Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sticks and Stones
Dawson has had a kind of rocky year at preschool since he started back up in September. If we talk on a regular basis, you probably already know more than you asked to hear.
But recently, my mommy heart is breaking for the poor boy.
Tyson and I are discovering an interesting fact about Dawson: despite his wild nature, free spirit, active imagination and abounding creativity... in a social environment with peers his own age, he is a follower.
These last couple weeks, he has become extremely chatty about social scenarios at school. He comes home and chats on and on and on about how he got to pass his sharing around the circle so all the kids could see how cool it was, about what Kaeden gets to bring in his lunch box (his mom is a wayyyyy 'nicer' lunch packer by Dawson's standards apparently), and most of all... what the other boys on the playground are saying to him.
He talks about Johnny constantly.
Johnny happens to be our next door neighbor, and he also happens to be a kid who is going through a rough time at the moment and has become quite a handful. Unfortunately, none of this means anything to Dawson, who still thinks Johnny can turn water into juicy juice and raise a sparrow from the dead after he sling shots it out of the sky.
Several weeks ago, Dawson came home saying how Johnny calls him a baby and doesn't want Dawson to play with 'their friends.' Of course, my heart burst into a hundred pieces for him (you should have seen his devastated little tiny 3 year old face), and I just gave him a hug and said "Dawson, kids that say things that hurt your feelings are not the kids you want to be friends with. I want you to go to school, and find some friends who have kind hearts. You are special, and you need to find a friend who knows that about you."
Maybe that was a little bit of an advanced concept for a preschooler (not to mention a little presumptuous to call someone else's kid out on their cold/black heart), but I was reacting. I just wanted him to realize there is always going to be someone cooler than him, but that doesn't mean you can't still be a part of something as special as a friendship.
Monday, he came home from school with the same sad eyes and slumped shoulders, and when I went to tuck him in for his 'rest' (oh, yes, that's right. We have officially outgrown nap time, SAD day for Mom) he looks up at me hopefully and says "Johnny said today that I am not his friend. But I told him he needs to change and have a nicer heart, and he said that maybe tomorrow I will be his friend and his heart will be nice then."
Um... so ya. My kid went to school, called his idol out on the carpet for his blackened soul, and then... is offered false hope of possibly being 'good enough' next time. Ooooo, and you should have seen the hope.
Its really interesting to me to watch and see how kid's choose their friends, and why. I'm feeling a little (LOT) unprepared to take on school yard bullies in the name of my child's self esteem at just barely four years old, and yet... it seems to be time for that already. Or maybe its not my job at all, I'm not quite sure. There's that darn parental uncertainty again.
Its looking harder and harder these days to be the perfect parent I set out to be.
All I can think at the moment is... if sticks and stones really can break bones... let me at them! Oh, but not in front of my kid. Wouldn't want to go setting any bad examples now, would we?