Thursday, November 29, 2012

Project Make Sam Like People Commences

I know - it's a crappy name for a project, but I'm still working on it.

At our last school conference, his teacher raved about how well he's doing in school this year.  Smart, fun, interacting with everyone, totally socially acclimated.  But there was a pause, and I asked the question that had been weighing on my mind - will he be able to go to first grade next year, or is his comfort level completely dependent on having you as his teacher?  In other words, I know he's awesome, I know he's bright and funny and sweet and all around a great kid.  But I also know that he's really afraid in new settings, and that if she's not there, his beloved teacher that he's had for two years now - he might regress completely.  And his teacher reluctantly agreed that it was a possibility.

So she suggested babysitters.  Playdates.  Leave him often with other adults, put him in new settings without Marc or I there and expand his confidence.

I blame myself.  Of course.   I know that I sheltered him a lot, I kept him with me when he really wanted to be, I didn't force him to go to preschool, I didn't force him to go to soccer camp.  I've cancelled playdates wily nily when he started sobbing at the prospect of going.

So I'm leaving him at my  mother's house more and more.  He's over at Joy's house for a playdate today, and has big plans on going over to Nicky's house tomorrow.   He's ready for this - he's eager to go and be a six year old boy, with friends and legos and ninjas and running and all kinds of BOY stuff.

And I think this is why, even though I blame myself, I also give myself credit.  Sam is who he is.  And he's not a kid who was ready to trust anyone, really.  For a very long time.  He was a kid who was really scared, and didn't feel safe out in the world alone.  As much as I wished it might have been different - I wish that only for his sake.  Because it was HARD to be him.   But he had a blast at my mom's house last weekend, and his eyes lit up when I asked if he wanted to go play at Harrison's house today.  And he's been counting down the days to his playdate with Nicky.  He's ready now.  I don't think he could have been pushed or forced into this - he had to be ready on his own.   Like potty training, or learning to read, or sleeping thru the night.


Tiny Blue Lines said...

I don't think we need to focus on pushing our kids to socialize as much as we think we do. They have personalities from birth, and although social skills need to be learned, there is nothing wrong with being on the quieter side. Writing an article on it right now!!

Melissa said...

The odd thing is that he's not a quiet kid. He's actually kind of rambunctious and boisterous. Once he realizes that he's okay and safe. But he's so nervous in new settings that it's really holding him back. And I don't want him terrified about starting with a new teacher next year. So if I can put him into situations where he's safe, and let him learn that it's okay to be without me... then he'll be more confident and secure. He ended up having an awesome at the playdate, once he got over the initial fear of going.