggestion of luxuriating in the air conditioned splendor of the upholstered sofette in the lobby of the Bullard Tavern. He made it through one activity and then I took him home because he felt so unwell, complaining of a headache and a stomach ache and feeling hot and then cold that I thought he was really ill. (We’ve had some tense “will-he-or-won’t-he puke-in-my-purse” train rides home, so I tend to overreact.)
Not until Auburn and a large bottle of Gatorade later, when suddenly his stomachache and headache were gone, did I figure out that it was mild heat exhaustion and anxiety, not flu or something worse. And then realized I could have taken him to the first aid station instead of home. But, once home, after a nap and a fight and a dish of curry, he’d promised to go back up on Sunday, which was much better.
Again, he got to serve as ensign and carry the colors, marching behind the guys as they sang their way through the village. But somehow, Sunday, everything seemed better than it had the day before, when he hadn’t told me how much he fears the start of high school, and how worried he is about his future. No more reading the New York Times for him…
This isn’t the costume or action report you might want, but living history with an adolescent is challenging. The Young Mr is just too young to field (he’s only 14 but almost 15) and he doesn’t want to be a drummer. It’s a challenge to find things that he can legally and safely do that integrate him into the unit of guys, which is what he really craves. Perhaps it’s because he gets to try out what it’s like to be a man, while still being a boy.
I don’t have kids but we do have teenage boys (3-5 of them) who act as bowmen and boy can I relate. Our bowmen help around camp just like the others in the unit and then they may take the field with them as water carriers as long as they are being safe. WE have had to hold one or two of them because of hydration or safety issues but they get the picture quickly. How are the men with him? Do they treat as a member? Do they teach him about things around camp? Is he the only boy who is not able to field? Our boys have chosen to go to drills during the winter so that they are learning and will be VERY ready when that magic age arrives. 🙂 They are the future of the hobby.
The guys are pretty good with him, but this unit has only known him for a year now. He’s been a good ensign and I can see how proud he is to be one of the guys whenever he gets the chance, and I think they can see it, too. He’s very safety conscious, and good at following rules, just not his mother’s advice. ☺
The next meeting is soon, so joining the drills can be on the docket. It’s only 14 months till he can legally carry a musket! It’s so quick to us, but a lifetime to him. Other units are ready to scoop him up—he can look more than the nearly 15 that he is—so if these guys are not careful, he’ll be in a red coat before they know it!
Some of the events prohibit water and powder carriers, and this was one of them. For a while, camp chores were enough, but they’re not anymore. He enjoys role-playing, and did well with the sergeant in Cambridge. For Boston, if I can get him in on the early drills, he can be an aggrieved minor taken advantage of by the sutlers. That will help him get through the next 14 months, and build his relationship and purpose in the unit.
Glad to hear about your unit! It is a lifetime to them. 🙂 One of our moms (she’s not an active member) had to talk to her son about the hydration and eating issue and FINALLY got through to him that if he didn’t take care of himself he wouldn’t be able to be active and would need to stay back in camp all the time.