Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

And She Said She’d Never Make Friends…

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I have a monumental task this morning.  I’ve got to clean the house, a task I’ve been meaning to do and have just been too lazy to put much effort into.  There’s a lot of stuff that’s still half-unpacked because we simply haven’t had a place to put it.  We’re trying to process through stuff to get rid of through our local Freecycle (which is awesome…so if you’re not already on a list, look up your local group!)  We’ve got laundry strewn down the hall because the boys went crazy in their bedroom yesterday morning and decided their clothes just had to go everywhere.  Apparently it’s much easier to climb on the dresser if you take out the drawers and throw everything everywhere first.  Who knew?  The place isn’t a total disaster, but it’s definitely not ready for company, and yet company I’m having.

You see, Corde’s been complaining since we got here that she doesn’t have any friends.  “Beekee’s already got two friends here and I don’t know anyone!  No one wants to talk to me!”  Well, it’s not quite true.  Beekee met some kid at the park that he played with a couple weeks back, but hasn’t seen since.  Then there’s the boy across the street that seems pretty cool, but he’s not around to play very often.  All of that doesn’t matter much to Beekee.  He’s not really the friend-making sort.  He’d rather just make an army out of seeds, pebbles, and sticks or play with the pill bugs and grasshoppers.  It’s not that he’s shy or unfriendly.  He just likes to do his own thing and other kids generally don’t bother with him because of it.

Just over a week ago she was stomping and sulking around the house.  I asked her what was wrong and she whined, “I don’t have any friends.  I try and try to make friends, but no one wants to talk to me.  No one wants to play with me.  It’s been so long since I’ve had to make friends that I don’t think I even know how to make friends anymore!

I sighed.  It’s hard being nine and a girl.  Girls can be really cliquish.  All these kids go to school together, so they have even more opportunity to form friendships.  Corde is the outsider and the new girl, so I knew she was going to have a rough time of it at first.  As much as I wanted to tell her to hold on and that it will get easier, I knew that wasn’t something she’d take well.  Instead I told her, “It takes time, Corde.  I know it’s hard.  It sucks when you don’t know anyone, but don’t expect to make friends overnight.  Just walk up to them and introduce yourself.  Then tell them that you live right here and they should stop by some time if they ever want to play.  Then just walk away.  Don’t expect them to want to play right away.  Don’t expect them to come visit.  Just leave it at that and see what happens.  Before long I’m sure someone will be curious and come over to play.”

The very next day I saw two of the neighborhood girls walking down the street when Oz and I were sitting out on the porch.  Corde, who was working with dedication on her cross stitch, nearly went out of her skin when I burst through the door and barked, “Corde, come here quick!  Right now!  Hurry!”  If only you could have seen the look on her face!  It was that classic look of “What did I do now?”  She started to question me, but I just told her to hurry again, so she dropped down her project and raced to the door, nearly wiping out in the process as she rounded the baby swing.

Nearly colliding into me as she came out the door she looked at what the fuss was about, then frowned.  “But Mom,” she said in a down and frustrated voice, “I don’t even know what to say to them.  They probably won’t want to play with me anyway.”

“That’s okay,” I said in my best encouraging-mom voice, “Remember what we talked about.  Just go over there, tell them your name and that you live right here if they ever want to come play.  Then just walk back into the house like it doesn’t matter whether they come by or not.  Trust me, it works.”

She nodded with a look of determination, and trotted down the stairs and across the driveway just as the girls got to the edge of our property.  She introduced herself and told them she lived right here if they’d ever like to come play, just like we talked about.  They said they couldn’t play right then.  They had to go to a friend’s house and they had to be there in the next half hour, but they would be back.  Corde just brushed it off as though she didn’t care one way or another and started back towards the house.  The taller of the two girls shouted a reminder to her that they’d be back, so she shouldn’t go anywhere.

Corde played outside for a while by herself after Oz and I decided to come in.  She got a book and waited for a while, but the girls didn’t show up.  Surprisingly she didn’t seem too disappointed.  She insisted she knew they’d be back and went about her business.  She jumped to be the first to the door when there was a knock saying she knew it was the kids from earlier, but it turned out to be the neighbor from across the street wanting to hang out with Oz.  Normally she’d be disappointed, but she wasn’t.

The next knock at the door was exactly what she had hoped.  The girls were back and wanted to play.  She spent the rest of the day playing with them until it started to get late and they had to go home.  She’d had her doubts, but they were now gone.  She was finally starting to feel that everything would be alright.

Just yesterday her friends stopped by to see if she could come out and play.  The next thing I know it’s almost dark and time for kids to get off the streets.  There’s a town ordinance stating that kids need to be back on their own lot by 9pm and in the house by 10.  I don’t like it, but laws are laws.  I was giving her the head’s up that it was almost time to say goodnight to her friends and I get ambushed by more than just her two friends.  “This is Corde’s mom” the older of the two girls had said.  “She’s a cool mom.  She’s the coolest mom ever.”  I have to admit I was flattered and like being the cool mom.  Then I was introduced to two new girls I hadn’t met before.

Next thing I know I’m telling them they can come back to play tomorrow and they decide it’s going to be a party.  They all want to come into the house, hang out, and play, which is fine by me, but I wasn’t expecting company.  That means I’ve got to get the house ready for visitors.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy Corde has friends, but it’s going to be a lot of work, and a lot of noise having a gaggle of girls over at the house!

It wasn’t all that long ago that Corde said she’d never make friends, but now she’s got a whole mess of them with the likelihood of her meeting even more kids.  She’s got more friends than Beekee now, possibly more friends than she’s ever had, at least that she was able to see regularly.  She knows a whole bunch of different kids and the four girls I know aren’t even the start of it.  I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of her friends since I’m the cool mom, apparently.

Most importantly, Corde’s finally happy.  After all her worries and her complaints of not having enough friends or never getting to go play with other kids, now she’s got a ton of them.  We don’t have to drive anywhere.  We don’t have to try and arrange schedules.  All she has to do is wait until after they get home from school and they’re pounding down our door begging for Corde to come play.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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