All of my kids started a new school this year. They are all extremely bright and prepared, so we didn't worry much about their ability to excel and be confident in school work, so I've been asking a lot about whether they are happy and making friends. Claire just gets it... with the girls she talks about dolls, earrings and dresses, and with the boys she makes fart and butt jokes. No problem.
Adam kept telling me all week that he didn't have a friend in his class yet, but he never seemed concerned. He knew he would get there. Today he said he made friends with a boy named Sebastian.
Adam: "I always help this boy named Sebastian look for his glue stick when he drops it on the ground. Today I asked 'Will you be my friend?' And he held out two hands and said to himself 'Accept, or Delete Friend Request? I ACCEPT!'"
Adam was thrilled.
Colin listened, then pulled me into my room and told me for an hour about school, and with such maturity, said, "Mommy, I try to make friends but they don't like me. On the playground they run away. I don't know how to talk to them. Then we come inside and they all act CRAZY! I feel so bad for my teacher, because they don't listen. She says 'sit on the rug,' so I sit and I am calm and ready. But they run around screaming, and it's so loud. But since I don't do that, they don't like me. They don't think I'm fun. But I'm doing the right thing."
My heart melted listening to my 5 year old speak with such integrity and maturity.
I said, "Colin, you will make a friend and it will be a good friend. You have to give yourself time. And keep doing the right thing. Find a friend who is a good listener like you. You don't need everyone to like you, and I promise if you keep your head up you will find a buddy. It's only the first week, and you are AMAZING!"
He said, "At the lunch table they come in and they are CRAZY and it's LOUD, and I hate it, but I sit and try so hard to be good and not get in trouble when they get in my face and make me mad. They don't know yet that I need my space, I need so much space at lunch, and I need help."
I said, "I wrote your teacher a letter telling her that this was important to you. Is she seeing this happen?"
He said, "No, she works so hard, and has to help other kids go through the lunch line. So she's not always there. It's just so hard."
He never teared up or showed signs of weakness. He simply explained. And I was dying with pride that he could express himself so well and analyze other people knowing that it was not them being mean, but a difference of personality and his inability to fix it.
Adam came to find us, and I told Adam how Colin was feeling. I asked if he had advice, as a second grader.
Adam told him, "it's okay, Colin. I didn't make a friend until today. I don't know everyone's name yet. You just have to find one person and ask if they will be your friend."
Colin was distressed... "But they all act CRAZY and loud and don't LISTEN. I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
Adam said, "All you have to do is tell them to calm down and not be so crazy."
(Born leader... so easy for him.)
Colin listened. "But they don't like me because I don't act bad too. I don't know anyone. I like school. But I don't fit in, Adam. One time this kid didn't have a place to sit on the rug so I gave her my seat and sat next to the teacher in the 'bad' spot, so they could be in the circle. But I didn't mind. No one gets me."
Adam said, "It will be okay, Colin. You will make friends. You are fun and good."
I sent Adam to bed, and I told Colin how many people loved him. How amazed I was, and proud, and to keep being him, because he will find a good friend. I will email your teacher and remind her about lunch time and see if she can help you."
He said, "Okay, but please tell her I don't want to be bad and the kids aren't bad. That I just need help and want to be liked too."
"Of course," I said.
I held him for a long time. "I love you, Colin."
Colin said, "yeah."
Then he took a deep breath, and said, "mommy, you're the best," and fell asleep next to me.
My cup runneth over.