It's so hard to not step in with my shield and sword and fight every battle for him, even the small ones. He's been through so much since starting school. Not many people "get" him. They don't "get" what he is saying to them. They don't "get" his funny humor. They don't "get" his needs. And when they don't get him, they can sometimes be mean and rude. Sometimes it is just a snarky face. Other times it is a snarky comment. Other times it is people/children not wanting to be around him.
Whenever I see him do something that makes others uncomfortable, I want to step in and explain that he is just a little different, and that it is ok. Whenever I see him get uncomfortable with something someone says or does around/to him, I want to step in and tell them that that upsets him, and try to calm him down before he gets too upset.
But sometimes ... I know I just need to step back a bit and let him work it out. It is soooo hard to do this, though. I just want to protect him from all of the crap he faces as people navigate through his life.
Today it was something as simple as a child calling him "Timmy Turner" (from The Fairly Odd Parents). Timmy hates being called anything besides Tim, Timmy or Timothy. The child was just being fun with him, not picking on him at all, but I knew Timmy took it wrong. I knew that Timmy, as he always does, became upset when someone "messed up" his name.
I've tried to explain in the past, the difference in someone joking and someone being mean to him, but he always takes his name being changed as being mean to him. This other boy had no ill intent toward Timmy, but I still took that step forward to put my arm around Timmy and face the little boy and let him know that Timmy doesn't like to be called anything but by his actual name. But I stopped myself. This wasn't an actual battle. This was something that Timmy was going to have to work out himself. This wasn't someone being mean to Timmy. This was .... well part of life.
So I stood there, and I watched. I saw Timmy getting upset about it. I saw him starting to growl under his breath. But then I saw him look down at the floor and take a deep breath. Then another. Then another. And then my little boy went over and said "I'm just Tim." and walked away over and took care of his backpack. And it was over.
Sometimes we've navigated over so many freaking mountains, that it is easy for us, as parents, to make a mountain out of molehill. I've really decided that I do need to step back sometimes, and let Timmy navigate over the molehills on his own. I'll step in and help him over the mountains.
I'm very impressed with Timmy about this, though.
First off, he used his breathing to calm himself. Meltdown was averted by his deep breathing exercises that we have been practicing. YES!!
Second off, he used his words and told the boy his feelings. Yes, it was a very small sentence, but it got his point across. He let the boy know that he didn't like the nickname, and what he likes to be called. YES!!
Timmy, my boy, you navigated that molehill awesomely! <3!