Yesterday we were out playing with the one other boy Gus's age in the neighborhood. They don't play together often because they're about as different as a bull and a butterfly. He's an okay kid, but a little 'type-A' while Gus is...Gus. So, all three kids were climbing a tree, and the boy quietly asked Gus, "Why are you so crazy?" Then he turned to MM and said, "Why's your brother so crazy? Why's he so silly? He's always talking about silly things."
I took many deep breaths. He wasn't trying to be mean, but in light of Gus's proclamation the other night about being odd, it broke my heart a little.
Gus didn't answer, but I could tell he heard and was thinking about it. I said to the boy, "He's not crazy, he's different. He thinks about things differently than you."
"But why does he talk about silly things?"
"Are you silly sometimes?"
"Yeah," he said with a sheepish smile.
"Well, so is he and so am I and everyone else, too."
That seemed good enough, but I had to get out of there. I took the kids for a walk, and then home for a chat, some reassurances, some ideas about how to handle questions like that. Don't know if I handled the situation correctly, but it was the best I could come up with. I guess we weren't going to stay in this polite little bubble forever.