The Prickly Kid

Last year, The Boy made friends with a kid whose mom described him to me as “a bit prickly.” Let’s call him Prickly Kid. The Boy is pretty good at making friends–he is a good talker, and a pleaser. He gets shy sometimes, and once in a while he has a conflict with another kid, but mostly he gets along with everyone. And for that, I am grateful. The Girl already has a frenemy, so I know things are going to be a bit rougher for her when she starts school.

But back to Prickly Kid. Sometime in the late fall, Prickly Kid’s mom, who is not even remotely prickly herself, sent me a very sweet email saying she was so grateful for The Boy being a good friend to Prickly Kid because he can be, well, a prickly kid, and would we like to get together for a play date. And of course I said yes, because how sweet of her to like The Boy! When she suggested we go to an indoor play space that has a restaurant/bar attached to it, I knew she was one of us.

And of course, we had a delightful time and drank wine while the kids ran wild in the indoor play area. It was awesome. Here I had a new friend to drink wine with, and Prickly Kid, who had trouble making friends, had The Boy, and The Boy had Prickly Kid, and everyone was happy.

Every classroom has a Prickly Kid. The Boy told me just this morning that there is a new kid to the school who is a Prickly Kid, who is in his class this year. I asked The Boy if he would be willing to hang out with New Prickly Kid, and help him settle in, and he said he would think about it.

The thing is, you don’t have to be a Prickly Kid to have trouble making friends when you are new to a school. Shy Kids have the same trouble, as do Frightened By Change Kids, Sensitive Kids, Kids With Autism, Kids With Unusual Names, Fat Kids, Skinny Kids, Kids Who Climb On Rocks…you get where I am going with this. It is hard being the new kid, period.

And it isn’t easy for the non-new kids to integrate a new kid into an existing social circle. The Boy was worried about how his existing friends would react to him inviting New Prickly Kid to sit with them at lunch. The Boy is awesome, but he isn’t some superhero who can overcome all peer pressure and say “fuck it, I choose kindness over fear” every time.

But the stakes are much lower for me as a parent. For me to email another kid’s parent and say “Hey, play date sometime?” is waaaaaay less scary than it is for The Boy to ask a kid to sit with him at lunch. Which is why I will be emailing New Prickly Kid’s mom to see if they would want to do a play date with us. Because, that is what I hope someone would do for me if my kid was the new kid in school.

I don’t often ask you, dear readers, to take any action, but I hope this post will encourage you to reach out to the new kid’s family to see about a play date. Because welcoming newcomers to our community is the right thing to do. And besides, maybe New Prickly Kid’s mom likes wine too.

I had an awesome dream

This post is a total non-sequeter, but I had the coolest dream the other night when I was all chemo’d out. I was at the Oscars, except, they were honoring TV shows, not movies, but it was definitely Oscars people were getting. I wonder if that’s my brain’s commentary on how TV is becoming way more interesting and with better story-telling than movies?

Anyway, at the start of the event, there were tables like at the Golden Globes, like with people eating dinner and getting drunk, but halfway through it turned into theater style seating. And my seat was next to Meryl Streep, who I ADORE. She was looking gorgeous in a red corset gown and she was eating a bag of potato chips. The producers of the show could hear her bag rustling and were like “WHO THE FUCK IS EATING POTATO CHIPS DIDN’T WE JUST FEED YOU DINNER THAT BAG IS TOO LOUD” so she surreptitiously dumped the chips into a bowl under her seat and kept sneakily eating them. And I turned to her and quietly sang “Did you ever know that your potato chips are my hero?”

And without missing a beat she said “They are the wind beneath your wings. You want some?” And then we were best friends and we drank wine and laughed at the reality TV stars that were getting awards while she anxiously waited to hear if her project was going to win…but I woke up before we found out.

Meryl, if you like wine and potato chips, as a scene in Postcards from the Edge suggested you might, and cheesy references to Bette Middler songs, look me up because I think we could be kindred spirits. Also, I really hope you win your TV Oscar someday.