Jake is in second grade. Like many kids, ask him what his favorite part of school is, and he’ll tell you, “recess!”. So my kid likes recess. Considering that he struggles with traditional learning environments, that doesn’t surprise me.
For the majority of first grade, my laid-back, non-aggressive, non-competitive child spent his recess in the company of a girl. Apparently the arrangement worked well…she made the plan, and he followed along. Hubz and I were somewhat concerned that Jake didn’t want to play with the boys…but knowing his nature, we could understand the reason behind it. We let it go, as Jake seemed content and wasn’t being outcast by peers because of it.
This August we noticed that his friend was in his class. Crumb! For the first few weeks of school Jake continued to eat lunch with her and put up with her games. Every day I asked what he did, and every day I got the same-ish answer. I asked his teacher, and she said he was fine. Ok.
About 2 weeks ago Jake mentioned that his friend was making him play “babies”. Mortified that my 8 year old was pretending to be a baby, I asked what that meant. To my relief (somewhat), he explained that a few girls were babies and he had to be the dad. The babies ran away and he had to get them. Basically, it became “keep away from Jake”. I asked if he liked the game. He got quiet and whispered, “no”. I told him it was ok to say he didn’t like it and ask to play something else.
The next day the bossy boss told them what they were going to play. Jake stood his ground (YAY!), and she was a little brat to him! She said he couldn’t play with them anymore…so he went to sit on the swings by himself. (And cue my heart breaking…)
A few classmates saw what happened and told the teacher. The class had a big talk about bullying and standing up for yourself, etc. Jake’s teacher organized a group of boys for him to play with instead.
Currently, Jake is a little upset because his friend won’t talk to him…she says she doesn’t want to be his friend. I tried to explain it to him. Not sure if he “gets” it or not…but it is so like him to be worried about her feelings and not his own. I am happy to report that he played with 2 boys yesterday who are similar to him in terms of interests and abilities. I am hoping that some new friendships blossom from this tricky lesson that is a part of growing up…