I said this once. To people. Potential new friends, and a few existing good ones. I don’t know if anyone took offense. But one person in particular was so impressed with me that we spent years of our lives together after that. I suspect this one late-night announcement wasn’t the entire foundation of our relationship. But we aren’t together any more, so it very well could have been.
I’m positive The Child can identify with this sentiment. Today we met up with a nice crowd of our play group at an open gym. I was having myself a fine time. But the littlest ‘ski was having none of it.
The crescendo of emotion was disruptive enough that we went outside the gym to chill.
We took some deep breaths, and tried reframing his airing of grievances. “He went first down the mat when I wanted to be first,” eventually became an authoritative, “Well then I will make the choice to PLAY with him or NOT play with him if he goes first all the time!”
I gave him the chance to go back inside to his friends.
He said, “That’s okay. Let’s go.”
I get it, son. You’ve always been this way. In the days you could only turn your head, you would turn away from circle time. Then you’d start to crawl, or move to nurse when it was time to transition from free play to organized play. But your friends and their parents notice that you’re greeting people now. And we all noticed a couple weeks ago when you invited two play group friends into the hot tub. You’re getting there.
While we made our exit, The Child suggested we go to a certain park. I had low expectations of success, but we were close enough to give it a try. When we got there, not surprisingly, the park was empty. He suggested we wait in the car for others to arrive. I explained that today is cold and windy. Five inches of snow are predicted to arrive tomorrow, and today might be the last time to come to this park all winter.
We got out of the car, and had fun, alone. We even laughed.
I know that one day he will understand both these desires: being around others and being alone. I hope that I he can continue to articulate these needs. The tough part right now is showing him what it takes to be around others. That’s probably the tough part for most of us, at any age. Especially for those of us who can say we would rather be where other people are not.