This morning, Mae went for the last of this eight-week session of social skills training. Ms. N, the speech-language pathologist who runs the playgroup, hung back before the group started and chatted with me for a few minutes. I told Ms. N that Mae will skip the next eight-week session so that she can return to drama lessons and perform in her school’s spring play.
Ms. N said that she would like for Mae to come back after the spring show to join the next playgroup even if it means a late start. She thinks Mae has made some improvements, and needs to build on practicing boundaries. Ms. N stretched her lips into a big O when she said “boundaries.” I smiled and nodded, thinking to myself, “emphasis not needed.” Ms. N said Mae is so fun and spunky and such a pleasure to be around. However, Mae, she said, needs to learn to use words in a way that is helpful, not hurtful, and avoid blurting.
Ms. N told me that on one of the previous Saturdays Mae told a little girl’s parents that their daughter was “getting on her nerves.” It was a Saturday when Hubby was with Mae, and I had not heard about the exchange. I’ll call the little girl Tracy. Tracy was asking Mae to go with her to the play room, and instead of Mae saying something like “I’m not ready,” she told Tracy that she was getting on her nerves and then turned to Tracy’s parents and said . . . well, no need to repeat it.
Ms. N said that she corrected Mae, told her what she could have said instead. The kicker is that Ms. N said that she thinks Tracy hasn’t been back since that day, and she hopes it wasn’t because of what Mae said.
There could be any number of reasons Tracy’s family hasn’t been back. Hubby said that Mae and Tracy talked in the hallway after that day’s group ended about getting together for a playdate. This Saturday and last, Mae talked about inviting Tracy to our house or going to a park with her. So, I know that she values the friendship.
I would hope that Tracy’s parents would not be so turned off by an almost seven-year-old’s unthoughtful comment that they would keep their daughter from an opportunity to learn and practice social skills, including how to deal with social mishaps. If Tracy’s feelings were hurt beyond what was apparent at the time, I hope her parents said something reassuring to her. Maybe her and Mae’s paths will cross again, and they can go on about the business of being kids and moving on the way kids tend to do.