I’m not certain if I’m going to ever publish this post…..it’s one that I’ve written in my head many times and thought about. But my blog publishes automatically on my Facebook page as well as the FB page I manage for this blog and also gets “tweeted” immediately upon publication. And I worry that the post will seem petty (which perhaps it is) and is something that is designed to make others feel guilty (which it’s not). But I still feel it’s something that needs to be said, and written down, even if it spends all of it’s life in draft form. When I’m done, if I hit “Publish”, either intentionally or out of habit, then it will be “done”.
Kind of sad that this is the first post I’ve written in a while, especially since school started about 6 weeks ago.
The twins are now 9 years old. They’ll be 10 in a few months. Yet, they have never been invited for a playdate with a classmate. A one-on-one after school playtime adventure. We’ve done park playdates before, where I’m expected to remain and continue to supervise. And it’s usually not one-on-one, but a group of people. For several of these, it’s felt like “We’re getting together at the playground, and you’re standing right here….why don’t you come and join us!” as though inviting us is an afterthought. And when this happens, I really think they are hoping that we’ll say “No”. And when faced with that feeling, I usually do say no, mainly because I don’t want to deal with it.
But every day I see kids coming out of the school with their friends, and my kids never do. They come out by themselves. Simon is often accompanied by his teacher to give me the report of the day. But none of his peers are with him, interacting with him. And Rachel, well, she’s alone. She walks out in the group that is the 4th grade and doesn’t say “Goodbye” to anyone when she sees my car….just walks over and climbs in. I ask her teachers and they tell me that she doesn’t really interact with ANYONE…..she’s friendly with many, but she does her thing and they let her hang around while they do theirs. They are together. She is alone. And this is completely normal to her. But it’s not for me. I want her hanging back a bit at dismissal, just to get another couple of minutes of “hang out” time. I want her asking me if this friend can come over (she hasn’t asked for a playdate since she was in first grade). And NO ONE has ever invited her over to their house to play, although I have discussed the possibility before (just never ACTUALLY happened). She’s never even been invited to a birthday party that wasn’t one inviting the entire group which she is a part of (her class, troop, etc) or to accompany Simon (who is also invited to something because he is part of a group). Nothing specifically directed at THEM.
I’m never really sure what to do about this. Simon really doesn’t seem to care at all. He is perfectly happy by himself. In fact, that’s his preference. All of his preferred activities are things that he can do unaccompanied by anyone else. Even when I try and interact with him or encourage anyone else to interact with him, it really ceases being playtime and him standing back and watching what others are doing. And him trying to sneak off and do whatever activity HE wants to do….by himself.
Rachel, on the other hand, wants to be part of the group. But she really doesn’t seem to know how. I’ve tried “social skills groups” for her before. But they haven’t been successful. She wants to be the boss. She wants to dictate what everyone does. There are many that “put up with it”, but it doesn’t endear them to become her friend. They are being polite. She is still the same girl she was when she was first diagnosed at 26 months old…..she’s a character with her own ideas and her own way of doing things. She strongly dislikes people scolding her and wants to be the one in charge. And now that she is entering adolescence, she has decided that everything is “stupid” and “boring” and is accompanied by the ever-annoyed eye roll. Yes, I have a pre-teen on my hands.
I worry about both of them. I wonder how much people make fun of them and the way they are. And I wonder what they see and interpret. I wonder what they think when they see other groups together and them standing on the outside. And I wonder if they will always be that way.