As far as I can tell, Graham is not destined to be a social butterfly. And that is fine, obviously.
Because he’s not shy and I’m not worried about him being shy anymore. In the last several months he has moved beyond shyness (and I’ve moved beyond worrying about his shyness) to what can only be described as indifference. Or maybe contempt.
My boy is not a joiner. And perhaps he gets that from me, but it is still just a little disconcerting to see him, at the tender age of barely three, roll his eyes and smirk when other children his age gather together to sing and clap and listen to stories and do normal things that, you know, normal three-year-olds enjoy!
Just last week his babysitter confirmed my experience at every playgroup we have ever attended.
“He plays alongside the children, but he doesn’t like the group stuff at all. It’s strange because I know he loves to sing and dance, but as soon as everyone starts singing or dancing together he gets really uncomfortable, almost like he’s embarrassed.”
You don’t say?
At the playgroup we frequent, Graham is happy to play alongside children and even takes a marginal interest in them and what they are doing (especially if they have a toy he wants, but that’s another story).
But when the group activities start? When everyone comes together in that age-old symbol of unity, the circle? When the thin, off-key, but nonetheless heart-burstingly-sweet voices of his peers fill the air?
Graham purses his lips into a half smile, widens his eyes, and glances around, as if in disbelief.
“We need to go now, mommy.”
At first, I always resist and try to get him to follow my enthusiastic example. I lean forward in exaggerated breathless anticipation or merrily sing or clap or stomp or do whatever damn thing the other kids and parents are happily doing.
But Graham always tilts his head and looks at me with a smirk and an expression that I swear borders on pity.
“We need to go home, mommy. Now!”
And suddenly his smirk makes me feel a little self-conscious myself, what with my bad singing and my child’s abject refusal to play along and the wry, pitying glances of the parents of all the future prom kings and queens whose bright and shiny faces reflect their common rapture.
“He’s just not a joiner,” I offer. And then we get the heck out of there.
Nope, I don’t think Graham is destined to be a social butterfly.
Should I commence worrying that he is destined instead to be a lone wolf or, worse, a jaded, cynical hipster?