Friday, September 28, 2012

Tales of a Fourth Grade Something

So, here we are. A month into the new school year.

Fourth grade! Arguably the best of the school years, as both Hubby and I remember it. The year that solidly starts you off on remembering everything from here on out. You know what I mean? As an adult, I can remember, spottily, various events, adventures and randomness that took place prior to my 4th grade year. But I can pretty well remember life as I know it moving forward from 4th grade up to present. Hubby agrees. Fourth grade is where it's at and from whence it all began.

As for our particular fourth grader in question, Sweetie is loving every minute of it. She was excited to go back to school and sorely disappointed when, just 3 days into it, she was told there's no school on Labor Day Monday. "What do you mean, there's no school?!" Oh, did she want to go so badly. To have a day "taken" from her so soon was heartbreaking.

The day before school started, she and I went to the Open House to visit her new classroom and teacher. As she found her name placed at one of the places in the clusters of desks, she wondered aloud who the kid sitting next to her was. It was a new name. A new kid! She was intrigued to find out the next day what the face of this new name would look like.

After school that first day, of course I had to ask. "So, is A____ nice?" Yes, he was nice and funny. A big hit! Then, upon some further reflection, she proudly declared that "I think I made a new friend today." Why? Because "We turned things into chocolate and then ate them." Okaaayyy. So that's how it rolls in 4th grade. Sounds good to me.

After about a week or so into school, Sweetie came home with an Origami Yoda. Cool! Did you make that? No, A____ made it for me.

Ah, yes. Friendship. True, unadulterated friendship is what, here, have we.

Sweetie has always been her own person. In years past either playing on her own at recesses or joining in on whatever game looks good to her, not caring which particular kids are involved. But this year, now that she has the same recess as the 5th grade, she's almost always playing with her 5th grade friend from the Boys & Girls Club. And A____ as well on occasion.

And her supposed BFF of 5 years running? I can honestly say that I have never heard Sweetie say she's played with her at all. That right there is strictly an "in name only" relationship. Sure, they like each other, have fun when they are together, and invite each other to birthday parties and other special gatherings. But beyond that, yeah, not so much. Weird, but true.

And yet, Sweetie told me somewhat recently that she thinks, if she had to choose, she'd say she's probably one of the more popular kids at school. Oh yeah? Why do you say that? "Because no one is mean to me or doesn't seem to like me." Oh. Cool. You are a very likable kid, I can vouch for that.

So, yeah. I've heard Sweetie's tales of her solo-playing recesses. Even though she hasn't seemed adversely affected by it, I've felt bad for my poor daughter who no one wants to play with. Or maybe she's not outgoing enough to ask kids to play with her. Either way, what a pity that she spends her free play time roaming around on her own, making up elaborate games and skits in her head that no one will help her see to reality.

I remember my own childhood and know I absolutely had a true and honest best friend from the start of first grade. We played together always, slept over at each other's houses, and even talked for hours on the phone at our young age. Hubby too had a definable "best friend" in his early elementary school days. So why hasn't Sweetie solidified that kind of relationship for herself yet? And not just in name only? Obviously she's socially inept and a loner, right?

No. Definitely, not. She's not a loner. She just choses to play a particular way. If others want to join in, great. But, more likely (until this year), others will not. But that's okay with Sweetie. After all, she's the only one who can see the full vision in her imagination of how her elaborate ideas would come to pass, anyway. Obviously, she's not bothered by this. In fact, she has preferred this solo playing simply because she alone knows what she wants out of it.

But have the kids ever picked on her? No! Sweetie is a rockstar! An edgy kind of kid with a confident, quirky attitude and an unusual way of playing. She knows she's having fun, other kids or not! - and she's always "great." You don't pick on that! If anything, Sweetie is someone to be admired or even, dare I say, envied.

And now? She finally has recess with her good friend in 5th grade. A kid who totally "gets" her. A kid who can see into her elaborate imagination just as vividly as she can, add to it, and help bring an even more amazing scenario into the world. And the new kid, A____, well seems to be a kindred spirit as well.

I've written about this before, but she continues to amaze me every year.

One thing's for sure. Either alone or banded together with the few like-minded cohorts who enter her world, Sweetie sure is something!

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