Today, we went to the park after dinner. This particular park is one that is close to home, but we don't go there very often. No particular reason; others are more convenient to walk and Blue Slide is the destination for driving. This park is under construction right now, because they're installing a spray park, so we will probably be going there reasonably often this summer.
There were two older boys playing at the park while their dad watched. They were six and seven, maybe eight. Those two boys took an immediate liking to my boys, and they played together for the hour that we were there. It was really nice to see! It feels like, so often, I'm complaining about the other kids in the park or am entirely indifferent to the other people. We do such a great job of trying to give our neighbors space that our children feel uncomfortable or indifferent about speaking with each other. Their dad was a cool guy, also, and was very kind to me and to the boys.
The Boy is at an interesting stage in his development. His vocabulary is pretty amazing, considering his age. He understands an awful lot of words - not surprising, as both of his parents are intelligent, well-read, and speak accordingly. His speaking skills, however, are not quite there yet. His speech isn't well-defined, and I wonder if his hearing affects that. So, when he talks to other kids, I am always a little concerned that there's going to be a translation issue. There doesn't seem to be one most of the time, so it's entirely possible that my over-analytical ears are merely making something out of nothing.
I'm certainly trying to give him plenty of room when he starts playing with friends and meeting new people. While I want to help guide him and to accelerate his social development, I also understand that his social sense will develop faster by socializing with other kids without me hovering over him. I figure that the best thing that I can do is to watch from a distance, making sure that things stay positive (and he doesn't, say, try to play the hitting game with a bigger kid that doesn't quite get it) while remaining close enough that, if he feels that he really needs me, he can find me easily.
He surely doesn't need me standing on top of him, guiding every thing he does and says. That won't help him and will likely do more to irritate him and accelerate teenage annoyance. I already one that his teen years are likely going to be challenging; he has enough physical issues that he likely will feel more awkward than normal. The last thing he needs to feel like I'm more overbearing and controlling that I actually am.
Still, it was nice to see the other boys being so kind and to see The Boy actively and engagingly playing with others. By the end of the time, The Boy was even riding down the slide with the other boy! It was very cute and a Kodak moment, which of course meant that my phone wasn't working. (It was working. I just didn't want to turn off the baseball game.)
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