What the hell is wrong with people?
Okay, now I can begin.
I didn't really know what to do about the party invitations this year. When Jacob was in kindergarten we invited the entire class. He in turn was invited to twelve other little parties and as a result of that and the afternoon play dates, the kids and their parents formed some bonds. The class was close. Jacob had fourteen other kids who accepted him for his quirks and their parents who loved him just for him. In first grade, not so much. Oh, he still had his kindergarten three to look out for him, but the new kids weren't as understanding and neither were their parents. Only the kindergarten kids came to his party although I invited the entire class. He only got six party invitations last year. Now he's in second grade with only one other kindergarten kid in his class. He hasn't been invited to any parties. Since half the kids have already turned eight, I figured he was being excluded some, but I talked myself into thinking that maybe not everyone has parties and two were over the holiday break so he wasn't really missing much. Was he?
Well, turns out he really was.
In early February when I began putting this shindig together, Jacob and I went to the party store to pick out invitations (Star Wars, go figure) and I was doing the math in my head to figure out how many packs we needed to invite the entire class plus his new neighborhood friends and he about had meltdown. "I DO NOT want to invite G or C or even K to my party! They are MEAN to me" and then the pent up anxieties and frustrations of six months of recess torment came spilling out for all the customers and employees to hear. WOW. I had no idea. Now, don't go thinking I was oblivious because I didn't care. I've had conferences with the teacher and inquired daily to the son and all I got was "Everything's great. I love school." Okey-dokey then.
So apparently G and C and K have deemed Jacob "weird" and do things like steal his shoes and spit on his papers and punch him in the gut when he's trying to use the bathroom. All of this happens at recess. Usually. Obviously the teacher doesn't see this because she doesn't do recess. That's her planning time. They have parent volunteers who do recess. I asked Jacob if he told the recess teacher he was getting hurt and he said when he did, he was told he was being rude and made to run laps for twenty minutes. And then she told him he was being "weird" when he ran off to run. The parent volunteer just happens to be K's mom. Uh-huh.
Yes, yes, yes. I told the teacher about this and she said she spoke with all involved and they all denied it and, really, what can she do? She wasn't there. No one can prove it except my son and he's "weird" and I guess a side effect of "weird" is lying. At least to them.
Okay, so I've run off on a little tangent here. Yada, yada, yada, Jacob isn't as accepted as I thought he was, whatever, we can deal.
Anyway. The invitations. So Jacob is desperate not to have these three kids IN. HIS. NEW. HOUSE. OH. GAWD. THE. HORRORS! So I tell him I'll figure something out. So I meet with his teacher to ask for suggestions. I told her the deal. I wanted to know if the kids talked party shop in their down time because if so, I was inviting the entire class. I didn't want anyone to feel left out because they weren't invited. And that's when she proceeded to tell me that, well, that kid and that kid and that one over there and she and she and he all had parties and everyone in the class was invited. Their parents said so.
Everyone, that is, except Jacob. And his little kindergarten buddy.
Little kindergarten buddy's mom and I. We be pissed.
I mean. WTF? This is CHRISTIAN SCHOOL?
Disclaimer: I love the education and attention my son is receiving at the christian school. He will continue to go there for as long as we think it is doing him good. and we do think it is doing him good. The other kids? Eh. Please don't suggest we take him away from there. He may be eaten anywhere else.
So anyway, I pretty much then sat down with him, eliminated the kids who already had birthdays plus the kids who didn't invite him last year and that left me with four boys. And one was little kindergarten buddy. I mailed the invitations to their homes. I only received an RSVP from K buddy's mom where we spent an hour wasting my cell minutes wondering WHY? WHY? WHY?
And then last Monday Jacob comes home from school in a pretty chipper mood and says,
Jacob: "Ch... can't come to my party, but he says he's still my friend. He's my best friend at school, Mom. I like him and he's really nice to me and he doesn't listen to G, C, and K when they tell him not to like me"
And from what I've seen of the kid, he IS really friendly and good to Jacob.
Me: "Well, that's okay, Jacob. Sometimes people have things to do on the weekends."
Jacob: "Chr.. had his birthday party last weekend. He said he couldn't invite me because there was not enough room in his house. I told him that was okay that we had a big house and he could come to our house sometime."
Me: (in my head) HE WASN'T INVITED TO ANOTHER FRICKING PARTY? "Yes, baby. If you want Ch... to come play one day I'll call his mom and arrange it. Maybe over spring break"
Jacob: "Everyone else in class went to Ch... party. Even G and C and K. Even THE GIRLS. But there wasn't enough room for me and E (little K buddy) Ch...' mom said so."
And then a few days later, Jacob came to sit by me while I was
Jacob: "E told me today that he asked the other kids why they called me weird and stuff and G and C told him it was because I was stupid and weird things made me happy and I have too many warts. (He does have a slew of mosaic warts all over his fingers. He got them from Laura. We've never minded them until, well, that very second) And they told him they would be friends with him if he stopped being friends with me.
Me: (Must. Call. Parents) "I'm sorry. You feel bad about that huh?"
Jacob: "Yeah, but I feel bad for E too. I don't want him to miss out on being friends with them because of me"
Me: Nothing. I had nothing.
I had to excuse myself to the bathroom and sob like like a tiny baby.
When I composed myself we looked up warts on the wikipedia (where I found out just what kind of warts we were dealing with) and am making an appointment with the pediatrician and dermatologist tomorrow. I know removing those horrible warts aren't going to instantly make him accepted, but at least that is something I can fix for him right now in this moment.
Then he told me some other things about how last year's best buddy can only be friends with him on play dates and parties because he doesn't want the other kids to think he's weird for being friends with him. Apparently he no longer talks to him at all at school. I was ticked about that at first and wanted to call his mom who is my friend and tell her what was going on. But I realized, hey, many adults are intolerant of differences and look the other way with the same fears. How can I expect a seven year old to stand up and take a stand for his friend? Then I had to go and sob for first grade friend. How horrible for him.
Jacob had a blast at his party. All his neighborhood friends (plus two cousins who weren't invited) came and the jumpy house man got caught in traffic so we jumped for two extra hours. He has enough new Lego sets to last him until summer vacation. His best kindergarten buddies were here and played Star Wars not because they wanted to, but because it was Jacob's birthday and they knew HE wanted to. He had the huge cookie instead of cake just like he requested. Blue frosting and all. For an excited eight year old, he was very well behaved.
And when I tucked him bed last night I let him know that I was pleased with his behavior and he wanted to know if I thought he was weird. I mean, what do you say to that? I told him I thought weird was another way of saying unique. Unique is good. Unique makes you, you. You can be whoever you want to be. You can do whatever makes YOU happy. And maybe other people are weird for not knowing that.
I guess we're all a little weird.