10 August 2017

The First Time

We were at the park when I heard another girl shouting from atop the play structure: "That girl! That girl!" I groaned, but looked up and followed her pointing finger down to the ground. To Abigail. I wasn't surprised it was Abigail being called out of all the kids on the playground, but I could not figure out what she'd done. I'd been keeping a close eye on all three and she hadn't done anything to indicate a run-in. Her behavior had been exceptional and nothing gave me suspicion that she'd been throwing mulch or pushing, and she long outgrew her hair pulling phase. Since the accuser wasn't being specific and not pushing the issue, I dropped it. A few minutes later, I heard her again, "This girl! She's my friend!" I looked up again and the same girl had a friend with her. They were both standing by Abigail and trying to get her attention.
"Hello! What's your name? My name is -, what's your name?" Abigail turned away to climb up a ladder, but she insistently followed her, going on the other side of the ladder to maintain eye contact. "I like your cookie! What's your name?"
Abigail tried every body language trick in the book to get the other girls to leave her alone, but in the end, she said, "Leave me alone," and climbed to the top of the ladder and the other girls did leave her alone.

It broke my heart. My heart is always breaking with her. It is extremely rare for other kids to engage her, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time a child of her own age, outside of her classroom, has ever tried to engage her. Usually when the rare occurrence happens, it's an older kid who thinks she's cute. While that's nice and all, it still breaks my heart when an eight-year-old swoons over my six-year-old who can count to 100 and write her own name like she's 18-month-old Theodore.

And here we have two girls, sporting Frozen t-shirts and sparkly skirts trying to befriend her in a totally normal, typically-developing way. And Abigail demands to be left alone.

I did tell her, "Abigail, she wants to be your friend!" But I knew it wouldn't help, I just wanted to reassure the other girls (and their dad who was standing nearby) that I saw their kindness. I hope - I pray - that kids will keep reaching out to her. One day she will reciprocate. I know it.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

That is so hard! As I'm reading I'm thinking, 'Did you tell Abigail they want to be her friend??' This post reminded me of those times with Beth. That feeling that someone (age appropriate) is reaching out and your child just turns away. You just want to yell at them, "You don't know what this means!!" :)

I'm glad you were able to say something and I believe there will be another opportunity for them to play together.