"You can't do that to my son."
"Why? Is he a bad kid?"
"No, of course not. He's just really sensitive to touch. That probably hurt. That's why he kicked you."
The other day I was at a birthday party with Flynn - his friend was turning 5.
Side note - on the way there, Flynn told me his friend was turning 6, because they had already had a party at school earlier in the week for when he had turned 5. Good logic, but a poor grasp of how long a year lasts.
The birthday boy's family was large and gregarious: lots of demonstrative affection. The bigger kids were constantly hugging, carrying, and rough-housing with their younger siblings and cousins.
It was nice to see, but completely foreign to my familial culture, which is . . . I want to say . . . a bit puritanical? It was also scary, because of how Flynn has always reacted to unsolicited and unexpected touch. Sure enough, near the end of the party, the kids lined up to do something fun and Flynn was behind an older cousin of the birthday boy. The boy was excited, turned around and grabbed Flynn hard by the shoulders, jostled him, and got a kick in the shins for his trouble. Would have been a lot more serious if I hadn't intervened immediately.
We get a lot of tour groups here in the center of DC. I see these 10 year old boys horsing around, roughhousing. I don't know if he's ever going to be able to handle that. If he knows the kid really well, he might tolerate it. But not right now.
I don't know how he's going to survive middle school.