Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mean guy on the Playground!

We took Caed to a playground the other day to let him get out some energy and have interaction with some other kids. There were about 5 kids playing in all: a couple younger, several older. We noticed that Caed stayed on the lower level playing with the younger kids (2 girls- my little ladies man). We encouraged him to go up to the top to do some of the activities and he did. He was looking down at us from one of the windows and yelling "Hey guys! Look at me! I am up here!" at the top of his lungs. Two of the older kids (maybe 6 or 7 years old) ran by him and one of the boys yelled "Shut Up!" We watched for Caed's reaction- he looked at the boy like "that wasn't nice", looked at us, smiled, and then ran back down to the bottom section of the playground. In a few minutes, I saw the same kid sitting with his legs across the entrance to the lower section where Caed and the girls were playing. Caed walked up to cross and the boy told him that he couldn't go by because he was too young to play on the playground. Again, it took everything in us but Patrick and I waited to see Caed's response before we intervened. He look shyly at the boy and ran over to us. Patrick walked over and told the kid to let Caed and the girls by, to which the kid said no. Patrick asked where his parent/guardian was. He pointed him out so Patrick went over and talked to him. The grandfather said something to the kid and play was resumed by all. After a trip down the slide, the same kid came back over to where Caed was playing and started spinning around in circles doing karate kicks in Caed's direction. As Patrick approached the situation to intervene, the grandfather called for the boy to leave since he wasn't being nice!
I was so emotional, finding it so hard to watch unkind things happen to my little guy and knowing that I couldn't really protect him from it. I could keep him safe but I couldn't protect him from the experience. Sometimes I wish we could just wrap our kids in bubble wrap and hide them from the world. I am learning that it's our job to be beside them in those experiences, love them through it, protect them to the best of our ability, and teach them to deal with a sometimes unfriendly world- even at 2 years old. Caed is much more resilient than me. He resumed play like nothing had ever happened, spending the rest of his time on the fun activities at the top of the play scape that he had not been able to enjoy earlier. That night he even prayed for the "mean guy at the playground."