“My Story…” Monday: A – I Don’t Like You

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, Second Grade Math, Is it too easy?, A Well-Rounded Child, Being a Team Player, The Acceptance of Children, Anti-Social?, The Boy Can TALK!, Gifts for Gifted Kids)

 

Our sweet A. is the kind of kid who grown-ups tend to really like and enjoy.  Sure, they sometimes remark on how he talks all.the.time.  Yes, we hear comments about how he will jump up and down or flap his arms if he gets really excited.  But, for the most part, adults just really like him.  He’s a bright conversationalist and very polite.  Like his mama, he’s a total “rule follower” and he doesn’t cause problems.  He’s compassionate and sweet.  He just happens to be the kind of kiddo that teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, priests, fellow parishioners, etc. really appreciate.

 

This?  Makes things like school conferences and PPTs a breeze for me.  Quite honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion going in to these things that I’m going to hear about what a sweet, bright kid I have.  Nothing to complain about there.

 

But the very things that make A. so well-liked by grown-ups?  Can also be things that set him apart from his peers.  His unwavering, sensitive compassion?  Can make him look like a wuss to some.  His sharp, inquisitive mind?  Can alienate him as a bit of an outcast nerd.  His determined rule-following?  Can come across as annoying kiss-up behavior.

 

This breaks my heart.  I don’t WANT my little guy to change.  And it’s important to me that I convey that to him.  So, we work on things like knowing when to keep your mouth shut.  And choosing your audience.  And focusing on your own behavior rather than that of others.  He gets it.  He’s not always perfect in his execution, of course, but he’s willing to listen and try and that’s all I ask of him.

 

So here we are, with this delightful little man, just trying to help him feel as comfortable with and accepted by his peers as he can.  We’re spinning our wheels trying to do our part.  He’s working hard trying to do his.

He was in four-year-old preschool, which met in the afternoons.  Because he attended under a “special ed” label at the time, the school provided busing.  Our next-door neighbors had a little girl in PM kindergarten.  As a result?  We waited for the afternoon bus side-by-side in our driveways.

 

We didn’t chat much.  Honestly, my neighbor is super shy and, though polite enough, doesn’t enjoy chit-chat that way I do.  And that’s fine.  The little girl would play around, as would A., though not usually together.  I had seen her look oddly at him from time to time when he’d be hop-hop-hopping around in his quirky way.  That didn’t bother me.

 

But, one day, A. was picking flowers.  He had given me a fluffy dandelion.  (If you haven’t guessed yet by my blog design, I LOVE dandelion fluff.)  He had a buttercup for the bus driver. (She told him they were her favorite and showed him how to hold it under your chin to see if you like butter.)  He found a tiny little violet.  And, in a rare act of social initiative, handed it to the little neighbor girl…

 

She glanced down at it, raised her eyes directly to his, and yelled:

 

“I don’t like you!”

 

to be cont.

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