My Comfort Zone Ends at my Front Door

February 29, 2008

You would be so proud of me.  Yesterday afternoon, PJ was awakened prematurely from his nap by a guy working on the neighbor’s cable right outside his bedroom window.  When I went in to check on him, he was hiding behind the blinds watching the action.  Even after getting him up from his nap and getting his snack, he kept hovering by the windows on that side of the house to watch.

After a little while, the neighbor came out with his two youngest boys.  Of course PJ thought that was cool, and the three boys kept playing through the window.  It was cute but kind of sad to watch my son interact with his peers through a thick piece of glass.  It felt like the ultimate of social deprivation to me, to make him play with other kids only through a window.  There was no real reason he couldn’t go play with them.

So I put his shoes on him (and pants, which were off yet again), grabbed BabyN, and the three of us went outside to socialize.  Do you have any idea how far out of my comfort zone this is?  The neighbor makes me a little uncomfortable (it was the husband, not the wife), and it’s tough keeping up with PJ while I’m holding BabyN.  But I knew one of the best things I can do to help PJ right now is expose him to other children his age.

We didn’t stay out too long; all that standing while holding a huge baby was killing my back.  But PJ got a good half-hour of playing with other kids.  It was very interesting to watch.  The older boy was about 4 and the younger one about 15 months.  PJ was almost the exact same size as the little one, except that he’s much skinnier.  In some ways, they were more similar, especially in their verbal interactions–or lack thereof.  Yet I was also able to understand better how PJ scored so highly on social skills.  He got along great with the four-year-old, the two acting much like peers anytime language wasn’t involved.

It’s funny how much more I learned about my little boy by watching him interact with other children, other than his little brother.  The other times that has happened, he was in the church nursery or something, where I wasn’t actually present.  It also made me start looking for things I can do with PJ and BabyN to encourage such socialization that won’t take me too far out of my comfort zone.  And yes, I do believe we’ll be looking into a preschool or Mother’s Day Out sort of program for the fall.  Yikes.  It’s hard to believe we’re already ready for that!