Monday, August 18, 2008

Laughter and Sadness

So, Calvin has been on TDY for 8 days now, and over the last few days Caroline and I have been having lots and lots of Girl Time. Which basically means that we turn off the door bell, and we sit in the living room or on the balcony and play monopoly and giggle alot, or we build things with the Lincoln Logs while watching one of our favorite DVDs. It's been good fun and I enjoy the crap out of spending time alone with her. There hasn't been enough of it lately, and now that school is about to start, I'm soaking up as much Girl Time as I can get. While I'm excited for her about a new school year, I'm not looking forward to having her gone for 6 and a half hours every day. I will miss her.

She's not looking forward to going back to school though either, and that is somewhat disturbing to me. By the end of every summer of my childhood, I was chomping at the bit to get new school clothes and a new lunchbox and take off to my new class. But not Caroline. The education aspect is no problem for her, but the social aspect seems to disturb her a great deal. She has pointed out to me several times lately--including today when I took her to one of the on-base playgrounds so she could get some social time and sun--that none of the other kids want to play with her. That they think she is "weird" and that she has become increasingly embarassed to speak to them or be assertive in her efforts to make friends because she is afraid they might think what she has to say is "strange and stupid".

I don't know where this is coming from exactly. I know she doesn't speak like a 7 year old and that she uses very adult words and phrases, but really, could that be it? She's still a kid and she has a brilliant imagination and a ready laugh! Are the kids confused by her because she likes to talk about her books and the stuff she's read about in National Geographic instead of about Hannah Montana and Barbie? Or is it in her head because she suspects she's different and has developed a complex? Is this more to do with the afore-blogged subject of religion and hell that they harassed her about in school? Either way, watching her today at the playground as she sort of skirted around the edges and looked longingly at the groups of screaming, laughing kids just broke my heart. When she came to me and asked if we could just go home and play a game broke it even further. It isn't that I don't want to play games with her, obviously. It isn't that I don't love being home with her. It's that it seems unnatural for a kid to want to hang out with mom and watch Shark Week on a gorgeous sunny day, rather than run around screaming, covered in mud and laughing. I could have cried. Her sweet little face looking so sad and lonely just kills me. I just don't understand and I welcome any thoughts on the subject, those of you who are listening. I have a smart, funny, good-hearted little girl with a great sense of humor. Why is making friends so hard for her?

On the other hand, this revelation of difference that affects her so when she's around other kids doesn't seem to affect her at home. She came into the bathroom to brush her teeth tonight with streaks of her hot-chocolate all over her face, particularly in her eyebrows and on her forehead. I could see she was trying very hard not to giggle and to maintain an air of fierceness.

"Caroline, why have you got hot chocolate on your eyebrows?!"

Beaming proudly, "It's warpaint!"

"Warpaint? For what? Who are you at war against?"

"Those who think I should go to bed!"


1 comment:

Ragan Knits etc... said...

First, I have to comment about the warpaint! Tee-hee! She is truly a terrific gal!
I am saddened to hear about the social time thing. And, can tell you that I experience that with my oldest.
I went to be "class mom" for a day at his school...and in NC a teacher can take a personal day to spend with their child at school so I did....and what I saw horrified me.
Ryan has AD/HD...and as I said before is smart in ways I cannot explain...he does things like Caroline does. :-) And, it was recess time...Ryan was medicated (I tried not medicating him at school, but he didn't like how he felt). Yeah...he knows the differences and can tell you all about it. Her too I bet...super smart beyond her years. There was Ryan on the playground just walking around kicking pinecones...but in the classroom EVERYONE seems to be his friend. He knew most of the school it seems, but on the playground was a solitary shell of a child. Horrified...and I cried.
And, still working on this.
It has gotten better. I think what I did was just plain old talk to him about it, not kid talk either. And, I let him choose the social times & places on the weekends/after school etc. Giving him more POWER seemed to help.