Those that know me, know I love kids. ALL kids. I should have had a passel of them, but that was not in my cards. (no worries, my heart is full with the one God gave me.) Those people also know that we live in a trailer park. (go ahead, here is where you can leave your trailer trash jokes…..I have one for ya though….You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you CAN’T take the trailer park out of the girl!) Yeah we joke about it too. We are poor. So what. What we lack in money, we make up for in love and laughs. That’s what truly matters anyway….. Moving on. We are surrounded by kids. In the summer my yard is usually full of them. Liam is in his glory. Oddly though he isn’t always playing with them. They are usually playing something, while Liam is off to the side, playing his own thing, his own way, and he is good with that.
Being a crafty momma, I try to think of low cost things he can do with the kids, and be a part of the play. Usually that lasts about 5 mins for him, and all day with the others. He doesn’t care, and as long as he is happy, why should I???
The older he gets the more he craves that one on one friend. That so called “bestie.” A Bud. His buddy from when he was a baby has a hard time playing with Liam because well, Liam is bossy, and pushy and grabby and “A” has a hard time with that. I can’t blame him. The kid he has clicked with is older by 5 years. He used to bully Liam. Now they are buddies.
What happened you ask? Well, I’m not 100 percent sure. A few years ago this boy was mean to Liam. In front of us, he wasn’t. But when they would walk out of ear shot to play, the other side of him came out. He would tell his little sister to call Liam horrible names. He once took Liam into his room to play, and then beat the crap out of him. He then told his mother Liam beat him up, and we abruptly left. The whole time Liam was crying saying, “Momma, I didn’t touch him I promise!” I know when my child lies, and I know this other child well enough that I know when he is lying. My son wasn’t.
We tried to tell this child’s mother what was going on. Not much was done. I think she didn’t want to admit that something was going on with her child. I can get mad about that, or I can realize that when it comes to our kids, it’s not always easy for us to admit their faults. Hey, I have been there.
The straw that broke the camels back was a few months ago. This boy told my son he was stupid and a baby. I went off. After all the education about Autism we have preached to these neighbor kids, and he dared speak to my baby like that. Well when I was out of earshot he called me a b!t@h. Another kid came and told me. Now Dad is involved and he is steaming.
He calmly asked him why he was being this way. We have always been so nice to him. We don’t yell at him, but we also don’t let him get away with being a bad boy. Paddy asked him why he was so mean to Liam when all Liam wants to do is love him. The truth came out. This young little boy was in fact a target of bullying at school. He cried and cried and confided in Paddy that he is mean to Liam because he is always so angry that kids are mean to him. My heart broke. As mad as I was that he was treating my child badly, I was even more mad that it was because someone else was treating him so badly. I hugged him. I told him it’s not right. We talked to him at length that night. My friend was there, he is a counselor and works with children. He went over and talked at length to the mother. She got in contact with the school.
Fast forward a few months. This child has now been to stay at our home 4 times now. He has been a wonderful little boy. He asks if I need help with dishes. When Liam gets too “handsy” he calmly tells him, “if you want me to be your friend, you have to stop hitting me!” He actively asks us about Autism, and what it is and how it affects Liam. He is learning, he is caring.
There are still days when he doesn’t play with Liam. He plays with another boy that is the same age and it upsets Liam. We are working on getting Liam to understand that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. That if you spent every waking hour with a friend, you will ultimately get sick of one another. We’re working on it. Until then, my heart swells when “N” comes to play with Liam. They play together so well. Liam looks up to him, calls him his brother, and I love it.
Bottom line, there is always room for hope. Even a bully can become a buddy!