I had the chance to go to Kaleigh's school the other day to carve pumpkins. I got to meet all her little friends, and her little "boyfriend" (she has a Kindergarten crush ... so cute! My husband doesn't share my opinion on that one!). She chats back and forth and introduces me to all of them. It is very different with Austin, he has people come up to me and tell me they are his friend and when I ask him who they are, most of the time he responds "I don't know". He has never put a lot of interest in other people. There are kids at school that do really like him and he is starting to change. The social game is tricky, as we all know, and Austin has decided, he wants to play.
Austin likes girls and expresses this to me and his Dad. One girl in particular, he has liked for quite some time. He told this girl that he likes her, not exactly a predictable move when it comes to Austin, but I guess he felt he really needed to tell her. This was his first real encounter with rejection, since she does not feel the same way. "That is alright", I told him. My Dad always told me "There are plenty of fish in the sea." and he was right, he is right a lot of the time. (He isn't going to read this blog post, right?) There are girls always smiling at Austin and hugging him. I am shocked at how these girls actually jump on him and knock him to the ground! Kaleigh and were stunned one day when a little girl at school did this to him. She still really likes Austin. He is a very cute boy, not that I am biased or anything. ;) There is a problem, Austin still likes this other girl. (School day crushes. I had a crush on Elvis when I was 5!) He believes you can make someone like you if you are sweet to them by buying them flowers and candy. I try to explain to him that it does not work like that. You cannot "make" someone like you. He read somewhere that if you are nice to someone, they will like you. He does take things literally. Oh boy ...
We got an email a couple of weeks ago from his teacher saying that Austin was behaving very inappropriately. A few emails back and forth and figured out that Austin was copying what the other boys were doing to try and fit in at school. We did have a discussion and the behaviours stopped. We decided to get another classmates to help Austin with social situations and help understand what is acceptable and what is not. He is really becoming aware of things that may cause him to be embarrassed. For example, I accompanied him to his school dance the other night (parents have to be there with the child) and I sat down in a chair on the side and watched him while I chatted with a friend of mine. Usually, he would go in and dance all night, not this time. He and a friend he was hanging out with met up with a girl and they went off together. I could tell Austin did not want to dance alone and I was not going to suggest to dance with him since I know that would not go over well at this age by his peers. I told him to go ask one of the girls to dance, he said "no". (I think because the girl he really likes was not there.) He told me he had wanted to go home and he was tired. I asked him twice if he was sure and he said he was and off we went. Once outside, he told me he did not want to dance alone and had no one to dance with. I said "Well, I did not think you would want to dance with me now that you are 8!" "Oh Mom! I would be so embarrassed! No, I do not want to dance with you! The kids would think that was not cool!" I think my eyeballs shot out of my head! To hear him say this to me and realize that he is starting to take the social part of life very seriously, just blew me away! I am happy, excited and scared all at the same time.
For Austin to finally take rejection or social acceptance seriously means he can get his feelings hurt. I know we all do and it happens to everyone but for him, he usually does not care, so this has me worried. I think it is great he wants to make friends and be part of the group but he cannot read people well and that is the scary part. All I can do is advise him when I can about what to do and continue to communicate with him as much as possible. I have told him over and over, he can tell me anything. This morning, he was to wear his costume to school for Halloween, he asked me right before he had to get dressed if he could tell me something, of course he could and he did. He told me he was "too nervous" to wear his costume to school (it is a surgeon). I told him he did not have to wear it if he did not want to. He did not want to risk being embarrassed. No problem. He went to school dressed like a regular day. This made him comfortable and happy. I am so glad that he feels he can talk to me. I can only pray that he will continue to do so and that way, I can help him as much as he needs me to!
Wishing you all a very safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
All the best! *HUGS*