Most of you know Taliesin is enrolled in an art class through our local art center. This is probably his eighth or ninth class with them. And he usually loves them! They have some great art projects and really encourage creativity and imagination. For some reason, this one has been a little different. We've had a few issues with him feeling excluded. And his art teacher has really been paying attention here lately, so that helps out a lot. But today, I was really watching him and the other kids and seeing what was going on. The class that he is in right now is a combination of different types of arts. Today during a dance time (not to be confused with his ballet/tap class), the kids learned a cute little dance in which the moved their hands like they were talking, flapped their arms like wings, shook their bottoms, and then locked arms with a partner and did a little turn with locked arms. It was lots of fun. But I noticed that the little boy that Taliesin was partners with really did not want to lock arms with him. He did, but each time the locking arms part came, he seemed to need a little encouragement from the teacher to do so. Sometimes Taliesin would automatically go to one of the teachers to dance that part with. When they held hands to form a circle, some of the kids did not want to hold hands with him, instead calling someone else over to take their hands. But he enjoyed it, so that's all that really matters. But these and other episodes at his art class have really made me think about "socialization." Even in kids this young (this class is for four to six-year olds), there seems to be an "in group." Most of the kids appear to know each other. The moms know each other. And those kids congregate together rather than looking at kids that they do not know or who may be a little different than they are. Granted, Taliesin does have his own ideas. He's very social. Take him to a park or a play area, and he makes friends within a few minutes. He walks right up to new kids, introduces himself, and starts playing. Sometimes kids are taken back by his outgoing nature, and then warm up to him after a few minutes. Others take to him right away, and they begin playing together, not wanting to leave when the time comes. But, at the same time, I think in a more structured, "school-like setting," for lack of a better adjective; he stands out. He cares deeply about things. For instance, today in art class, the kids made an invetion out of all kinds of knick-knacks. Well, when they were finished, the teachers put all of the left-overs that were not chosen back into a box. Taliesin noticed a rubber shark, a rubber spider, and stuffed sheep. He asked to take them, because he didn't want them to be put away. He also does not think in terms of boy/girl. Last week, the teacher assigned the kids different colors for an activity. One of the boys got purple. Another little boy shouted, "That's a girl color." Taliesin doesn't think that way. He's just as comfortable wearing his pink Dora the Explorer snowboots as he is Starwars or Batman t-shirts. I don't think other kids understand that because they have force-fed the socialization myth from the time they are old enough to play with other kids. They only understand the norm. They don't understand differences. It really is a sad situation.
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