Saturday, January 10, 2015

Social issues (No, this is not a political post...)

Chickie will be NINE in four days.


That's one year short of double digits. I'm not sure how that's possible, since I certainly haven't gotten nine years older since she was born. 

(My gray hairs just called me a liar. Oops.)

Chickie went back to public school this year, after two years of homeschooling, and honestly it was hard for her to make friends at first. But everything changed (literally overnight, which was super weird and super cool) right before Thanksgiving. She started hanging out with two kids in her class, a girl and a boy. I've been at the school a couple of times lately, for lunch and for the winter party, and my mama heart has felt very happy seeing her happily hang out with these kids who clearly like her.

But kids aren't the only ones with "social issues." I've got my own insecurities. I remember feeling lonely as a kid, feeling like I didn't belong. I gradually gained confidence, and I have some great friends now. But I still sometimes feel socially insecure, and I easily project that onto my kids.

My heart has broken, watching Chickie struggle to make friends. She is learning to be more confident and to reach out to other kids, but it's a process--a process I have more trouble being patient with than she does! More than that, Chickie is not me. I've realized that she doesn't feel a need to have a friend in every situation. She may naturally be far more introverted than I am.

When Chickie told me she only wants to invite three kids to her birthday party, I was sad. If I only had three friends to invite to a birthday party, I'd feel like I'd somehow failed socially.

But that's not how Chickie sees it. She could make a longer list if she wanted to. But instead she wants to focus on the three friends she is closest to. She told me her room won't get as messy with only three friends at the house! She's okay with it--more than okay with it. Happy with it. I should be too.

One of our old pastors said that we're all like Legos...but we're all different sizes. If you're a big Lego, you have lots of pegs that need to connect with lots of other pieces--you naturally need many friends. If you're a small Lego, you only have a few pegs, and you only need and want a few friends. Chickie, at this point in her life, is a small Lego.

I don't want my own "social issues" to get in the way of who she is. I'll celebrate her birthday with her, and I'll try to make that party very special for Chickie and her three friends. I'm glad she feels good about her small group of friends. Time for me to relax and feel good about it too!


Megan Fletcher said...

I love that she knows who she is and she's happy in her own skin. My two almost-9 year olds couldn't be more different, like you and Chickie. Asa is quieter and more introverted. Last year he took one friend to Medieval Times while his twin sister, very much an extrovert who wants everyone to join in the fun, hosted a sleepover for about nine friends. This year they are each doing a party at home. His guest list is shorter than hers and they picked who to invite.

I agree, it's really hard not to project our issues on our kids. Kudos to you for seeing it and meeting her needs. I love that she has two pals at school. I get to see those kinds of relationships blossom throughout the year and I love watching them figure it out.

Anonymous said...

My eldest likes to have only one or two friends over at once because it is easier to focus on them directly vs. being pulled in so many directions at once and perhaps one (or more) will end up feeling left out.

When facing a choice between a party with lots of their friends or a sleep over with just one or two, my older two kids will pick the small sleepover instead of the big party.

Think about your wedding reception: did you have so many people that it was hard to visit as much as you would have wanted with certain people?

Sometimes, smaller is better.

It is great that you are letting her be her.
- from a fellow Babycenter Jan 2006 mom (and current homeschooler)

Unknown said...

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