|J. Lamb 2011|
It seems we're making progress in the constant social struggle. Never mind that it may seem minuscule in size for your average 12 year old boy, but Drake is anything but average!
Drake, although everyone seems to know him, does not know how to interact with kids his age. I pick him up from school and he has several kids smile and wave and call him by name. Drake generally greets them with a scowl as Mom encourages to at least smile and wave, even if he doesn't want to talk to them. "Do I have to?" is a constant question with him. I don't believe in making him do things he'd rather not, but I do encourage him to try. "How are people supposed to know you are friendly, if you don't smile at them?" I query in return. A stiff wave is returned and Mom says "hi" for him. *Sigh*
A recent trip to the pediatrician was maybe a bit eye-opening on Mom's part. Even though I know he enjoys being alone and I haven't really made a conscious effort to make sure he interacts with kids his age, Drake got teary when the pediatrician asked if he didn't mind not having any friends. He insisted that he like to be alone, but Mom has learned to read reactions (as off-kilter as they can be) and knew that this maybe bothered him a bit more than he let on.
A couple of days ago, Drake and his brother were riding their bikes together out front and I could see our neighbor's sons out on their carport filling an ice chest with water balloons. After about twenty minutes Drake came in and announced with wide eyes that his brother was filling water balloons with the neighbor boys. "Mom!".... he whined...and I took the opportunity to ask why he hadn't joined them. His little head cocked to the side, as though the thought hadn't occurred to him. "We can?", he asked warily. I assured him it was okay and encouraged him to join in. He did! Both boys returned 10 minutes later announcing they were going to join a water fight and went to change into swim trunks and requested their water guns and a bucket full of water. I obliged. ;0) I was impressed, Drake stayed out there as long as his brother did and I actually had to drag both of them in for dinner! My neighbor's older son is older than Drake, but his brother is my younger son's age and I was really impressed at his patience with Drake. He shot Drake with the water gun and Drake yelped in protest (typical Drake) and he insisted to Drake that it didn't hurt and he didn't need to yell about it. Exactly what Mom would have done! ;0)
Yesterday my family and I went to the park with my coworkers to celebrate a couple of birthdays and to join a rowdy game of kickball. We all went, including Drake. Drake didn't want to join really, but I have explained Drake to all of my coworkers now and knew it would be all right. I encouraged him to try and I was so impressed at how well he kicked the ball, ran to the bases, and even teased several people as he manned first and third base! "What a good job you did Drake!", I gushed as we left. "Sometimes it's fun to participate, huh?", I added. Drake smiled his sideways smile and wrinkled his eyes as he grinned, "Sometimes..."
Sometimes, indeed. ;0)