Aria and Miles were playing outside late yesterday.  Aria was running around in the sprinkler and Miles was milling around following bugs on the concrete and avoiding the sprinkler at all costs.  Two kids that just moved in a few houses down came down the sidewalk on their bikes.  The little girl immediately started talking to Aria.  Aria responded to her a little but just kept telling her about the sprinkler.  The little girl finally asked how old she was, which commonly happens since Aria is as tall as most 5-6 year olds and is often confused for being older.  I told the little girl, Noel, that Aria was 3.  They went back down to their  house and came back saying that their mother said they could play down at our house for 1/2 an hour.  I was a little surprised that this mother had no idea who we were yet she was fine with her kids playing at our house.  The litle boy, who was probably about 8 hung around, mostly to keep an eye on his little sister. 

This was so wonderful for Aria.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have any real friends.  Last summer, when she was 2.5 she played with our friend's son who was 5 so they really had little in common accept that Aria was his size and they would run around in circles outside.  

I was absolutely enthralled watching Aria interact with this little girl.  Aria was a late talker so hearing her communicate so effectively with a child older than her was so special.  I also found the whole thing heart-warming.  I really cannot describe exactly why...I think it is the same joy I will find watching her play sports for the first time or seeing her on stage in a school play.  I have been given the task of preparing her, and Miles and Liviana for these social interactions. 

At the same time that it was a joy I was also worried...would the little girl like her, would she understand what she said, would Aria be left happy or sad from the interaction?   As I continued to watch them play Miles was in one of his moods of crying at the slightest thing.  He was hysterical a couple of times and sat on my lap pawing at me wanting to be nursed.  I suddenly got worried about him.  Would he outgrow his sensitivities?  Would other kids want to play with him or would they avoid him?  I can't imagine seeing one of my children in pain after being rejected by their peers.  I can now understand a little more why my mom always called the other parents when they had hurt her little girl. 

One interaction left me particularly interested about how Aria would handle things as she grew to learn the realities of the world.  They were playing in the driveway with a stack of Barbies Noel brought down since my poor deprived daughter did not have any.  As Brad passed by, Aria said, "Where is your daddy, did he go bye-bye".  Noel paused before saying, "I don't live with my daddy".  Aria responded with "Oh, I live with my daddy".  I was saddened for Aria to have to learn at the age of 3 that all kids don't live with their daddies even though the conversation left little impression upon her at this point.  I was also saddened for little Noel for having to share that piece of information,at the age of 5 to a new little friend down the street.  Kids shouldn't be left to carry such heavy burdens from their parent's decisions.  

I'm sure Noel and her brother (Everiss) will come down and play again.  Aria talked all night about how she liked her "friends".  I am so excited to see her growing up and interacting on a real social level with other children.  The entire evening left me realizing even more how important it is for us to prepare her, and our other children, for all of the joy, fun, sadness and reality of life to come.  

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 1:37 PM

I love watching Lilly making friends at the park. But she's already had one social rejection--this little girl was playing with her and they were having a lot of fun. Well, about twenty minutes later, she grew tired of a toddler tagging along, I suppose, because she snapped at Lilly not to go with her anymore. Lilly just stood there, watching her, confused. She understood what the girl was telling her, but clearly not why (I didn't even know why) and I think she was wondering what she did to get rejected. I felt so bad for her, but I also knew a 4-5 year old is probably going to get tired of a non-verbal 19 month old who--despite not understanding her games, was still trying to play them (hide and seek for instance). Thankfully, Lilly shrugged it off and went to play by herself (being only 19 months, interactive play with other kids isn't common).

And another day, a little boy walked up to Liilly and started shoving and hitting her. Lilly just stood there and looked at him, clearly wondering WHY he was doing that. He was younger than her, but I wasn't mad at him--I was mad at his parents. Immediately, they were there, hitting HIM right in front of her and THAT'S when she got upset. I knew why he was hitting my daughter--his parents answered that before I could reach her to carry her off. I just wanted to hurt THEM for being so cruel to their baby that he became cruel to my poor little girl.

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