My child has no friends...

And, it was sad to watch. And, I don't know what to do about it. And, I'm afraid that I'm already doing all I can. But, is it enough???

I took her to school yesterday for a getting ready session. I was supposed to be able to meet the teachers, but they were all out leading tours of the school and the teacher we hooked up with for our tour was from a different grade. But, we did get to walk to all her classrooms and practice opening her locker and help the girl next to her learn to open her locker. And Sydney grumbled and used me like her personal pack mule the whole way. That part was normal. All the other tweens whose parents were there with them were grumbling and telling their parents to stand in the background, too. It was very normal. Don't talk, don't embarass me, don't show any interest, don't, don't, don't.

But, the kids that we saw from last year were there, and they didn't talk to her. They didn't look her in the face. They were bunching up in little cliques, with their parents standing on the sidelines watching with that bored parental look on their faces, just like they had been grumbled at to do. But, when Sydney saw other kids, they just walked on by. And, that was the nice kids. The meanest ones looked her in the eye and then turned their heads away...OUCH!

There was one girl that Sydney met at summer camp in June that tried to talk, and Sydney didn't have much to say to her and told me she didn't remember her name. There was one boy that Sydney called out to and the boy didn't hear her so didn't turn around (thank goodness). But, that was all the friendliness I observed in two hours of walking around.

As I'm writing this, I'm remembering the chaos that was going on. And, it was true chaos. It was the school's first time to do this and they were not prepared for the huge turnout. They didn't have things planned and it was 200 kids and their parents, often both parents, milling about with confused looks on their faces. In fact, we were probably some of the most ready because I had a plan to see each classroom and was willing to follow the tour guides and listen. Many of the parents didn't speak english, so they were lost on the tours and lost in the big school buildings, like the girl with the locker next to Sydney. Her parents didn't speak english, but they were very grateful that I helped and I know just enough spanish to be able to say I was glad to help when they thanked me, and the dad gave me a very grateful look and a thumbs up. Thumbs up is multi-lingual, I guess.

Last night, I went in her room with my knitting and watched TV with her. After about a half hour of very pointedly idle chatter, I brought up the whole friends thing and tried to talk about it. I emphasized how important friends are and explained that before she came to us, she changed schools every year and keeping friends wasn't that important cuz there was a new batch every year to choose from. But, here, she's going to be with these kids for a lot more years and she needed to learn to make and keep friends. And, she almost opened up, but then she shut down again. So, I just said I was here to talk about friendships if she needed someone, gave her a kiss on the top of her head and kept knitting.

As I'm writing, I'm seeing a glimmer of hope. Maybe Sydney just didn't want me to get involved. She knew that if she got into a conversation with one of the kids, I would NOT be standing in the shadows. I'd be in the middle of it. I am shameless. I can't stand on the sidelines like all those other parents were doing. I'm right there meeting the kids, which is how I knew so many from last year.

I hope that's the case. I hope that when I'm not there she'll talk to the kids. I hope that when all the parents aren't there, it will be better for her, but I'm afraid it won't be. I'm afraid she doesn't know how to make and keep friends. I'm afraid she triangulates them like she has tried so often to do with me and Rob, playing one against the other. But, we're adults and have been together 10 years and caught on to that early and defended ourselves. The kids are only 11 and don't have those defenses and could easily have fallen into those traps. We'll have to see. All she'd tell me was that there would be a whole new group of kids to choose friends from and I shouldn't worry about it. But, I do worry. I worry a lot. Probably too much. That's what it's like to be man-mom.

Okay, that's a glimpse into my life. I need to go so I can try to get to work a little early. Now that my boss has finished his big presentation, and gotten the feedback from the big guys, he has a list of stuff he wants me to work on as long as my arm. I spent an hour just filling in notes yesterday after he told me about the 9 things that need to be done right away. And, while I need to work on my computer this weekend, and while I want to sew some, too, I know I'm going to have to spend part of the weekend working. Hey, maybe I can work on two computers at once. One installing all the software I lost from the old hard drive and one working on stuff for the job. Can you see me sitting on the floor with a hand on each keyboard? Unfortunately, I can.

See ya'. I didn't get to any blog catching up yesterday, but I'm going to have to get started or I won't ever get caught up on what's going on with you guys. Hope you're all well. Take care. Lane

P.S. is it normal for parents to get the first day of school jitters? :-)


Elaine Adair said...

i'm going to jump in and suggest at least saying "Hello" or "Hey" to the kids YOU know. No additional conversation, just "hey". Gosh, it's hard ot imagine kids not talking to each other, but then, I personally, have always been a blabbermouth! They must all be feeling the same things. How big is this school??? Frankly, it sounds terrible! No welcome banners? No teachers with big smiley faces?? I've just started reading your blog, so maybe I've missed some facts. Good luck - tough duty these days, I think.

Coloradolady said...

Oh man, did this bring back memories of my own kids....first off, let me say that this is a VERY tough age for any kid, it was not the most pleasant of times with my two any way. Kids at this age are hard on each other, hard on their selves, and hard on the parents....just keep that in mind.

I am assuming Sydney is in public school from the description you gave. Both of mine, went to an inner city Catholic school through 8th grade. Only problem there is one class per grade, and you were stuck with the same aprox. 20 kids since 1st grade...clicks form and usually they stay the same way for years. In public school, there is a large variety of kids, and I really think now, after they are grown, that my kids would have been a lot happier in Public School. In all of those hundreds of kids, most kids will find where they fit in and find new friends.

I feel for you and Sydney, these are tough times, she may be frustrated, she may not want to talk, she may be mad at the world....just remember this will pass.....in time. Your heart will break, and worry, and try to go into hover mode to fix things....just relax....your heart will soar again when she is through this tough tween stage....I know!!

I really don't have any answers....just know how you feel. Hopefully, she will find a few friends in her classes and they will click and be a great support system for each other. It is really tough these days on kids....nothing is simple anymore!

Nancy-Rose said...

ugh....pre-teen angst My heart goes out to both of you. It's awful going through it, and it's awful having to stand by, wringing your hands, watching your own baby go through it.

My dad used to say, if you have one friend, all your life, you're luckier than most people. Sounds like Sydney already has that friend...

Barb said...

You just love your child so much and hurt when they hurt and sometimes hurt even when they don't.....she will be fine...they always are.

Riet said...

You poor man. I can feel with you but I am sure we hurt more than they do . We all go through this stage..I watch my granddaughter who is 11 too and I can see they change so much at this age. I think they are too shy to look someone in the face and don't know what to do with themselves. Good luck.

kwiltmakr said...

I think it will be different when not all the parents are around. Don't worry she will be fine. I would rather my child have 1 good friend that behaves rather than 8 friends that don't behave so well. It sure is tough raising kids, I feel for you.

Gene Black said...

Gosh, I remember those years as a tween, I was totally miserable and didn't have parents that tried to talk to me. Sydney is a lucky girl. Hopefully what you told her will finally click and she will learn to make friends and not play one against the other. I am sure that is a defense she learned earlier in life. And as you probably know, unlearning a behaviour is very hard.

SubeeSews said...

I was a loner in school. I have 7 younger brothers and with all thechaos at home school was a relief. I am self contained. I like being with myself. So, maybe she is a self contained gal too.
And thanks for the comment about the feral cats. They break my heart. Wish I lived on a farm. I would have the biggest "cat house". HA!
XOXO Subee