Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Tried Not to Make a Scene

Let's just not mention how it has been over a month since I last posted. Agreed?


Moving on.

JR is in this art class. Well, it really isn't so much an art class as it is a big room with activities set up in stations. Outside of the very loose circle time at the end of the class period, there is very little structure. It is perfect for JR.

The very first day we went to class was a nightmare. While the little girls sat at tables and pressed their tiny hands into clay or happily twirled a paint brush, my guy ran around the room as if his head were on fire. He begged nearly every person in the room to help him escape the evil of a room filled with crayons, puppets, and puzzles. Let's be perfectly honest, some of those puppets can be scary.

He hung on ankles, pleaded with his sad blue eyes, and yanked with all his two-year-old might. He wanted OUT.

The first day was spent trying desperately to get him to stay, to try, to hang in there just one more moment.

He went over to the sensory table (a sand/water table filled with beans), filled his hands with beans, and let them fall through his fingers. The sensation was calming. Unfortunately, the mother standing nearby with her daughter didn't think it was so calming. She abruptly pulled her daughter away. "Let's go play somewhere else for now." For now.

For now.

I get it. I got it. I do. My child isn't exactly gentle. But, he was not out-of-control or violent. JR is just a little more robust in his play. He's a boy. He's a sensory kid. He's a toddler.

Her obvious disdain for our play was felt by me but largely ignored by my son. I'm thankful that he didn't notice the little girl being pulled away by her mother.

Flash forward to Wednesday.

JR has calmed immensely. He's in a playgroup that should help him with transitions and "proper" social interactions. They get that he is a sensory kid and they work that into how they interact with him. I love that. He needs that and so do I.

JR's behavior has improved in art class as well. He is calmer, more engaged in activities, and seems to enjoy socializing with other children (and inanimate objects--whatever works!).

Unfortunately, the mother from day one is still not convinced.

At the sensory table, JR and the little girl stood. JR raked his fingers the length of the table, she watched him intently as he looked up and caught her eye. They were calm, clearly engaged and maybe even enjoying one another.

Until mom came. "Let's go play somewhere else, for now."

She did not just say that again? I made an effort at eye contact with her, hoping my mom-to-mom gaze would speak volumes.

It didn't work. Off she went, little girl in tow. JR standing alone at the table.

Again, he seemed unfazed. I, however, was not.

Inside a fire was ignited. How dare she! Couldn't she at least make it a little less obvious? I know moving to the circle of other mothers to discuss exercise videos and vacation spots was clearly more important than letting her daughter socialize with the class pariah, but come on! Because it is my hope to keep this a family friendly blog, I will withhold the unpleasant (horrific) thoughts that filled my head and the poisonous words that clung to my tongue.

I've been there. I've been rejected. Neglected. I've been ignored. While in my youth these rebuffs would have sent me reeling, as I've grown older they barely register. I don't care. I will not force anyone to like me, to befriend me. Being fairly level-headed, I don't get worked up by much.

But JR. It is a wholly different. This is my child. He is innocent. He is sweet. He is funny. He is smart. He is just a little different.

A little.

I am pained to realize that one day he may realize those differences. But even if those differences no longer matter, I pray he will never, ever be the kind of person who lacks compassion, understanding, acceptance.

I want him to see beyond the differences of others, to embrace them, maybe even celebrate them. My greatest hope is that he is one who reaches out instead of turning around and walking away.

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Two Peas
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