This last few weeks have been full of reflection. In bringing my struggles to words and remembering the pain, I thought more of how I could change the way my children see their struggles as well. Love has been struggling with bullying, particularly by one girl in her class, but occasionally the hateful comments come from someone she has thought of as a friend. When she came home last Wednesday and told me that her best friend said she doesn't want Love to play with her anymore, I tried to explain, "Maybe (friend) is just having a bad day. Sometimes (Babe) doesn't want to play with you because he is too grumpy, but he still loves you and plays with you later." She responded that this friend had told her that she is annoying and she doesn't like her anymore. I'm kind of at a loss.
Love is autistic, very mildly, but she lacks the ability to read social cues, and she is your typical 6 year old girl, so she tends to be hyper and a non-stop talker, even if you walk away from her, she'll follow you until you tell her she needs to stop, and even then she doesn't always listen. Most of her conversations are inappropriate or don't make much sense. She also has a quirk in which she tends to hum constantly, or make other annoying noises. Babe gets frustrated with her so I can imagine her peers getting frustrated as well. So, I want to teach her that people won't always like her because of her quirks and sometimes they will be mean about it, but I also want to teach her about reading social cues, teach her about appropriate vs inappropriate conversations, and teach her to control her quirks.
Additionally, our vacation was a tad bit spoiled by the behavior of a stubborn 4 year old Babe. He had cheese pizza the night we got there, and wanted it again for breakfast the next day. I told him they don't have pizza in the morning, it's breakfast time, they have eggs, pancakes, waffles, cereal, and so on. He threw a fit, I took him out of the restaurant area into the lobby of the lodge and sat him down and discussed that he had a choice. He could choose to behave and have a good vacation, or he could continue to be spoiled and have a bad vacation. My jaw secretly dropped when he got it and went in and ate some eggs and cereal. However, we had the same battle and the same conversation about 5 more times over the weekend, because he is 4 and stubborn like both his parents (mainly from daddy *wink*)
By Sunday, I had enough, and thankfully we were heading home. I decided to have a talk with both of them about my choices speech. Every day is a choice. You choose to have a good day or you choose to have a bad day. No one else can make that choice for you. I turned to Love and said "if someone is being mean to you, you can choose to let it hurt you, or you can choose to ignore it and stay closer to your friends who don't act mean to you. You can choose to listen to your friends when they ask you to stop and they will still be your friends, or you can choose to continue doing things they ask you to stop and then they will no longer be your friends." I turned to Babe and said " you already know about choices, but did you know you can also choose to be angry or happy? You can choose to go with the flow of the day, or choose to be mad when you don't get your way. Every thing you do is a choice. You are in control of your own life. You might not always get the choices that you want, but you get the choices you need the most." They both seemed to get the point and so far today all I had to say to Babe was "make sure you make the right choice" when he started to act up slightly, and suddenly he was behaved again. Keep your fingers crossed that they have learned the lesson. I know I have.