When I went to get N from his religious school class today, two girls from his class came running up to me.
"If it's OK with T's mom, can N come with us for a playdate this afternoon?" C asked.
N was looking at me intently.
"Sure," I said, only to feel N start slightly. Clearly, this was not what he'd thought I would say.
As the girls ran off, I looked at him. "You don't want to go?"
"I don't know," he said, immediately whiny, which immediately makes me annoyed. "I might be scared."
I took a deep breath. T's house is somewhere N has never been before, and I know that new environments are tough for him.
I tried reasoning. "You know how, when we finished reading Wonder, we talked about how Auggie's mom made him go to school even though he was scared, and you said that that was just like you, and you usually are happy I made you do something?"
"I think you need to do this, honey."
"But…" He took a shaky breath. "I just don't feel safe about this. I want you to go with me."
And there he had me. Because we've talked, before, about how he has to trust his instincts, and that while he should usually try things he feels scared about, he should NEVER do something he feels isn't right, or isn't safe. And that I will never make him do something that he thinks isn't safe.
The question, of course, is whether he really didn't feel safe, or whether he was just so scared of going in a strange car to a strange house (although with people he knows perfectly well, including the parents) that he pulled out the one phrase he knew would trump any plans I might have had to 'force' him to try something new.
In case it's the former, I dropped the subject, and told the mom (and the girls) that he was too nervous about going somewhere new; the mom suggested I bring him by a little later.
So now we're home, and I'm making him wait a bit, but then I'll probably drive him over there for a while, let him get used to the house while I'm there to keep him 'safe,' and see how that goes. Even though I have a majillion things to do for Passover tomorrow, and even though I sort of want to scream.
I can't decide if he just played that well, or if he truly advocated for himself well. I guess, either way, I sorta gotta hand it to him. As I find myself doing more often than not. He's smart, that kid. Smart and safe.