Thursday, March 12, 2009

Social anxiety

I don't really have social anxiety :) But I am feeling kind of socially awkward tonight so you get to be the lucky recipients of my stressed out typing!

Liel is the 2nd youngest kid in her preschool class (the youngest is a week younger than she, the oldest nearly a year older). Her teachers told us that her interactive play skills are lagging behind her classmates, though they are not inappropriate for her age (cause, again, she's so much younger than many/most of them). But the thing is...Liel can and does play interactively. At home. With Zion. But at school she is shy. So shy. And it doesn't help that her tentative early attempts to play with her classmates were, in some cases, met with preschool hostilty. Nothing personal, I'm sure, but it was very upsetting for her.

So, she likes school. Or rather she likes parts of it. She loves the crafts, and painting, and playing with the puzzles (by herself) and building with blocks (by herself) and running around on the playground (by herself). But aside from a handful of days when she's had successful social interactions with her classmates any mention of "friends" or "playing with friends" causes her to go quiet and snuffle on Fluffy.

Tonight she told me, in a sad little voice, that she wasn't going to play with anyone at school tomorrow. I asked her if that was because she was having trouble figuring out how to join in her friends games and she eventually admitted that that was (at least part) of the problem. I was trying to spin it in a way where no one is to blame, see? Anyway, I asked her if she'd like her teachers to help her with that and she said yes. I'm really hoping they can- there are 16 or 17 3-4 year olds in her class and even with 3 adults that's a lot to keep track of.

And Robert pointed out that we should be more proactive here too, because although Liel has been at her preschool for 6 months now she has never had anyone over to play- nor has anyone asked her to come over. Bad mama and daddy. She's more comfortable at home and I think it would help her learn to play with kids at school if she could play with them at home first. And, I must admit, part of me feels a little rejected- for both of us. How come no one wants to set up playdates with us? (Yes, yes, I know I haven't set any up either! But I didn't say it was rational :))

If I try to stay calm about it I know that it took Zion a while to start playing with his classmates at school, too, and to have them over to play and vice versa. Our preschool starts at age 2, but we choose to start our kids at 3, so there is an existing social structure among kids AND parents that we have to negotiate. It took a while in Zion's class, too. Damn Northeasterners. As my friend K says, "In California people will meet you and be like, 'I love you! Let's be best friends. But if you screw with me, I'll hate you forever. But I don't think you will cause you are so sweet!' and in New York people meet you and go, 'You're gonna screw me, aren't you??' and then, a year later, 'Well, I still think you're gonna screw me. But...have a sandwhich.' and finally, "I guess you're not going to screw me. So...we can be friends'." I takes a while.

But it doesn't make me feel better right now. I don't want Liel to feel sad.


Adelaide's Mom said...

Oh, Liel you can come over and play any day! Sweet sweet little girl. We love you.


skyeball said...

Playdates sounds like a good way to ease her in. (I know, non-mom talking, but still...)

the main stitch upholstery said...

i feel your pain. she will be fine though. my kids didn't have play dates until after first grade and they are all fine. and yes, if you were in california you would probably have more friends, but jovi, do you really have time? liel will get more comfortable by kindergarden.