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!