GC took the Roc to his weekly social skills class yesterday under the agreement that I would take the Roc to his hippotherapy session in the afternoon. I savored the empty house while they were gone. With GC working from home, I am rarely alone anymore and when I get the chance to be alone in our house, I realize how much I enjoy being by myself…and not talking about plants vs. zombies.
When they got home GC mentioned to me that the Roc got hit at class again this week. It was news to me that another child hit him last week, but I didn’t ask the Roc any questions about the incident(s) right away. I knew he wouldn’t want to talk about it. He already had it in his mind that he would be having a smoothie and then playing plants vs. zombies on his iPad during the forty five minutes he would be home before he had to get back into the car to drive to the barn. I knew I could ask him about it in the car.
Time and growth have changed so much for the Roc. I can clearly remember driving down Rt. 13 in Delaware and pointing out the farm equipment and big trucks to a silent Roc. The fluttery panic I felt when I glanced in the rear view mirror and couldn’t catch his eye. Now he is rarely silent, but many of our conversations are monologues from the Roc about plants vs. zombies, a place we have been, or a movie the Roc has watched. Or a series of questions of which he already knows the answers. But that too is slowly changing and I know that he will sometimes talk to me on the many car rides we take.
So while I drove out into the country I asked him about his social skills class:
“Buddy, I heard that you got hit at social skills today. What happened?” I asked.
“Not hit, pushed. L pushed me.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. What happened right before she pushed you?”
“She yelled, ‘This isn’t going fast enough!’ on the obstacle course and she pushed me! That was so rude!” His voice rising in indignation.
“She was behind you on the obstacle course and you weren’t going fast enough for her?”
“Yeah, I guess I wasn’t going fast enough for her and she pushed me. I got so mad I had to go around the corner to calm down.”
“Well, it sounds like you made the right choice. I’m so glad you didn’t freak out and scream or push her back,” I told him, knowing that he probably wouldn’t have touched her since he doesn’t like to touch people or be touched.
“I don’t like that she pushed me! Why did she have to do that?”
“I know buddy, she shouldn’t have done that. No one should push. But you did the right thing by walking away. I’m so proud of you for making the right choice.”
“Ok…but I’m still kinda mad about it.”
“You know that you can tell someone not to touch you right? You can stand up for yourself. No one has the right to put their hands on you.”
“Well! I did! After she pushed me I got mad and told her not to push me! And! She got even madder and she threw her stuffed animal down really hard and screeched at me! That was when I went around the corner. Why did she have to get more mad at me! SHE screamed at ME! SHE pushed ME!” he yelled from the backseat.
“Roc, I’m so glad you stood up for yourself and we are talking about this now. You made the right choices. You are growing up and learning how to handle yourself. I think L will learn the things you are learning too. It might take her awhile. But you showed her the right way to react today.”
“I thought that would be my best choice. I didn’t want to get in trouble.”
“Well, it was. It sounds like L was having some problems making the right choices today.”
“Yeah! You know what? M showed us the smiley face he drew and L just said, Nobody cares, and that was rude. She has a problem being rude. And then M grabbed a couple pictures off the schedule and ripped them into pieces and said, There! That will make it go faster! And I thought, Man! What is up with these two today?'”
“Wow. It sounds like social skills was pretty interesting today.”
“Yeah, I didn’t say that last part. I didn’t let it out of my head. I didn’t know if I could say it out loud. So I didn’t say anything…”
We pulled into the parking lot right at that moment. I put the car in park and turned back to the Roc.
“I am so proud of you Roc. You are growing up into a very nice young man.”
“I’m proud of me too. If we gave gold stars I would definitely have gotten one for that! I would have gotten TWO purple sticks if that had happened at school!”
“Yup, you would have,” I told him as we walked into the building. He immediately changed the subject to what makes him nervous about riding and we went through our familiar pep talk about the noises horses make and how it is important to learn all the steps of taking care of a horse, not just how to ride one.
A few minutes later, after he had gone off to brush and help saddle his horse, I started scribbling down our conversation, knowing that I would want to record it here. When the young therapist came over and sat down I relayed the conversation to her and she said,
“He is growing up into such an awesome person.”
I wholeheartedly agree.