Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weird, Revisited

So the birthday and party have come and gone. Good-bye seven, Hello eight. New numbers, new presents, but same old shit. If you've been reading me forever, like Tracey, then you already know where this post is going.

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.


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."

Me: "Uh-huh"

And then a few days later, Jacob came to sit by me while I was playing scavenger hunt getting things done and said this to me:

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.


Aunt Becky said...

Oh man, Andria, my heart is broken for Jacob. Kids can be so, so cruel.

My brother was very much like Jacob in that he was deemed "different" and as such, was picked on to no end. He stutters, and apparently that's a Bad Thing when you're a kid.

I want so badly to come over to your neighborhood and shake those mothers until they realize how awful they are. What horrible people.

I'm so sorry for Jacob, and I'm sorry for you and this whole situation just bites. I hope that Jacob learns soon that weird is a huge plus in the world. Just after elementary school.

Ruby Red Slippers said...

My son just turned eight as well, and we didn't have a party-just family over. We plan on just having one or two of his good friends over for pizza and fun one night, but that is about it.
My son is very sporty, but gentle-spirited. We have been having talks with him about a couple of the boys who are aggressive, and mean. I keep telling him to stand up for himself, and always go to an adult if things continue.
You need to keep on that teacher! It is her respondsibility to ensure all her students are being treated properly. Keep on her-I do that with my kids teacher...because mean kids (and sometimes parents) are everywhere.
I know you have little ones, but can you help on recess a few times, and see how it goes? That is another suggestion.
My 8 year old has a very dominant kid in his class and this boy was always taking my sons snack and eating in when my son's head was turned. I went in one day, and said to that kid< "How are you enjoying my son's snacks?" The kid said, "I didn't eat his pretzels!" I said to him-just let N. know if I should be packing you a snack, or if I should let your mom know you need one..."
End of issue!
Good luck. It is so hard with all this school stuff. But as a mom and former teacher-the teacher is still responsible-

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm so sorry he has to go to school with all those little bast_rds. You know they get it from the parents. We have some in our class, but at least we have some good ones too. I'm so sorry for Jacob. My heart just breaks for him. He's such a sweet, loving, good hearted boy and they totally take advantage of that.
I'm glad he had a wonderful birthday and I'm glad that he has you for a mom. You know how to make him feel special. HUGS to you both!

JessieE said...

long time lurker, first time poster.

fuck those little bastards, and their moms, too.

Not too pc, huh?


(going for the lightens the mood)

kelly jeanie said...

I'm so glad that he had such a great party. Jacob really seems like he has a good heart and I hope he keeps that through all of this. Hopefully one of these years he'll meet some friends who are worth it. I've been reading you forever too (I can't believe he's 8!!) and these stories make my blood boil and my heart break at the same time. I didn't realize this crap started when they were so small!! I was picked on in middle school for a while and it was awful. I'm afraid for my kids...I don't want them to be bullied, or be the bully-er, and I'm not sure how to prevent it or even know when it's happening if teachers are so oblivious.

Tracey said...

my heart is breaking for you guys...

Ok, so maybe Jacob is "weird." SO WHAT??? We are all different. THAT'S THE POINT OF LIFE!

I'm sorry... I'm glad he had fun at his party, though. And I wish I didn't understand when you talked about the other kids calling him weird. Cuz I DO understand, and it sucks to be the mommy of someone who is getting picked on. (Why do you think I'm considering homeschooling?)

Lynanne said...

Weird is good. Sounds like Jacob is better off NOT playing with kids who are so mean. Those will be the kids who turn to alcohol and experiment with drugs (EVEN at a Christian school - whether it be the shock factor of being a rebel or the bad kids' who've been kicked out of the public school system). Those are the kids that follow the mob and cave to peer pressure.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe kids at a Christian school would treat Jacob like that....I guess cruelty is everywhere. From how he's handled it all, it sounds like he more mature than the parents of those little jerks. He's got a great head on his shoulders and it's obvious that he's got great support at home. You deserve all the credit for raising such an amazing little guy!

Heather and Jase said...

I agree! Screw the kids and their mothers. I'm a sucker for underdog kids. My son used to come home from Kindergarten crying because no one would play with him. I would sit and cry with him wondering how anyone could turn their back on this sweet little boy who just wanted to be one of the group.

Things have gotten better and his teacher reports that the groups actually argue over who gets Kyle that day.

It will get better once those little turds mature and realize what a great guy Jacob is.

Crazed Mom said...

Damn Andria! I need to come to Houston and kiss some pretend Christian ass. These woman are teaching their children to be elitists, judgmental,nasty, mean, intolerant people.

As hard as it is this is the age Jacob needs to start standing up from himself just a little.

You want to keep them safe in every way and the world doesn't let you.

I'm glad Jacob is such a good kid and was not crushed by all the intrigue.

HUGZ for you and Jacob.

CharmingDriver said...

YIKES!! So much of this is why we kept our 5 yr old nephew home from kindergarten for another year (fear of bullying combined with marked speech delay). I am so, so sorry your baby has been hurt this way and I hope like hell karma gets those vile parents who not only allow their children to alienate others but seem to encourage it.

Mommy Daisy said...

First of all I am outraged by those parents. I can't believe they are "encouraging" their kids to single out another kid by not inviting them to parties. How sad.

And I feel bad for Jacob that he has to deal with all that stuff.

But honestly, it sounds to me like he is a sweet, kind, well-adjusted kid. And no matter what other people think, I think that means you're a great mom.

Laura said...

Well, crap. That really is a bunch of crap. I hate it. I hate it for Jacob, I hate it for you, I hate that kids are like this. I hate even more that parents are like this.

It's definitely time to move to the commune at the high school in Sistersville.

Miss Hope said...

This just ticks me off to no end. It really really does. I mean, I'm glad Sweet Boy had a good birthday and a cookie with blue frosting and all that but what are these parents thinking?????? What kind of raisin' did they have???

It's almost like a Catch 22. You want your child to be liked and accepted but at what cost? Those people are losers and your child would be up in their houses being exposed to God knows what. He is safer and much better off far far away from these people and their offspring.

yeah, I got your back, sister.

Dana said...

Hey, I know how you feel. My kids are all deemed "weird" by their peers. I think it will make them very strong and tolerant adults. My heart breaks for them but what can you do? Take the time to teach them about differences and how to be accepting of people no matter what. Good luck to you. It's not easy......I know. I think Jacob sounds like an awesome, charming kid. I wish you lived closer. My boys and yours could all be weird together! I bet they'd have a blast!

Lynsey said...

I'm sobbing. I love that child. I've only met him once, and my heart just bursts for him. He's going to be such an amazing young man, he truly is, thanks to such a loving mom. Big hugs.

Monogram Queen said...

Hi Andria, here via Miss Hope. Don't know what prompted me to poke around on her blogroll today but i'm glad I did. My heart goes out to Jacob and to you. I dread this part of my child getting older. She's four now.
You are so right, we are all "weird" a.k.a. "unique" in our own ways.

Shane said...

Poor little guy. I've been through the same thing with my oldest. When he was younger the other kids thought he was a little strange too. He's always liked "different" things. He's fascinated with water fountains and inflatables (like the ones you decorate with for Christmas). How many kids share that interest? With time and a little maturity (on my son's and the other kids' part) it's gotten better. He tends to do better with girls as friends. They seem to "get" him. They appreciate his quirkiness and like him for who he is.

I know you want to jump right in and fight this battle for him... I did too... and it's hard not too. I'd make sure I was the volunteer recess parent every single day. But, that just creates dependency. Equip him with self confidence and that will go a LONG way. Plus, introduce him to a girl or two... they'll appreciate him more. :)

By the way, this would be a great story to share on Trusera.