Okay, so one thing that's been taking up a lot of mental bandwidth has been J's behavior. Without getting into all of the dramz, a recent event has reaffirmed my hunch (or is that my hope?) that he will outgrow it as he matures.
This past Saturday, I took J to a classmate's birthday party. There was a bounce house, and he and five of his classmates were having a ball. But, there's always one kid. You know who I'm talking about. That Kid who can't just jump around inside the bounce house and have fun. Oh no. He's the one who has to grab the others by their shirts (the girls, too) and throw them down. He has to play fight, throwing karate chops and kicks that sometimes hit others. And when someone gets hit, it's not his fault. Oh no. It was an accident, the other kid started it, he had to defend himself, and (*sniff!*) he got hurt and he needs some ice. And did I mention that his mom didn't stay? She dropped him off because the sump pump broke and they have to go get the parts to fix it. Uh huh. Riiiiiiiiight.
What did I do about this little charmer? During the party, another mom and I repeatedly spoke to him to let him know that (a) we were on to him, and (b) what he was doing wasn't okay. Knowing this, he would look to see if I was watching him before doing something he knew was wrong. Oh, and after he hurt himself, he had the nerve to look me square in the eye and tell me, "Oh, and don't tell my mom about this." I told him that I was not going to lie for him or anybody else.
I also made it a point to tell J that I was proud of him because he was making good choices; it was easy to get carried away, but he chose not to.
So, in comparison to This Kid, I am breathing a little easier about J. He's a good kid, and I do think he'll outgrow this.