Saturday, May 12, 2007

Conversation with Erik...

On Wednesday, Erik´s best friend didn´t come to school. Luey had a playdate that day, so Erik and I decided to walk up to the top busstop, which we had stopped using because it´s a longer walk and Luey tends to drag his feet. It is also the walk that usually means we get to chat with Erik´s best friend´s mum, and their family for part of the walk.

Anyway, as luck would have it, despite having been in the schoolyard for quite some time after the bell, C, his brother and his mum´s (M) were sitting at the crossing as we crossed. We stopped to chat with them, and M explained that C had had a mental health day at home because he had recently been teased quite a bit by the kids in C's and Erik's class. C was also sad because Erik had been playing with a group of kids who actively exclusde C and tease him, calling his "fat" amongst other things.

One of the main people teasing C is a girl Erik has somewhat of a crush on (a girl he is going on a playdate with on Monday night)...

After we'd chatted for a while, Erik and Bryn and I headed off, and I made a mental note to talk with Erik about this, later.

So, later on I asked Erik about his girl friend teasing C (girl friend is also M)... He wasn't aware she had being part of teasting C. We talked about what Erik might be able to do if he did see people teasing C. And how, as a friend to C, it would be good if Erik could show the other kids he doesn't want his friend (C) to be teased and upset. For a while there Erik was talking about how he felt torn between playing with C and playing with M, and I explained to him that he was welcome to play with whomever he liked, he shouldn't have to choose one or the other, but that also, as a friend he had an obligation to defend his friends if someone was being mean to them.

Then he came out with...

C and I are so different. He is calm and I'm restless, and M is restless like me, too. So it's fun to play with M, but it's also good to play with C because I feel calm when I play with C. But, it's too bad that C isn't a bit more like me.

I asked what he meant by that.

C is not punchable, but I am.

I asked what he meant by punch-able, did he mean he (Erik) could punch, or that he got punched.

I can stand up for myself, I don't let people push me around, but C just goes away if people say mean things to him. It would be good if he could have one half of my brain and I could have one half of his brain, so then he could stand up to people, like me, and I could be qieter like him. Only one bad thing... Then we couldn't play Yugio because he could see what I was thinking...

Well there is abstract thinking for you, hehehe, but besides that... How clued in is Erik??? Oh, I questioned him further about the punching thing, he doesn't mean literal punching other kids to stand up for himself, he mean that he could defend himself, either by not listening when people bullied him, or standing up to them verbally. But also, I thought it was interesting that he realised he couldn't really do this FOR C, that it was something C had to find in himself. Erik could tell people to leave C alone, but he couldn't make C feel better about it and let the bullying run off him.

As it turned out, C was coming down with a virus - which I REALLY hope we didn't catch on the day, considering all the people we've seen since - which is why he was feeling particularly sensitive to the stuff at school and hadn't wanted to go to school at all (C does have friends at school, including Erik, and a girl who lives across the road from C, but I think he just wasn't feeling up to dealing with the other kids.).

I was very concerned to hear about the viciousness of the bullying that goes on, especially amongst the girls, pinching, swearing, calling of names - and these girls are aged 6-8!!! What's going to be like as the kids get older, eeek!


casso said...

This is such a beautiful post Sif. :o) Is it just me or are you getting closer to Erik these days? Just feels like a lot of warmth coming from you when you talk about him lately.

And his insight into his and C's personality differences are really remarkable! Sounds like he is really coming into his own in terms of relating to others. This post really made me smile! :o)

Love Cass

Sif Dal said...

Yeah, I'm opening up to Erik a lot more in recent months. Having some space (when he goes to school) has helped a lot. Also, I've actually been making more of an effort to talk with him, and yk, the more effort you make the less of an effort it becomes...

Good Job!