Sometimes I wonder, I wonder if kids are just being kids, I'm just being a mom and the two together make for an interesting combination. Can I truly be objective when it comes to my child's friends? Could they ever be what Gabe needs and I envisioned them to be, caring, thoughtful, fun and accepting? I needed to know who was with him when I wasn't.
I wanted to get an "inside" the peer relationship dynamics of Gabe's classroom, so I happily volunteered to help at Gabe's Halloween party. This would give me an incredible opportunity to secretly psychoanalyze each child that comes in contact with Gabe each day at preschool. Dissect and interpret clues into their family dynamics, past history,siblings and parental involvement. I was "Double O, M..O..M".
This is what I found...
There are roughly, given what day it is, 14 boys and 6 girls.
The girls seemed pretty normal, easy going. Girls generally are.
The boys. Psych 101, years of observing people and 7 years of teaching really came in handy when watching the boys. The boys could be summed up as such
(names have been changed to protect their identity)
"O"- Very small child (Gabe literally looks down at him), shows signs of having a speech impairment, can be bossy and low on the totem pole of the "boy click" in the room.
"J"- I like to call him Mr. Cranky. Gabe first met him last year for a few hours when I wanted to observe him in a regular preschool setting with other three year olds. "J" may still be cranky about the fact the Gabe hit him with a dinosaur to see how he would react last year in class. Outcome....not good.
"T"-America's Most Wanted will be doing an expose on him soon. He has that "look" in his eye. Other teachers will know exactly what I mean. He seems older and far more wise about the workings of the underground than the homeless guy that rides his bike all day around my township. It makes me sad, but then I also want to say as I lean in close to his face, "Stay the hell away from Gabe if you know what is good for you."
"Red"- Possible "T" accomplice or the second picture displayed next to "T's on America's Most Wanted. He has devious written all over him. However, the jury is still out. Maybe he'll decide to use his powers for good and come over to our side.
"B"- Grips mom's leg like a hungry man's hand around a Ball Park hot dog at a baseball game when he is dropped off. He seems to bide time watching the clock until mom returns.
"M"- Seems like a good kid, but Gabe seems to be attracted to the ones that "run the roost" shall we say. Part of "the click", possible middle management. Dedicated with no real benefits.
"JK"- very sweet, perhaps a little too reserved for Gabe. He would get first draft choice if it were up to me.
"I"- He's a quite the sourpuss (and also Gabe's locker partner). Luckily he comes very sporadically, mostly Fridays when Gabe is not there. His mom's a nurse and works nights sometimes and her shift is always changing. "I" never knows when he is going to come. My sympathy goes out to him, but my heart is loyal to Gabe. I say," Back off "I" guy!"
"L"- is a child of someone I know (The one that ditched me high and dry at McDonalds) I thought he was going to be a good match for Gabe. Still a sweet boy, but the dark side can be very alluring and has made quite an impression on "L" if you know what I mean.
There are more boys that didn't catch my eye or just weren't at the party, because it wasn't their day to come. What's so frustrating is that this is what the general population consists of in real life. There are leaders, followers, those that go against the tide and those that go unnoticed. I am taking steps to ensure that Gabe is not pigeonholed before he gets his turn to shine. That he is learning the rules of social engagement at warp speed, but is still so innocent and unjaded, as if he was wading in a pool of sharks unknowingly. Give me strength to not go shark hunting anytime soon.