Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Social carnotaur

I sat on the couch reading Saturday afternoon while Simon napped and David played outside. Occasionally I would peek out the window to check on him. He was running around with a boy who is six or seven and girl who is eight or nine. I am not sure what they were doing as they roamed over the parking lot and the "island" in the middle of the lot, but it was clear that the two older kids were setting the agenda, playing with each other, and that David was floating around the periphery, participating as much as possible. I give the older kids credit for including him to the degree that they did, but he seemed to be working hard for their attention. My first reaction was pity, but I checked myself.

I have to give David props for his ability to socialize. He will walk up to anyone of about any age, befriend them, and play well with them. He generally does not overwhelm and rarely allows himself to be pushed around. We had been to the Mall playground that morning where there were many kids of all ages. Among them were four boys between the ages of 3 and 5 running around and around (and around and around). David ran up to one of them, struck his Velociraptor pose with hooked fingers, and hissed menacingly. The boy he was challenging struck a similar pose and hissed back. And they were fast friends for the next hour, running circuits, chasing, switching from game to game. Sometimes David led, sometime he followed, all the time he enjoyed himself immensely.

I don't need to pity him during those times when he tackles a larger social situation. He is happy to be on the periphery of some older kids' play for awhile, but I know he will not remain there long.

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