Thursday, September 13, 2007

Second chances

Yesterday we went to gymnastics. I envisioned young SkyWalker going off and climbing on equipment instead of my head and having a grand time and me being able to feed the Princess in peace.

That did not happen.

SkyWalker went out to the gym floor, sat while the other kids did their stretches and followed directions and he did NOTHING. He wasn't bad or misbehaving. He just did NOTHING. The worst part was the look on his face. I will never ever forget it. He had a look of horror and sadness and fear and loneliness and it broke my heart. I left the Princess with another mom who also had a 4 month old with her and was a kind soul, and I ran out there and he said he had to pee so I took him to the bathroom but he didn't really have to pee. He was just looking for excuses to get the hell out of there. He asked, pleaded, to go sit on the chairs in the waiting area and then to just go home. I wouldn't let him even though it would have been so easy for me to go home. I woke the Princess up early from her nap, potentially screwing up her entire day, just so he could do this. I made us stay hoping he would warm up. He did not.

It wasn't until late last night when I was in the shower and finally broke down and cried that I realized why it bothered me so so much. I recognized myself in his face. I hate being in large groups. I hate being in the middle of things when I don't know anybody. I hate talking to strangers and meeting people and trying to make friends. I am always essentially alone. And in that look, that look of horror and fear, I saw myself. And it just killed me. I've done this to him. I've made him this way with my genes and my prefer to be home attitude. He was fine in daycare 4 months ago and I have ruined him.

I feel slightly better today thanks to the help of some very wonderful online friends (but see--*online* friends). We're going to give gymnastics another try. Maybe even a few weeks. See how it goes. Today is soccer and hopefully kicking the ball will be enough of a lure to break through his shyness and maybe if he does good today he'll be better at gymnastics next week (gymnastics is closer to him and there might be kids he'd go to school with so I really don't want to just give it up).

I know that all kids go through shy periods and that we've never done anything like this before and all of the other logical ways to look at this. I know it all logically. But emotionally... and right now as my best friend and SkyWalker's best friend prepare to move to the other side of the country this just hit me really really hard. I see how SkyWalker is with him. He's happy and playful and outgoing and fun. All I can do is try to break the curse and keep taking SkyWalker to these things with groups of kids and hope he does better than his mother.

I mean, how can you not be friends with a kid who looks at you over breakfast and says "My try to fart now." and follows it up with "My fart a little bit."

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The Nice Librarian said...

Yo. Goddess. Listen up. YOU DO HAVE FRIENDS. Hello, anybody there??? Listening yet? There are a few of them right here at the frickin' library who would be happy to get together and socialize and play with you and the boy. Sometimes you just need to not overanalyze stuff and people and just get together with them and not be so scared that you think they are all boring and freaky (and also stop worrying that they will think you are a freak) and go with the flow. Bee and I would love to get together with you all sometime. There are tons of organizations (yes, including the evil moms club) that have lots of activities for kids. You really don't have to have much in common with the other mothers to get by and for your kids to have a good time -- most of the time the moms just babble about their kids, with an occasional gripe about their husbands and stupid conversation about tv shows. I know you could handle that! You ARE a nice person, don't try and deny it, and we all know you really are a big softie -- you just need to open up a little bit more sometimes. I know you would rather be by at home by yourself or with your best buddy, but maybe sometimes you just need to get yourself out there, even if you feel like you aren't completely compatible with the people around you (now would be the time to break into song -- "Love the One You're With"). Sigh. Ok, and don't stress so much over the gymnastics thing -- that is a big place, I can see why it might be kinda scary. And the fact that they can see you sitting over in the chairs yet they are supposed to stay so far away can be rough. If he doesn't like it this year, maybe he will next year. Try starting him out with stuff where you are close by, like story hour or a tumbling tykes class. They have a good program tuesday and thursdays over in the next county that is free and lasts a few hours. The kids can play, they have staff there to help them do crafts, they can paint every week, they have circle time, and then at the end most of the time they can run around downstairs in the gym and play with balls and stuff. I'll stop lecturing you now, but just realize that you do have friends, ok? And that you CAN make friends. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Bee said...

Now that Nice has given you a dose of tough love, let me just add a few points... 1. SkyWalker may have been really good at that daycare because he KNEW those kids already... Given some more interaction with these new kids, he may very well open up a little bit and feel more comfortable around them... After the first two weeks at his new daycare, Boogie finally stopped crying and clinging to me at drop off and started to actually run from me when we got there... It takes a little time, but it gets better... 2. Believe it or not, I really don't like meeting new people and getting to have to know people from scratch either... I am just one of those "fake it 'til you make it" people... I was scared shitless when I started my internship here, but I figured I would give it a shot and just be myself for once... No trying to be how I think people want me to be -- and if it didn't work out, I would have gone right back to "playing nice" with new people after that... The funny thing was, though, that people liked me the way I was... And I know people would enjoy hanging out with you if you would give them the chance...3. Even though you are devestated by your best friend moving away, I don't know if SkyWalker is really old enough to fully grasp the whole thing... I think he will be fine as long as he still hears about and sees pictures of BF's kid , and maybe even sees him every now and again (when they come back to visit)... Kids are amazingly resilient -- and forgetful! Not to say that I think SkyWalker will forget his best friend (not even close), I don't think he will sit around all depressed that they aren't playing together all the time... Kids are amazingly self-centered little buggers, and he will do just fine focusing his energies on farting at the breakfast table or kicking the soccer ball at some other kids...4. Smile! You're gonna be OK -- even if it doesn't feel that way right now... I know I probably sound like a hypocrit right now, but I know (in my logical mind) that the two of us will get out of our "funks" and things will be OK in the end... It may take some lonely, crying nights to get there, but we will get there... Cheer up, hon!