Oh these learning moments here on earth! I know that each kid is individual and that they all have to figure out how to get along in the world without you, but sometimes it's really hard not to interfere too much. This year has been really hard on my kids socially and has kind of given Ada especially some challenges. People have told me that about age 8/9 kids start to split off into their own groups... you can see the kids that like this that or the other clumping together more and more. I get it, but it's hard to watch. Socially, Ada has "lost" (had move away) her best cousin friends (Adam, Rachel and Anya), her best friend from down the street and another friend from a block away just in the last 6 months. Now the new girl across the street has rejected her offer of friendship over and over again and the only two girls that live close by have decided that they don't like including Ada (one said it's because I asked Ada not to play video games all the time at other peoples homes and the other said it's because she wants to climb trees and play football but Ada only wants to ride her bike and play on the trampoline). I'm so glad that Mariah has moved back to Utah! Ada is loving getting to play with her, and luckily she adores the girls from her soccer team... They just don't live conveniently close.
We carpool with two other families to the charter school where the kids have loved going for the last three years. The car pool has mostly been great. My kids tend to be slow getting out the door and that really doesn't sit well with the 4th grader, but it's been such a help for me... especially last year when I would have had to drive the kids back and fourth 3 times a day for a total of about 1 1/2 hours of my day ever day with a newborn... not the 20-30 mins that I put in three times a week right now. At first it was great. Ada loved having her friend in the car. They all learned about getting along and sharing at least to some degree. The other two kids are the youngest kids and are about 3-4 years younger than their siblings. They had a hard time getting used to the fact that I have car seats that you can't move and that they have to climb all the way in the back of the car (terrible fate). The one family also has a dvd player in their car, so they have to talk in mine (also a terrible fate). It's mostly fun, except when the oldest boy has a migraine (which his mom has them almost daily... so I'm not sure if he really has them or if he uses them as an excuse to get what he wants.) When he's not feeling well, he yells at all the kids to be quiet... including a 4 year old Evelyn that has a very active mouth and a 1 year old baby that doesn't always like being stuck in his car seat when he'd rather be taking a nap. I've had words with him and his mom. His mom understands and has even grounded him for weeks at a time for his behavior, but today my heart hurts. Ada used to play with her friend almost every day of the last school year, then it became every Tuesday and Saturday through the summer because that's when the other boy wasn't available to play with her.... and the other boy couldn't possibly have more than one person play. It's just too stressful. Now, since the beginning of the school year, neither of them will play with my kids yet my kids ask at least twice a week with the same response. "No, I just can't handle more than one friend over at a time." They never think of coming over to our house even though they used to. I have invited them both over a couple of times and all 6 kids played together in my backyard and on their bikes without problems. I really don't understand how it's too stressful to play with more than one person when you've done it before.
It just hurts my heart that Sam idolizes an older boy that is so anti-social and selfish just because he knows all about video games. It hurts my heart that my very social Ada has been denied over and over again after losing so many friends in the last little bit. I know they have to get through it and learn how to deal with it, but it hurts my mommy heart.
(As a side note, I don't usually try to discipline other people's kids, but I've had words with the 4th grader several times this year... including how he just has to learn to deal with the fact that babies cry sometimes... he made the comment about how he's so glad that he's the youngest and doesn't have to deal with crying babies. I told him that he'll have to learn if he's going to have anything to do with other people out in the real world and be a dad someday. He looked at me kind of shocked at the thought of growing up to be a dad. He looked like he had absolutely no clue of the fact that that's how you have a family. He also screams at the kids to shut up because his head hurts... yet he screams louder than the other kids put together. Yeah, I'm not a fan.)
Today, after excitedly chatting about what they were going to do together all the way home Ada asked if she could come play too... and got the same answer from both of them that she's been getting all year. "Sorry, I can only deal with one friend at a time." I said something to the effect that I wasn't trying to be mean, but I really needed to tell them to knock it off. I got after them for excluding my kids all the time and said that if they didn't want to be friends, fine... just stop being so mean. After I was done the one said that Sam could come next Friday to play (a week from now, sheesh... yeah, that's being inclusive) and the other said that she'd come play with Ada tomorrow... problem is that she ALWAYS shows up while the kids are doing chores when she comes on Saturdays. I don't want to force them to be friends... in fact, I'd be happy to not deal with the boy at all... except for the fact that we're expecting to keep carpooling with them for the next two years and his dad is our Home Teacher.
Sometimes it's hard to deal with other people's free will and kids that aren't your own! Gahhhh! I'm really tempted to bite the bullet and just drop out of the carpool for next year, but if we do that I'm also tempted to switch to a closer school so that I'm not in the car for most of the day. Bleeeeeeh. I don't even want to open that can of worms today, especially because I feel like I'm mostly just trying to avoid the situation.