when my son feels all the feelings

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I sat right next to the window of the Chick-fil-A playground as I always do. The glass between us gives Archie a feeling of independence, but allows me to keep an eye on things, especially on those crowded days. This particular day was quiet. Just Ace and Archie and a couple of other kids running around in there. Both of my kids are pretty quick to make friends in those situations. Ace organizes games and Archie follows her every step. They had a game of hide-and-seek going, and were having a blast, when I noticed the game come to a pause. Ace and Archie stood in the middle of the room side-by-side, across from a little girl, probably about six years old. 

I could see that they were talking. I couldn't hear anything, but no one was smiling or laughing so I was unsure of exactly what was going on. It looked pretty serious for a Chick-Fil-A playground conversation. Then all of the sudden Ace grabbed Archie's hand and pulled him out the door with her. As she approached the table dragging Archie behind her, I saw her eyes begin to fill with tears. "Mom, someone in there doesn't like Archie." 

I acted like I hadn't noticed the confrontation with the little girl, and asked her to tell me what happened...
Ace: "She told me, 'hey, I don't like him', and pointed to Archie"
Me: "Okay and what did you say?"
Ace: "I said, 'well, he's my brother'. Then she told me she didn't want to play with him because he's weird and so I just brung Archie and came out here." 

She was upset. Archie was confused. 

And for the first time ever, I knew that Archie understood what had just happened. Up to that point he was oblivious to teasing, or people saying something not nice about him, being made fun of. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened, but it was the first time that I could tell he FELT it. 

He looked at me and asked, "why geel (girl) no like me, Mom?" 

That moment rocked me.

This was going to be the first of many of these times. This wouldn't be the last time someone didn't want to play with Archie. Or would call him weird. 

Here's the thing: At times, Archie can be the most annoying human being I have ever encountered. That's the truth. He's LOUD. Like very, very loud. There is no such thing as volume control with him. And as much as we work on it, he still hasn't grasped the whole personal space thing. He's in your face and grabby. And to be perfectly honest I totally understand when other kids don't want to be around him at times. That sucks. But it is our current reality. As he has gotten older, it has gotten more difficult. When he was little, it was cute and he could get away with so much. Not anymore. 

His impulsivity, hyperactivity, inability to bring it down a notch. We work on these things daily. And he is aware. He understands what behaviors are appropriate and which ones are not. The comprehension is there, but the follow through is not. Sometimes he just loses all control and it takes him a long time to get it back. 

I know that it is a good thing- him being able to understand and be able to feel when someone doesn't like him, or doesn't want to be around him. For him to be able to tell when he is being teased. But in those moments when he comes to me and tells me that someone was mean to him. Or when I ask him why he did something he knew was wrong, and he tells me that his friend told him to....and he realizes that said friend was not being a good friend at all. His face in the moments when he feels that sadness. Sometimes I wish he couldn't. 

I don't want Archie to be anyone other than himself. But the fact that we are still so far from where he needs to be in the socially acceptable behaviors arena is discouraging and disheartening. It just is. 

But we will get there. 
Can't stop. Won't Stop.

Lots of Love!


Susan said...

I love that Ace stood by her brother while talking to the little girl. I am sure that spoke volumes to Archie and the little girl. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing. Her walking away with her brother told the little girl that Ace did not agree with her and went to the safety of her family. A valuable lesson for all 3 children.......<3

Susan from Boston

A Consultores Chile said...

Hi Lisa I´m from Chile. I read your post and it so proud that people like your family, especially you, giving us this experience. It´s a difficult part of the process, from my city I sent a lot of love and patience. You have an amazing children!! :)
Yani Alfaro

Anonymous said...

Dear Lisa, I understand perfectly what you ty to explain, little handicapped children are very easy to have because they are sweet and small and as they grow older it gets more and more complicated in the beginning because nothing hurts more than seeing your child rejected and you would so much love to protect him from everything. For my daughter in the beginning it was terrible for me when she was not invited or badly treated by other children or parents, but one day I nearly cried because a child was so awful with my poor little girl and she said to me don't be sad Mami I don't mind I forgive her.... it was a big lesson to me and I learned too that you can't protect any of your children against suffering but you can help them to get over those things and grow stronger. And as for my handicapped daughter one of my other children one day said to me : Mami, at least the friends Thérèse has are true friends not like us who know many people that are only interested in something we could give them or do for them......so this is really true our children with special needs have lovely friendships with lovely people and don't have to put up like we do with people who don't really love us. Lots of love from Paris Karin

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