First things first, Gromit is getting his “toeectomy” on Tuesday. He’ll most likely be fine. I have my surgery four days later, so what’s cool, is that we’ll be all down for the count together. And hopefully high as kites together too. I can’t think of a better, squishier companion for that part.
I struggle when talking about the Mini and his delays anymore. He’s getting older now. I try to respect his privacy. I want to chronicle his life, and I want to help others, and find a common ground. Hell, I can’t even talk to his therapists in front of him. I won’t, unless he’s distracted by his girlfriend/future wife du jour, or is out of hearing range. He’s way too perceptive. He knows we’re discussing him, and his issues, and I’m getting to that point now, where he realizes his own awkwardness, and while he hasn’t questioned it yet, I can see it coming.
He wants so badly to have friends now. He starts pre-K next week. It’s nearly a full day, and he knows all of the kids. He’ll say hi to them, and have very short brief conversations with them, but his conversational skills with kids his age are just…painful to watch. He’s better with us, but I’m not going to lie, it’s still a bit tedious. With kids his own age, unless he’s very very comfortable with them (Such as my children from another mother, the BFF), he’s not there yet. He wants to be. He wants friends now. He wants to be out in the neighborhood, playing with the other kids, but he can’t get past “hi.” He’ll say hi, and then launch into some diatribe about something that makes absolutely no sense. And when he realizes this, he’ll say he played with so and so, but what he really did was watch from afar, and make nervous conversation with himself. Echoing rote phrases or a coping gibberish. The kids will go off and play with each other. I realize that boys tend to develop their interactive playing later than girls. The girls in his class were already excited to see their friends at orientation, already cliquey and going off, leaving a trail of high pitched squeals in their wake. The boys? All parallel playing. I think it’s a dude thing. But the Mini is a little different. He’s absorbed in his own little world of cars. Perhaps this is because he’s so comfortable with his classmates.
At home, it’s such a different story. There’s a family with a gaggle of kids down the street. The kids are all kind of dicks. I hate to say it. They range in age from 11-ish, to the youngest being four. The two younger kids, four and five, walk past our house a lot, to go pick the older ones up from the bus stop. The Mini will always say hi, and ALL of the kids just stare at him. I don’t think they’ve ever once said hi to him. The five year old now whizzes by on his bike multiple times a day while we play out front, and I want to throw a stick in front of his bike and scream “WOULD IT FUCKING KILL YOU TO SAY HI TO THE KID, JUST ONCE?” But I can’t do that. The Mini hasn’t asked. He doesn’t feel personally offended by it (yet), but I told him, if you’ve said hi to the kids repeatedly, and they ignore you, they’re just not nice kids and there are probably plenty of kids your age in the ‘hood, we just need to take more walks during the day.
I know he’s getting bored with his built in playmates. He idolizes this dick kid now, to the point of trying really hard to learn to ride his bike, just so that he can go over there and they can ride together. And I see that rejection coming. It’s like watching your own childhood all over again. And I can’t intervene, or try to dissuade him from going over there. It would go against everything we’re trying to do to help his social skills develop. I just don’t want to watch him come home in tears, or feel that pain. I have to let him experience it, but I don’t want to. He’s such a cautious kid. It takes him forever to do anything. He’s had his bike since Christmas, and it’s sat in the garage, largely unused, because he’s so anxiety riddled of falling or careening out of control. But that kid, the one kid who will reject him is his incentive for practicing on his bike.
And the only thing I can do is encourage him to keep practicing. To tell him how proud I am of him for trying so hard to ride his bike with confidence.