White Dog called him "Mr. Sensitive" and he overheard her. And he came to me wanting to know why that was such a bad thing.
I wrapped Benson's face in my palm and turned him to look directly at me. "Why do you think being sensitive is something to fret over?" I asked him. He tried to turn away. "Ben-Ben you ARE a sensitive boy. It makes you gentle and respectful of others and you are extra caring. Those are very special qualities."
I pulled him closer and snuggled his body against my legs. "The others do not always understand.your need, Sweet Boy. They bump into each other and forget to say excuse me and push past when someone is blocking the way without first asking for passage. They are not picking on you or trying to cause a confrontation, they just assume that you know it is not meant to insult or hurt."
In many ways, Benson is the proverbial Middle Child: anxious to please everyone, accepting, not demanding...often lost in his quiet patience. We must remember to check that he is included and not gently gone off to the edge of things so the other, more insistent, members of the Army can have their turn. And when he is specially called out, he looks around to make sure the others do not have a greater need.
I slipped my calm serious boy a treat...just for him.
"How about this," I proposed. "Why don't you curl up right here next to me? You can help White Dog and I work on these posters. We would love your input. Later we will call the whole Army together for treats but you can go first. Will that help make you feel better?"
"First?" he looked up. "Even before White Dog?" I looked at my other side where she rested. WD shrugged. "Even before."
"Then let's get to work," he said as he plopped next to me and turned belly up for a tummy rub.