I worry about my kids having friends and being accepted. I worry about them getting picked on for who they are, and not for who the other kids think they should be. I worry about them feeling left out and alone. I worry about them sitting at the lunch table all by themselves or walking around the play ground solo, because no one wants to hang with them. I worry that they won't get invited to things and wonder what is wrong with them that the other kids don't like. I just worry that my kids won't be included. And the truth is, I've always worried more about this when it comes to Sophia.....but at least today, I'm not worring about this at all.
Sophia is VERY sociable. This girl has NEVER met a stranger. In fact, she gives me a little anxiety from time to time when we are around new people, because she is very, in your face, hey what's going on over here, hope I'm not invading too much of your personal space, kinda girl. Some people love that about her, and well, some people don't. And honestly, I guess that's okay.
A few weeks ago, a little boy in our neighborhood stopped by to play at our house with Jayden. We've never really played with this boy much and he really doesn't know us that well, except from seeing us walk around the neighborhood and he knows Jayden from school. But they were playing in the front the yard and Sophia was out there trying to play too. I don't know if the boy thought Sophia was more of a baby or what, but he really didn't have any interest in including her in their play. He wasn't really mean, but he wasn't really friendly either. Well Sophia wasn't going to put up with that nonsense! So she dug into him a little...like dug her fingernails into his arm a few times and then proceeded to toss a couple rocks at his face, just to let him know that she was not going to take any crap from him. Of course I couldn't let her think that was okay, so she got put in timeout, but inside I was thinking, "You go girl! You show that little punk that he can't push you aside and not let you play. He done messed with the wrong girl!" Even though I wasn't happy that she got a little "violent," it made me happy that she stood up for herself! She can't vocalize her feelings right now, so when she felt like she was being excluded, she let him know, the best way she knew how (but not the most appropriate way) that she wasn't okay with how he was treating her.
I think that some kids meet Sophia and think that just because her language isn't really there, that she can't play like they can, or that she can't understand what they are saying. It may aslso be hard for them to figure out how to relate to her without being able to verbally communicate with her. It can definitely end a friendship before one ever starts, because little kids just don't get it. Hell, some adults don't even get it! It takes a little bit more time on the other persons part to stop and really get to know Sophia. She might not be able to say, "HI!", but she can wave and smile and take you by the hand and show you what she wants to play. Or if you initiate the conversation first and ask her to come do something with you, she knows what you're saying and can proceed however she feels like following through. But it sometimes just takes a few more seconds to really "hear" what she is trying to "say."
Today, we were at a family graduation party, full of people that really didn't know us that well. A little anxiety always kicks in in situations like this, because again, I'm always worried that Sophia's lack of giving people their personal space, will rub someone the wrong way. But I loosened the reins a little and let her work the room and everyone was so welcoming of her. In fact, she was once again, the center of a lot of the attention. But it wasn't just the adults that were so great with her, the kids that were there were awesome too! They were all mostly middle school and high school aged kids, but they were drawn to Sophia. They accepted her into their circle. They played with her and helped her when she needed it. Of course none of them could really understand her, but that was okay. They stuck with her and held her hand when she grabbed for theirs and followed her to wherever she took them and sat down when she patted the chair or picked her up when she held up her hands. They were patient with her and they were sweet and caring and she felt that from them. She knew that she was accepted and that she was wanted in their circle of fun. And she was good to them, because they were good to her.
One thing that I love about Sophia, is that she is a take it or leave it kind of girl. You treat her good and show her some respect and she will pour her good little soul right back to ya! But if you treat her like she isn't welcome, girl will spit in your face, stomp on your foot and walk her little booty on over to the next best thing, before you can even get a word out! Of course Sophia's feelings get hurt by people's actions, but she knows when other kids aren't treating her right and she usually won't stick around to be dissed on, unless she's coming back to throw a rock at their face :/ I am gaining more and more confidence in Sophia's abilities to make her own friends, because the truth is, there are kids out there who are going to stop and "listen" to her and take the extra time to really get to know her. And for the ones who don't.....at least right now, Sophia has no time for them anyway!