Saturday, May 21, 2011

Annoying Friends, and a Sleepover

Safety Guy had his friend E. sleep over last night.  He knows E. from school (they're in the same classes), and they're in Boy Scouts together.  During the course of the evening they had pizza, played on the Wii, watched part of a movie, went for a bike ride, and had a water gun fight.  Then they moved on to more snacks, wrestling, YouTube videos, computer games, more Wii, crashing Matchbox cars, building with Magnetix, and finally watched a Wallace and Gromit video and some Loony Tunes before crashing for the night.

In that time, 5 1/2 hours of total togetherness before bed, E. managed to get totally on Safety Guy's nerves, multiple times.  Now, getting on Safety Guy's nerves is pretty easy.  He has a pretty rigid comfort zone, and doesn't like randomness and unpredictability.  His friend E. has ADHD, and is randomness personified.

Amazingly, they're still good friends.  E. always apologizes when he pushes Safety Guy too far (which is almost daily, I gather), and Safety Guy gets his boundaries stretched and tested by his friend E.  E. doesn't seem flapped at all when Safety Guy loses his cool, and Safety Guy (eventually, with encouragement) apologizes for losing it at E.  Hopefully, E. is learning that sometimes his behavior needs to be thought through or modified to not bug others too much, and Safety Guy is learning that friendship is a give and take relationship - he has to compromise sometimes.  It's good for both of them.

One thing I really enjoyed was just listening to the guys interact.  It's so rare for Safety Guy to have a prolonged interaction with one person, and the ebb and flow of normal conversation and friendship is still a bit of a novelty for him.  A couple times during the evening he sought some space away from E., who didn't mind at all and happily went out for another bike ride with Princess Yakyak. I had to intervene a few times, telling E. that he really did need to back off (E. isn't very good at recognizing that "enough!" really means "ENOUGH!" coming from Safety Guy - that's the ADHD in action), and reminding Safety Guy that he really did need to be considerate of his guest's preferences too.  Compromise - that's such a tough thing for Safety Guy to get his mind around, but we walked through it without a meltdown.  In fact, now that I think about it, there were no complete meltdowns by anyone last night, just a handful of sticky moments.  Thank you, Lord, for an easygoing, forgiving friend for Safety Guy!

Another thing I was amazed by was the amount of physical contact Safety Guy put up with from his friend.  He's never been a rough and tumble kind of kid, he's never liked wrestling or any contact sports, and he has a very low tolerance for people being in his personal space.  To see him wrestling with his friend was fun (especially since his friend is half a foot shorter and at least 50 pounds lighter than he is, and still pinned him easily - if Safety Guy really put his muscle into it, his friend wouldn't have stood a chance).  They also were in close proximity while watching videos, when usually Safety Guy prefers to monopolize the whole couch and be left alone.  His friend has much less sensitivity to personal space issues, obviously, although he's not intrusive about it with adults.  I think I was finally seeing normal adolescent guy behavior at close range.  (I come from a family of 4 girls - brothers/boys are terra incognita for me, as far as living closely with them and seeing how they interact.  Whoa, are they different than girls!!  My husband says I just saw a slice of life with boys, and commented that Scout camp outs were just like this, multiplied by the number of guys participating.   I don't think I'd survive the testosterone overload if I went with them.)  It sounded like a herd of elephants rampaging in the house, in and out the doors, up and down the stairs, and through the yard, when it was just two 12 year old guys and a 9 year old girl.

The boys stayed up until midnight, and serious quantities of snacks were consumed.  Fart jokes abounded, wedgies happened, squirt guns were fired, video games were played, toy cars were crashed, everyone ran around a lot, sound effects and noise were everywhere, and great fun was had by all - what more could a couple twelve-year-old boys ask for?