Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Juggling Act

An interesting development has surfaced recently and I'm not quite sure how to interpret it.

As most of you know, Number One Son and Sweet Pea both were rewarded with parts in the upcoming children's theatre production of Willy Wonka Jr. This means they both get to practice every week with kids they don't normally hang out with.

In N1S's case, with his experience in past plays, he has formed a few really good friendships and looks forward to renewing them every time they get together for a performance.

Many of you also know that N1S's Asperger's has required him to work very hard at making friends. Asperger people take things very literally and have to learn many interpersonal skills in order to not annoy people. Non-verbal cues that we recognize naturally, like eye rolling, sarcasm and subtle facial expressions, need to be taught to a person with Asperger's. Even with instruction and practice, many Asperger's people only maintain a few good friendships at a time. In many cases, it's just too much work to have to decipher social cues from a large group of friends. More often than not, Asperger's kids are usually not in the 'most popular' group.

Which leads us to our interesting development. As I said before, play practice has started which allows N1S to renew some old acquaintances. One friend he has from past performances is a girl three years his senior. "G1" is very outgoing and greets everyone with a loud hug. N1S seems to be her favorite though and always goes out of her way to say hello or goodbye. Three performances ago, he informed us that G1 was his girlfriend.

His second close theater friend is "G2". She has shared the spotlight with him for three productions and is cute as a button with a great singing voice. Well, apparently, at the last practice, N1S was passing notes back and forth with G2. Lady Di and I instantly grew rabbit ears and tuned in to N1S's story.

LD asked first, "Where are the notes?". She wanted to gather the evidence.

"G2 has it. We just passed the same piece of paper back and forth. Like texting, only with paper.", he very accurately answered.

"Well, what did you guys write?", I inquired, trying not to sound too eager, or too calm, or too get-on-with-the-details, boy!

"She wrote that she would like me for a boyfriend and I answered that I would want her for a girlfriend.", was his matter of fact answer. I think LD and I sucked all of the air from the room with our gasps. I am so glad he is still at an age where he tells us everything. N1S, however, thought it was no big deal. Like having girls fawning all over him is a daily occurance.

After that he asked me if he was too young for a girlfriend. I made myself pause for a second before non-chalantly telling him that he probably was too young, but they could still hang out. What I wanted to say was, "Are you kidding? You're eleven! You can't have a girlfriend for thirteen more years!"

We got another jolt a few days later when G2 invited N1S to the movies with her. LD could barely hold the phone in her shaking hand until G2's parents got on the line and said the whole family would like him to come. Knowing that Mom, Dad and G2's little brother were going too, calmed us down considerably.

All kidding aside, LD and I weren't really that worked up. We know N1S and G2 are good friends we're just going to continue to let them be good friends.

But the next day we did get worked up. N1S got a phone call at home from yet another girl from school, "G3". G3 left a couple of messages telling N1S to call her back because she was waiting for him to call and too hurry up with it. LD and I know absolutely nothing about G3. But N1S sure knows about her. We found out she is in N1S's social studies class and he even wrote her phone number in his planner.

I'm starting to think that maybe all those 'social friendship exercises' N1S has worked at over the years were just code words for 'How to be a Fonzie' classes. I wish I could say that I have some pointers for him about girls when the time comes, but juggling three girlfriends at a time is way out of my league. I'm going to have to find a Happy Days DVD collection to get caught up. Lesson number one, buy leather jacket.


The Father of Five said...

Yikes Man... You have a real "Ladies Man" on your hands there...

This, I would imagine, is a double edged sword...

Thankfully for us, girls have not been on the radar yet, and are only just beginning to be a "blip"..

Good Luck DS and LD!

Dad Stuff said...

Thanks FOF. We'll keep you posted.

pixie said...

Yes, unfortunately it seems like the kids are starting younger and younger. Volcano is only in first grade and keeps getting "love notes" from these girls asking for his phone number and if they could get married someday.


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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.