Today was supposed to represent a giant leap forward in Jacob’s development and our trust in his abilities. The kids asked to go to “night swim” at the local pool, and since Jake has been there a lot lately, and since he knows the processes and expectations, we decided to let him give it a go. All three kids took their bikes, Liv had her cell phone (in case of an emergency) – we thought we had our bases covered.
When drama came, it came in a form we weren’t expecting.
The kids made it the entire 90 minutes of night swim, and came home on their bikes as planned. Jake burst through the door beaming from ear to ear, Liv in tears.
Jake brought home a “tree.”
Jake was beside himself that he had found this stick “at the Stank,” his unfortunate attempted pronunciation of our local high school, Schenck. It’s the second such stick he’s brought home in the last week or so, and he couldn’t be more proud. Not only did he find this tree and bring it home, he did so in front of at least a handful of people who laughed at him.
This is where Liv’s tears came from. She, unlike her brother, was mortified that “everyone” saw her brother bring a tree home and laughed at him. When pressed, it was indeed “everyone” that saw him and laughed.
I tried a multiple choice. Did everyone mean 2, 5, or 35 people?
35. Had to be.
She went upstairs to change into her pajamas, and we brought Jake down to debrief. I told him that Liv was upset that the people saw him and laughed at him, which was mean. He was adamant that he did nothing wrong, and that he didn’t make Liv cry. We tried to help him understand that Liv wasn’t upset because he made her cry. She was upset because others laughed at him.
When asked, Jake said he found a great big tree and when he dragged it home behind his bike, “all the girls” laughed at his joke. They all laughed, and he laughed too.
I had a quiet moment with Liv after my conversation and photo op with Jake, and she seems to understand.
This is the line we walk:
On the one hand, I have a thirteen year old boy doing stupid things to get the girls to notice (and laugh at) him.
On the other, I have a special needs child who doesn’t know the difference between TELLING and BEING a joke.
On a third hand, I have an empathetic daughter who is learning the difference and wants nothing more than to protect her big brother from the world.
Today, it’s harmless and funny and Jake has been able to tell Liv that he made a joke and everyone laughs and so should she.