Tuesday, February 3, 2009


We have yet to get word from Ryan's father. We know he knows there's a problem, because the note I taped to his door on Sunday ('Please call us. It's about Ryan. We need to talk about what he did to Patrick's hamster.') is gone, but there has been no response. DH and I walked up there three times last night, and there was no answer at the door, and the lights appeared to be off, although he could still have been in there hiding out. He can be kind of childish, so that wouldn't surprise me too much. My hope is that he wasn't home yesterday evening because he drove down to Ryan's mom's house to have a talk with them. I'm taking this as a sign that, at the very least, he knows Ryan has done something serious this time, and is embarrassed to talk to us about it.

What should I do? Let it go for awhile, and wait and see, or continue to go up there frequently until we get him? It's pretty obvious that he doesn't want to talk about it with us at the moment. With any luck, Ryan will have been honest with him about what he did, if they've talked. I mean, it's not like he can just move away, so we'll see him eventually, although I would prefer to speak to him before Friday, when Ryan comes back. I do not want that boy showing up on our doorstep, because it's probably one of those conversations that I would rehash forever in my mind, whether I overdid it or held my tongue. On the other hand, since I don't know what his parents will have said to him, maybe it would be best if he *did* show up here and I talked to him, to make sure he understands the severity of what he's done and how much he has upset people. Also, it would be appropriate for him to apologize, although I'm not sure he actually would, since even for lesser things he would rarely do more than mutter.

My other option is to leave another note on Dave's door, explaining exactly what happened, and letting him know that Ryan will no longer be welcome in our home. I really want to say to him that we think he could use some counseling, either from the school or otherwise, but that might come across badly in a letter. On the other hand, maybe I don't care so much how it comes across.

Either way, I am at least no longer feeling sick over it. I literally was so upset that I was close to vomiting for a long time. I feel a lot more calm, like something awful has happened, and it's time to move on. I suppose that's one good thing about being so awfully upset - it burns through fairly quickly.


Fiona Picklebottom said...

I had just read your first post on this when this one popped up in my reader. This situation would have my stomach in knots as well. I don't really know what to tell you. I'm usually a wimp when it comes to confrontation, but I think this situation is severe enough that I would get over that tendency.

If he avoids you for another day, I would write that letter explaining exactly what happened and that you are sorry, but you cannot allow your children or pets to be exposed to someone who would mistreat a defenseless creature in such a horrific way, so you would appreciate if he would make sure his son knows that he is no longer welcome in your house or to socialize with your children. If you really want to suggest counseling, you can try to force it by saying that he can either get his son counseling or you will contact whatever authorities handle such situations.

If his son DOES, for whatever reason, show up at your door, I would calmly tell him that he is no longer allowed to play with your children and he is not allowed in your home and exactly why and then close the door on him. He'll get the message. Hopefully.

Sucks that this is a neighbor.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fiona. Give it a few more days and if you still don't hear anything, write a long, precise, non-judgmental letter that fully explains what he did, why he is no longer allowed in our house (or to play with your son) and your sincere suggestion that his child obtain counseling. That's going to be the hard part - suggesting counseling b/c it implies something is "wrong" with his kid and that gets a parent's defenses up. I know that's not how you mean it, but it's going to be tricky.

Keep us posted.

PS - Will another hamster be forthcoming?

Kristi said...

This whole situation just puts knots in my stomach. I'm pretty much an "all talk no action" type of girl when it comes to confrontation.

I basically agree with Fiona and Shelly. Give it a few more days, and then write the letter. If Ryan shows up I would explain it to him. 8 years is old enough to know that what he did was wrong.

I'm not sure how to suggest the counseling issue. It's such a touchy subject.

Good luck. I'm so sorry you have to go through this!

creative kerfuffle said...

wow, i don't know how i missed the other post but i just went back and read it and omfg is right. i really don't even know what to say. it's creepy and scary and poor patrick for witnessing that. i

Hotch Potchery said...

I also missed the first post, and am so sorry about your hamster, your boy, and this whole awful mess.

I can not even begin to figure out what to suggest for you to do, because I have NO idea what I would do. It would be eating me alive until I got my peace out though! What about Ryan's mom?

Kristin.... said...

I am really anxious to hear how the parent is going to handle this. I really hope he isn't a "not my kid" kind of parent.

How is Patrick doing? Poor kiddo.

Astarte said...

Thanks everyone!!

I don't think another hamster is coming anytime soon. Luckily, Patrick wasn't as attached to Luke as he was to Anniken (the previous hamster), so he's not as interested in another one. He asked for a puppy instead, and since poor Tyler is not long for this earth, we told him that in awhile, when we're ready, he can help to pick out a new puppy to be Baci's friend.

I don't know Ryan's mom, but I kind of wish I did. She lives in another town, and it's always Dave who brings Ryan home, never his mom who picks him up, so I've never even seen her. From what I've heard (admittedly, via her ex) she's not such a great parent, and from what I've seen, I'm inclined to agree. I do know that he has older sisters from another relationship, one of whom I met at the pool one day, but that's it.

arbee said...

Hor-ri-fied at what happened to poor Luke!

Hope that this kid's dad gets him the help he needs, since obviously he has serious issues...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a new reader and am really enjoying your journal. I hope I'm not overstepping a new-reader boundary by offering my opinion here. I agree with the others that a carefully worded but neutral letter is the way to go if you don't hear from the father, but I wouldn't bring up counseling in the letter. Tone and intention are too easily misunderstood in print. Hopefully after the dad gets the letter, he'll talk to you and you can introduce the idea of counseling then. Don't get me wrong -- I think the kid needs someone to help him sort out whatever is making him so angry -- but keeping the peace in the neighborhood is important too, especially for Patrick's sake.