Posts tagged ‘friendship’

And so it begins

     On this morning of the first day of school, I find myself more anxious than usual about the new year. After one year of difficulties with boys, I thought it might be a fluke. After two years, I know it’s a pattern. So what will 3rd grade bring, and is there any way C can attend an all girls school?

     The elusive path to friendship with a peer boy eludes C. I worry that all the boys in his class will be gargantuan-sized athletic boys who understand the subtle ways to tease someone else and get away with it. I have visions of C sitting alone at the lunch table, trying not to cry into his rice milk. Will yet another year pass with the only party invitation being from the boy whose Mother makes him invite the whole class?    

     We’ve done everything we can to pave the way to a successful year. We explored the idea of holding him back to be with a “nicer” group of boys, but decided against it. I met with C’s new principal multiple times to ensure his placement with the teacher who would be the best match for him. I took C in to meet with said best-match-teacher (heretoforeveraftermore dubbed “Mrs. D”) last week, and, as per usual, he is smitten (so am I). It helps that Mrs. D resembles “Peach,” C’s favorite Mario character, and has dog pictures scattered around her room. 

     There is hope. C’s desk is next to a girl from his class last year who was delightfully kind to him. I’ve volunteered to be class Mom in the hopes that I can arrange some playdates with other kids. The new special education teacher seems to be a definite bright spot.

     I don’t want much. Just. One. Friend. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

August 10, 2009 at 5:11 am 11 comments

The core of the matter

     There are always memorable comments made at C’s IEP meetings; comments that stick in my head for one reason or another. Usually, it’s because someone on his team has so beautifully captured something about him, and I hold the thought close to figure out what to do with it later. Long past the point of leaving an IEP meeting feeling as though my heart has been ripped from my chest and stomped on, I now feel as though the members of C’s team so closely grasp both his strengths and challenges that I find myself inspired to soldier on in shepherding this amazing child.  

     At C’s most recent IEP meeting it was the statement that C “has no core group of close friends” that stuck with me afterward. Friendly with most everyone, C seems to remain the friendliest kid in the world without any real friends. He’s definitely doing better – he has settled down and the kids seem to accept him more. Yet he continues to be, at his very center, alone. It struck me that this really is the crux of the issue for C. We can work around his handwriting challenges, and we’ll continue to address reading comprehension as the work becomes more difficult. It remains, however, that what none of us can seem to help him grasp is the very thing he needs the most.

May 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm 10 comments

A change is in the air

     I sense a shift afoot in my world, and I think I like it. It makes me feel a bit rebellious, a bit wild, and just a little bit assertive. It’s not a huge change, and it’s not as though I’ve gone from one side of the issue to the other. I guess I’ve just landed on one side after all this time sitting on top of the fence trying to balance. I still have one hand on the fence, but I suspect I’ll move away from it as time goes on.

     All this time, while loving C just the way he is, I’ve tried to follow his lead and help give him the skills he so desperately wants. He wants friends, and I’ve tried to show him the way. With therapies, facilitated playdates and Mommy intervention at the park, I’ve gently coached him in the finer skills of friend-making as if I had a list of what those skills actually are.

     What I’ve realized is that he just is who he is, and he’ll probably always struggle with the social subtleties of friend-making. And to heck with everyone else if they don’t love him like I do. They don’t know what they’re missing. I’m tired of trying so hard to help him fit into their world. Why can’t they come on over to his?

February 22, 2009 at 7:24 pm 8 comments

Wordless Wednesday

Best Friends

Best Friends

December 10, 2008 at 4:41 am 8 comments

Someone special

     As I stood waiting for C’s class to go inside this morning, he was lagging at the end of the line talking to a little girl in his class. He told her that he had a new $10 bill at home and that it said “We the people” on it. The class recently memorized the Preamble to the Constitution, and for those of you who don’t remember (um, that would’ve been ME before it was repetitively drilled into my head a few short weeks ago), “We the people” comprises the first three words of the Preamble.

     This lovely little girl, whom I would gratefully adopt if only her parents were willing, looked at C directly and said, “Wow! That’s really cool!” They continued chatting all the way in the door. It was such a delightful moment for me to witness. C sharing one of his slightly perseverative fixations with someone, and that someone responding in an interested way. A real, meaningful dialogue between two kids, and one of them was C.

     I think he might have a real friend.

September 23, 2008 at 7:47 am 3 comments

Big Deal

     C had a big moment the other day. No, I must correct that – a HUGE moment. Something came in the mail addressed to him, something I’ll probably save in the little pile I keep of huge moment momentos. It’s something I’d almost given up on ever happening, resigning myself to the fact that this moment might never arrive. Yet it did. With great fanfare.

     For the first time in his life, C has received a special kind of birthday party invitation. Not just any party, but one that takes place at Chuck E. Cheese, his favorite place on the planet. He doesn’t even know there’s pizza there as that’s completely off his radar screen – and he has no interest in eating it. It’s the games, the tokens, the tickets, the prizes, and being there with other kids he knows.

     Why so special? This is the first birthday party invitation he’s ever received simply because the birthday child really wants him there. It had nothing to do with the Moms being friends, or because the whole class was invited, or because the neighbors had to invite him so he doesn’t feel left out. This invitation, in all its glory, came simply from one little boy to another, from one friend to another, just because the friend wanted C at his party.

     That kid is going to get one rocking birthday present.

August 12, 2008 at 1:59 am 8 comments

What a difference a year makes

     One year ago, we were unpacking boxes in our new home. The third home in as many years, in a string of towns in which we have lived. For the most part, they’ve all been lovely places we chose because of the life we wanted to lead. We had to learn twice that ski towns, wonderful as they are, can be challenging for a family like ours. Therapists, treatments and safety in numbers (numbers of similar kids, that is) are all missing. The activities we want to do sit tantalizingly close but may as well be a million miles away given the challenges C can face in this arena.

     The town we’re in now, however, was handpicked for C. A mere 15 minutes away from ready, willing and able grandparents; near big city services and doctors but still in a very small town; in a school district that seems to be moving forward in handling the special needs of children instead of backward; and in a state that graciously provides necessary therapies and respite care based on a child’s diagnosis and needs. We’re in a town that for once, isn’t a one hit wonder when it comes to Husband’s job; if he needs to leave his job for some reason, there are many others in his field from which he can choose.

     A year ago, we were coming off a mostly disastrous school year, and we were anxious about what the upcoming year would bring. And while I am always a bit nervous for C at the start of a school year, for once the issues seem less about the big picture and more about the little details. Will he get elected to student council, something he desperately wants? Will he feel able to ride the bus this year or will he continue to want me to walk him into the playground and wait until the bell rings?

     Sure, I know the big picture items are still there. Will he make any close friends? Will he grow a little bit and perhaps look more like the 7 1/2 year old he is instead of looking like a preschooler? Will his anxiety issues return? Yet for once, it’s nice to sweat the small stuff. As he heads off to 2nd grade tomorrow complete with a dream of a teacher, I am, for once, almost calm.

August 11, 2008 at 1:30 am 10 comments

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