Last night, I was thinking back to Moose's parent-teacher conference. Really great (for both kids, actually). He's participating in class - raising his hand in math, focusing. He only leaves the inclusive classroom for a few sensory breaks as needed. It's really hard to believe how far he's come in the past 4-5 years. For those of you who didn't know him as a two-year-old, the young man he's becoming is incredible.
The only downside to his conference was talking about him socially. He is SUCH a friendly person. He says hi to everyone, is really nice, has a big ol' heart. BUT. He prefers to play by himself. And when he plays with other kids, it's always them playing what he wants to play. It's difficult as a mom to watch your son purposefully keep himself apart from others. Now, I don't want kids who just follow the crowd (who really does?) but I want them to have friends. And elementary school is a pivotal time to make those friends or at least learn those social skills of making friends.
He is obsessed (I don't use this word lightly) with Mario Kart Wii right now. He talks about it constantly - which cups he likes and which characters. He draws tracks all the time - chalk, marker, pencil. His papers from school are littered with tracks on the back (to this extent, Squirt's papers are littered with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). He "drives" everywhere and you can just tell he sees exactly the screen when he's doing it. It's gotten to the point of annoying even me. And so a few weeks ago we banned it until November. We don't own the game ourselves but I was taking the boys somewhere on Fridays to reward good behavior to play the game.
We and his teachers talked about how to limit this behavior. We hate to use labels like "normal" but seriously, it's not normal to "drive" in the hallways as a second grader (we have a sweet little friend from preschool last year who would "drive" like a tractor everywhere, so I know this isn't completely abnormal either but again, preschool vs. 2nd grade). We decided he could "drive" when he takes sensory breaks but when he's with other students, he needs to walk (part of it is also a distraction thing; it takes him longer to drive than walk). And we agreed that at one recess he could play Mario Kart by himself (although I've urged him to ask someone to play it with him) and at the second recess he needed to ask to play with another kid what that kid is playing.
God didn't make us to do this life on our own. He made us for community. So I want my kids to have friends!
So his teacher, who just LIT UP when she talked about him (how great does that make a mom feel??!), was telling us how she was prepping the class for this six day break they were having. She said she wouldn't see any of them for six days when a few little girls in the class chimed in that they would see the teacher at church on Sunday. Moose then threw in his two cents with, "Mrs. W, are you a follower of Christ?" She said all their little heads turned to wait for her answer. She told him yes, which she is (aren't we blessed? We got TWO believing teachers this year! I'm fairly certain all of my children's classroom teachers so far have been believers.). Then she asked him if he was. He replied something about going to church every Sunday (which we have discussed and he understands does not make or break a believer. Our faith is based upon our belief that Christ lived, was crucified, died and was buried, he rose from the dead, appeared, and ascended into heaven).
It's not the first time Moose has talked about Jesus at school. I love it. I just love how it doesn't even occur to him to be shy about his faith. I have very rarely seen him embarrassed about anything but never about his faith. He doesn't shy away from talking about it at all. Of course, that credit is all to God's glory because his mama too often shuts her mouth about faith when it should be talking.
So this faith of his, this beautiful child-like faith, got me to thinking about his social skills last night. And perhaps my duty to help him in this arena is to urge him to play with others but even more so, to pray that he will love God more. Because I've found the more I love God, the more I love His people. Perhaps that is the catalyst for Moose. He needs to grow in his love for God in order to grow in his love for God's people.