The Middle is one of my favorite TV shows to watch, but I haven't had a chance to catch up on some of the episodes. Today I watched an episode about the youngest son Brick who wants to be like everyone else and have friends. Brick has always been a little different than everyone else. He is very solitary, has vocal tics and repeats the last word he says in a whisper sometimes. He is even in a class to teach social skills. I am not sure what grade he is in, but in this episode he wants to go to a school dance. The parents are hesitant because they know he doesn't really fit in. Brick asks for advice on how to make friends. The parents suggest looking people in the eye, actually talking to people and to maybe put down the books more. As they are talking, he stands up and walks away with as he states an idea he has. Of course, there he is not behaving in a social way.
Brick actually makes it into the dance, and the parents sit outside in the car worrying about how it will go. They aren't even sure if they should leave. The dad even says he is a quirky kid. The parents arrive home only to receive a text to come and pick him up. The parents arrive and Brick texts he is fine, but then he soon comes out and doesn't want to talk about the experience. Brick has also lost a shoe in the process. The show ends with a girl coming over to bring Brick back his shoe. She looks like she has some social issues too, but she invites him to go get ice cream. Brick thanks her, declines and then slams the door. Of course, mom intervenes and tells him that she just asked him out. Brick grabs his jacket and runs to the door to get her. The show ends with the parents sitting outside the ice cream parlor receiving texts from Brick and wondering how he is doing.
As a parent of a quirky kid, I so appreciated this episode. Elijah is the quirky kid. He doesn't always say "HI" back when another student or adult says "HI" to him. He doesn't always fit in and I am not sure if he really has any friends at school. He doesn't care what other people think of him, at least other kids anyway. He is just out there doing his own thing. As a parent I just want to fix this for him, but I can't. All I can do is try to find ways for him to be around other kids and see what happens. We went to the library yesterday and he hung out in the Teen Room while I worked on grad school stuff. He played some Wii games with some other teens. I am going to start taking him every week so he has a chance to work on his social skills. It just isn't easy knowing he is the quirky kid and knowing all I can do is provide him with opportunities and practice with him as much as I can so he knows what to do when around others.