Planning the BIG "0-8"

In less than a month my baby, Zachary, will be turning the BIG Oh, Eight. It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Zachary has had a hard time making (and keeping) friends since kindergarten. For his birthday in kindergarten the whole class was invited (NEVER AGAIN) - most came, but there were no bonds between he and any of the other kids.

He doesn't get invited very many places and when friends come over they tend to fight about what to do the whole time. I thought part of it was the "first born" complex (while Zachary isn't technically a first born, there is such an age difference between he and his older siblings it can seem like it). Or maybe even the "only child" complex - once again, there is a huge age difference between he and his older siblings and with Andrew the dynamics of the sibling relationship are so different. Many of the kids in his age group up here are only children or first born.

I also think that some of it has to do with he and his friends being left to their own devices. When we plan things out and they have structured activities there is a whole lot less fighting - they know what they are doing, there are fewer choices to get hung up on. But I also don't want to be the parent that is overly involved with her kid's life - I need to find a happy medium.

Then I thought it might be a boy thing - boys tend not to make as many lasting friendships as girls do and when they do it is later in life (at least this is what the school guidance counselor tells me). And I do remember that my brothers were very much the same way at that age (but I also remember it being heart breaking for me to watch my brothers not playing with other kids - and Alex tells me it was heartbreaking for him too).

None of these thoughts make it any easier on me when my little boy comes home and tell me that he played alone on the playground. It breaks my heart to think of my baby wandering around the playground all alone every day. His teachers tell me that they don't see any problems and that he seemed to be getting along with other kids just fine, but he tells me otherwise.

Anyway, over the past few months Zachary seems to have built a pretty good friendship with a boy in his class. They would talk on the phone for hours if I let them. Most every weekend they get together. While there are aspects of this relationship that I am not fond of (and will not discuss here) I push them all aside because my kid had a friend and that is all I care about.

On February 8th my little man is turning 8. I have been thinking very hard about what we can do with a couple/few kids that is inexpensive but still a lot of fun. Last year we took he and two friends bowling and out to lunch - it ended up costing us over $100 - I am not interested in spending that much. When we invited the class over in kindergarten we did tie-dye shirts which was a lot of fun but there were too many kids (and it is February so this is all indoors).

This year I am hoping for lots and lots and lots of snow so we can go sledding, we will do personal pizzas with English muffins, and we will do tie-dye. Since we are doing tie-dye and I want the kids to be able to go home with completed shirts it will have to be a sleep over. Have to? Well...I guess we will "have to" see about that one.

I told him he could invite two friends...then I remember that it was once told to me that a friendship of three isn't easy. You end up triangulating the friendship and, often times, two kids are getting along just fine and, accidentally, leaving the third out. But fours kids seems like a lot to me and now that I have told him two I can't go back on that and have only one...

I think that I may be over thinking all this...this is just a kid's birthday party, right? When does parenting get easier? When will I stop over thinking things and just do it?

I remember when a friend of mine was pregnant. She is a vegetarian and was feeling guilty about maybe not getting enough protein for the baby. I told her, "Welcome to motherhood. The guilt starts now and it never ends."

Why is it that we never feel that anything we do is enough? I think that may be a rhetorical question. I don't think there are really any answers for that.


Christine said...

ERica, you are such a great MOM!!! It is so hard. I too have a son who is that kid alone on the playground. Never fitting in never finding that "best pal" to chum with. AS hard as he tries he just always ends up being left out . THE HEARTACHE.. Being the oldest of 3 I though maybe it was my fault for always keeping him to myself, not doing playgroups and playgrounds. I was always with him through the preschool years so I blame myself for his lack of outside relationships now. It is so hard to be a Mom , to know that we are making the right decisions. On a seperate note I remember Zack's kindergarten birthday, REbecca had a blast!!!! You guys should have been sainted for that one. Way too many kids!!! :-) But you get an A+ for effort. I don't know if your guys ice skate, but the rink at Popwhalen is free outdoor, it is behind the lodge.. That may be something you guys could do this year? I LOVE reading your blogs!!! YOu have such a great personality!!!

Cray and Bickford Family said...

Thanks, Christine for your kind words and your compliments!

Being a Mom IS hard! I don't know how our parents did it :)

I was thinking about taking them skating this year...I haven't been on skates in YEARS!

When are you going to start your own blog???? :)