Monday, May 22, 2017

Insightful

Kailey has always had very deep insights into herself and the people around her, and that continues.  She has had some conflicts with friends at school recently.  I think this is inevitable at the end of the school year, and particularly at such a small school where your options for simply ignoring certain people and finding others to play with is quite limited.  There are only 6 girls in Kai's class, including her.  It can be tough.

But, Kai is very thoughtful about the dynamics.  She told me that she and Leanna fight at least once a day.  Mostly because Leanna gets quite upset when Kai doesn't do as Leanna wishes, and it causes fights (I realize I'm hearing about the conflicts from Kai's perspective -- but, this one seems to hold true).  Kai was describing the relationship to me the other day and said that when she first met Leanna, it was like being at the beginning of a long rope. She said, "it's so exciting.  I am just so excited to have a new friend and everything is good and everything is happy." Then she said, you start walking across the rope, the way you go deeper into a friendship, and there are little snags and breaks in the rope.  It gets harder to walk.  Sometimes you fall off. But, she said, "you just want it to be good -- so you keep going.  Even though the rope has a lot of breaks in it and there's a lot that's not good anymore."

She's nine.  NINE!  I marveled at her description and how apt it was.  I can so relate to that excitement of meeting someone that you hit it off with and being so thrilled to have a new friend.  And, the inevitable disappointment and conflict that come in any relationship.  It was so interesting to listen to her think through relationships and how they change over time. 

And, she doesn't give up on her friends.  She got in a big fight with Ava on Friday and came home and wrote her an apology and made her a key chain for her backpack.  She wants to work things through.  Although, she definitely has her own stake in these disagreements and a strong point of view, she seems to care about reaching reconciliation. 

When Leanna drew on an art project that Kai was working on (Kai had invited her to help -- but then was not pleased with what Leanna ended up doing), Kai was fuming and said, "she very well knew that I didn't want her to draw on the parts that were erased.  She very well knew."  It cracked me up to listen to her fume, hands on her hips, talking like an old lady.  But, then when we talked it through, she came to the point that maybe Leanna hadn't known.  And maybe she did feel badly.  She comes around and thinks things through and is open to other viewpoints.  After that initial fuming period -- Kai definitely has a temper and when it blows, you have to wait for her to calm down before getting to that point of introspection.

But, even with that, she knows that she can blow.  She was supposed to do a reading project with Lucas at school the other day and neither of them wanted to read first.  Kai suggested they do rock, paper, scissors to determine who should have to go first.  They did and Lucas lost and, upset at the loss, still refused to read.  Kai was upset about that and they got their teacher involved.  Her teacher agreed they had figured out a good way to resolve the issue and asked Lucas if he had another idea to determine who should go first.  He didn't, and so her teacher told them to go forward with Kai's plan and walked away.  And, Lucas still refused to read.  Kai said, "I was mad, so I walked to the door and took 3 deep breaths.  I tried to calm myself down, but my anger overruled me -- I couldn't stop it -- so, I went back to Ms. Standart and she told us to just read separately." 

Her anger overruled her.  It's the same way she described her anger getting the best of her when she was 5 years old.  But, unlike that 5 year old that would lash out physically, Kai now just resorts to telling or stomping or leaving the situation.  But, she recognizes that anger in her and knows that she has to get past it.  And, once it's gone, she is so good at analyzing the situation and figuring out what to do differently in the future.

It's hard growing up.  Watching her grown up and navigate these difficult relationships can be so painful at times, and makes me think of my own struggles with friends and relationships.  But, Kai has that deep sense of justice, of fairness, and of reconciliation.  She also knows how to look within and make amends.  She's a big personality -- but, having introspection helps to temper her personality, at least in those quieter moments when the conflict has subsided. 

She reminds me of myself in many ways -- I wrote so many letters to my mom and others after a conflict.  I was always trying to sort things out and figure out what made myself and others tick.  But, I don't think I was quite as introspective as she was when I was nine.  I remember most of that coming after my car accident when I was 12.  Kai has always had this deep understanding of her emotions and the ability to articulate what she's feeling and thinking.  It's a remarkable gift. I love listening to her sort out the world and people around her. 

It might make for some rocky teen years -- but, it may also be the key to getting through those years.  She feels things so deeply, but has the analytical ability to make sense of those very deep feelings.  It's a good combination. And, I'm excited to see where it takes her.

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