The trials and tribulations of a weirdo

Sigh. I hate it. My kid is awesome. He’s hard work, and he struggles with ‘stuff’ but he’s awesome. Unfortunately, many other people don’t see it that way. 

Friday he had OT again, and it went awesome this time. He’s really been working hard on controlling his over reactive responses so he doesn’t lose it so big. It’s working. He’s definitely gaining some more control, but it will be a slow process. So, OT play was good. 

Friday night, we had our family friends and their kids again, and they all played beautifully for a few hours, which was also great. 

Today, my son had his tap dancing class. Last week, he missed the class to attend his cousin’s birthday party on the Central Coast, and so today, he noticed that the girls had progressed with extra ticks on their names for new steps learnt. That meant he was behind. He freaked out, ran out of the room and hid under a desk in the reception area. He started lashing out under there, and I approached to start emotion coaching him. 

Son: “I HATE tap dancing! I knew I should have come to class instead of that stupid party! Now I’m behind when I was ahead of everyone before! I’ll never come again.”

Me: “Sweetie, you are feeling really worried and angry because you think that you missed out on knowing things that the others know. Everyone else understands that that is normal, and that everyone does things at different times which makes the progress slower or faster than others. You love tap dancing, and you really do want to come again.”

Son: “Grrrr. NO I DON’T! You are an idiot! They are all stupid and I hate that stupid teacher! (he proceeded to start knocking over chairs, kicking me with tap shoes on…which hurts let me tell you! and throwing my phone on the floor).

Me: “OK, you are mad, I get that. You can’t throw stuff around or hurt people though. You really need to breathe now and relax for a minute then decide if you would like to go back to class because I think you’ll be disappointed with yourself if you don’t.”

Son: ” I am a winner not a quitter!”

Me: ” Good. Because what you are doing is quitting by hiding under the desk, but a winner would go and get back into the class and try again. This is not a competition, this is meant to be fun and it doesn’t matter how many ticks you have or they have. What matters is that everyone tries their best.”

He did come out, but he was still mad and kicking out at me. Then his teacher came out and brightly told him that she was going to print out a picture of his current favourite cartoon character to stick up on the mirror, and that she would love for him to come back in and work with her for a few minutes on getting two extra ticks because she thought he was very close to being able to do those steps last time.

He went back in. He followed her instruction. He got his ticks and all was well with the world again. On the way home in the car, I could tell something was on his mind. I had told him how proud I was that he had sorted himself out and gone back in to complete the class successfully. He turned to me and said,

“But, I’m really not sure why you aren’t mad at me for all those naughty things I did in there today.”

Me: “Well, I was a bit mad at you, but I choose to focus on the good things you did. Yes, you did some naughty things, but then you worked really hard and got yourself under control and did the right things in the end. That’s all I’m really interested in. I want you get more practice at doing the right things so that less and less naughty things happen.”

He nodded. He was happy about that.

Then this afternoon, the little girl from across the road and her friend came over for a visit. I’m still not entirely sure why after last time when they came and then left so fast, and he had behaved a bit crazy with his head scratching business. I wasn’t going to question it though, and I let them all play without my interference. Later, he followed them back across the road, and I could see them all on the grass outside their house. I could tell by my son’s body language that something was going on verbally, but I didn’t know what. The girls hadn’t stayed very long, but they didn’t seem quite as uncomfortable as last time.

I beckoned for him to come back home as dinner was almost ready. He came in and sat at the bench. I asked him what had happened and if everything was alright.

Son: “They said I was a weirdo.”

Me: “Hmmm.. that wasn’t very nice of them.”

Son: ” I knew they thought I was weird. Everyone thinks I’m weird. They said I was weird like a kid in their class who picks his nose and eats it! I would never do that! I told them that, and I told them that I have ADHD. I even explained what it is, and they didn’t want to listen.”

We comforted him and let him know that we understood how hard that must have been. We congratulated him for just coming home without creating a big fuss about it. I do suspect he might have said something confrontational to them though because his body language kind of seemed like he was ‘smack talking’ before he came back home. 

As the night progressed, he kept coming back and telling us more things they had said, like that they asked him why was looking so scruffy and ugly. Apparently they said his Dad’s wood building was terrible when they looked at his cubby house. They said his Mum was a terrible singer ( I was singing while washing the dishes when they came over), that both his parents were old and ugly. Hmmmm These things started to sound more like things he would say than two young girls. I must admit that the first time the girls came over, the one who actually lives across the road did exclaim without any apparent fear of offending me that, 

“Wow! Your house is REALLY messy!” 

Yes, I was a little taken aback that she said it, but fair enough. They had arrived on a day when we had all our son’s bedroom stuff in the dining room as we were redecorating his room. There tools everywhere, and our friends were over so toys were scattered and we were cooking so mess was happening in the kitchen!

Despite that though, it seemed a little strange to me that the girls would say all those things to him. He definitely doesn’t look scruffy at the moment because he’s just had his hair cut, and of all the things my son can be called, ugly is not one of them!

Anyway, Daddy worked out that he was just enjoying the extra attention I was giving him by comforting him with each new revelation that came to light, and so we promptly stopped that, read him some P&P and put him to bed!

Making friends is hard work, and it’s really hard work for him. He is different. They very likely did call him a weirdo. He probably did do something weird to justify it, but man it makes life hard when other kids just don’t understand him. Maybe those girls really are ‘mean girls.’ Who knows. All I know is that I really hope he has a few good experiences with new found friends soon. Yes, he has met some lovely kids at tap and OT and our family friends, so he’s not completely friendless, but he’s not having much luck with making new friends around and about, which sucks for him. 

The Scout people never got back to me, so we haven’t gone there yet. I might have jog them or try another one. It’s a lot of hard work for Mumma let me tell you!

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7 Responses to The trials and tribulations of a weirdo

  1. JudgeRoy says:

    It must be so hard for you seeing him struggle socially and trying to help him as best you can. I was urged a lot to make friends but I never listened. I did have one friend since I was 0 to 9. I was a bit confused after he moved away that I didn’t fit in with other kids. I wasn’t trying to but even when I talked to them a bit I got rejected. One girl just came out with a ‘stop talking to me.’ Even at 9 I thought she was rude and probably not the best person to befriend. I actually did better when I started to play with ‘little kids toys’, Matchbox cars and a road map, or whatever it was called. Other school boys would actually sit down and play with me.
    But yes it is the weird yet brilliant ones that struggle to make friends and fit in with people, especially when we have a lot of distrust towards people. Anxiety makes it worse because you’re constantly making up things in your mind about the worst things people can say. When I was Corey’s age my anxiety seemed to block off my thoughts. I was just scared a lot of the time without realising why. Now, if a stranger comes to join a group of people I’m familiar with or just tries to talk to me I’ll be guarded and sometimes feel threatened. It really depends on how much stress I’m already experiencing. The moods I have are very important too because sometimes I can be more paranoid than I usually am. I can become very anti-people as you might have picked up in my latest blog post.
    No one really does try to listen to you when you explain your ADHD. I usually just describe my symptoms because I know if people can at least relate to it (everyone experiences the symptoms mildly) then they’ll believe you. But when people hear my quick, random and jumpy way of talking, I expect them to know there’s something different about me. Especially when I don’t make eye contact.

    I understand now that my mum must have worried about me as you do Corey, she just let me be though. There wasn’t much awareness in the early 90s as there is now. People sure gave her hell for going too easy on me. But she knew I was different and protected me from the world that would judge me harshly.

    • KL says:

      Yep. It’s hard to watch. The big issue for me is that he really really wants to have friends. He’s really sociable and craves that contact of friends playing and having fun so it really gets to him. If he was content to just do his own thing and play by himself, I’d let him. I like my own company and don’t crave friends, but at least if I do feel sociable I don’t have any trouble going out and making a bunch of friends quickly, he doesn’t have that skill and so I will keep trying to help him. You know, I’d love to meet you some day, I’ll bet you could give me all sorts of insight into Corey’s head!

      • JudgeRoy says:

        My nephew Owen is very sociable too. I actually think he has a lot of social maturity for his age. Quite a good skill to have at 8. I haven’t heard about any friends from school he has. He seems to just entertain a crowd. He talks about his cousins a lot. But I can imagine it would tear him apart if he couldn’t easily talk to people. My niece Amy who is 4 is less sociable – more like me actually. I’ve seen her just go to my room and play with my Skylanders. I’m glad she isn’t pushed too much to be social. I think people are more accepting of their kids either being sociable or not. Pretty much how my mum always was.

        I can crave social contact at times. I live with my sister and she has a lot of friends so sometimes that’s enough. I have a very narrow focus towards friends. I always try to meet and befriend local band members. I’ve been successful especially when I can offer them photos I took of them. I still think the best way for me to make friends is through a mutual interest because I have a pretty detailed memory for that kind of stuff. It’s all I want to talk about.

        It would be great to meet someone who is open to learning about how differently wired people experience the world. That is just a personality trait that is really hard to come by. I’m only making guesses about Corey. It seems there are similarities between us but I really can’t be sure.

  2. timeoutguide says:

    You should definitely send him to school with a really good one liner for when people start to tease him. Even if it’s just as simple as “I’m sorry you feel that way”. I had issues making friends in middle school and I would have loved for my mom to have taught me how to stand up for myself. Instead, she just told me to ignore, which wasn’t very effective. Also, you could try reinforcing how beneficial it is for kids to have ADHD, “those kids are the ones who come up with the best ideas because they are always thinking!” I really hope things get better for him soon, kids can be mean but will back off if he’s doesn’t react. Just some thoughts!

    Lauren

    • KL says:

      Thanks for commenting Lauren.
      Fortunately he’s homeschooled so he doesn’t have to deal with stuff every day. He has no problems at all telling people of and sticking up for himself, that’s why we are working on ignoring and walking away sometimes. He’s very likely to react so strongly to things that he says very mean things back or gets physical, so I have no worries that he’s not going to defend himself if he really needs to! I also hope things get better for him soon. I’m sure they will ;)
      Thanks for reading.

  3. daisy says:

    You are so right — making friends is hard work. For all of us. Many kudos to you and your son for keeping on trying. I’m crossing my fingers that a good friend will walk into your lives soon, sometimes it just takes one. There’s a book about this for kids, not sure if it’s age appropriate (as I’m not sure how old you son is), but we really enjoyed the read. It’s called “One,” by Kathryn Otoshi. Simple, bright colors with a powerful message about belonging and bullying. Maybe your library would have a copy? Also — I was so touched by your story of how your son asked if you were mad at him, and your gentle response. Hard work to be a momma, as you said, but in my book, you earn extra marks with your love!

    • KL says:

      Thanks Daisy. My son is eight and half, so it might be a little young, but it’s worth checking out anyway. Yes, we all hope for that one friend too!

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