We attended a dinner that celebrated young thespians in Westchester County recently. The Random Farms Gala included dinner, dancing, a short show and award presentations. For Peter, that meant loud music, times he would have to try to sit still and stay quiet and a room filled with many girls all dressed up.
I wanted him to be able to handle the awards presentation because his sister, Charlotte, was receiving the surprise award of the night. So I had him stay in a quiet lobby area with me while Bill and the girls watched the show. He handled the music throughout the evening but told me the next morning he was still tired because it was so loud.
The part that surprised me was that Peter, 10, noticed the girls almost as much as the music. He actually shyly flirted 10-year-old style with a few of them. When some girls close to his age danced near our table while glancing over at Peter, I wondered whether he would give them a second look. The next thing I knew, he was doing a dance move from his seat and looking right at the girls.
I had seen similar appropriate social interaction over the summer when his sisters’ friends traveled with us a few times. I rarely see Peter work so hard to be part of a conversation. He made jokes, initiated bits about music and movies and tried to join in the girl talk whenever possible. He was awkward, but the way any young boy would be around a pretty teen.
When Peter gets shy, he sometimes claps his hands over his ears. That is his way of protecting his senses from the overload. At the gala, I saw him a couple of times look over at a girl and then clap his hands right over his ears. In the past, his next move would be to turn away, sometimes even run. With the girls, he kept indirect eye contact and never stop flashing his dimple.
Social milestones have always been one of our key goals with Peter. Now as the mom of a preteen, I am not sure I am ready for him to be noticing girls right on schedule.