At the Halloween party I noticed that when the teacher asked Boogs to line up for the costume parade and had asked him to choose two classmates to join him in line, Boogie chose this particular child. I saw the child get home, roll his eyes and say, "I knew he was going to choose me. He likes me." And then the kid sighed. Fine, whatever. I let it go, but my radar went up.
Boogie has mentioned this kid several times. And he's said, more than once, that he wanted to be friends with him, but N. didn't want to be friends with him. But that one time N. let Boogs play with him. Boogie was supposed to pretend he was a baby bird and N. would be the daddy bird. Boogs was supposed to chirp to be "fed" and the daddy bird would fly back and feed him. Well Boogie chirped all through recess and N. only came by at the end to feed him. Yeah, that's right. My kid sat in one place playing a game while the other kid ran around with other friends during recess and then came at the end. Don't tell me that the other kid didn't know what he was doing, because he so totally did. He's a smart kid. Strike 2!
But last week my heart broke when Boogie said that he couldn't play with his usual friends because they were playing with N. and N. didn't want to play with Boogs. Then Boogs let it slip that he plays by himself often at recess because all the other kids are playing with N. And what really broke my heart was when Boogie told me with tears in his eyes, "N. says I'm a little crazy and he's right. I just have so much energy at recess I have to run around. I've tried everything, but he still doesn't want to be my friend." Okay, kid. Strike 3. When my son is crying and telling me he's tried everything, we're done. I'm not putting my kid through the "mean girls" routine in kindergarten. It's just not right.
Initially, I did ask Boogs to tell me the characteristics of good friends and then we talked about the kids in his class who had those traits. He was able to name quite a few, but when I asked why he didn't play with them, he said, "Well, they play with N. and he doesn't want to play with me so I can't play with them." Boogie is really good about boundaries and he was having a really difficult time trying to stick with the boundaries that his classmate had set.
So I did it. I spoke to the teacher and set up a conference. I became that mom. Instead of letting the kids work it out I went to the teacher. Honestly, I felt a little stupid for doing so. I was an elementary teacher. I know that the teacher can't control how the kids think and what they do, especially on the playground. It's impossible. But I did it anyway. When my kid is crying or telling me that another kid finally "let" him play with him and the other kids then what we've got is a bullying situation going on. Kindergarten is too young to start this bullsh*t. I won't have it. So I became a bit of a helicopter mama. I swooped in and had a conference with the teacher. I did not tell Boogs what the conference was about. He did not sit in on it. But I wanted strategies for Boogs.
In speaking with the teacher he assured me that it was okay to bring up the issue, because if he doesn't know about it, he can't help to fix it. The guidance counselor will come in and talk about friendship. Mr. S. will role play with the kids. He gave me a few phrases for Boogs to use to stand up for himself.
In speaking with the teacher, I realized that I was afraid the underlying issue was that Boogie was starting to find his self worth in other people. Having been a person who has done that, I do not want my son going through that. At all. Not even a little bit. Now that I know this, I will work harder to show Boogs that he determines his own self worth. Not other people.
My Boogie Man is a kind hearted soul. He loves his friends and his family. He reminds me to put God first. He is passionate about helping animals, reading, and learning new things. He is just the coolest little guy.