The playground is such a blissful place for a three-year-old: a boundless play area, obstacles galore, swings out the wazoo … and other kids.
Unit is what you’d consider an outsider, just like his old man. He’ll casually observe others’ behaviors before determining if he should or should not “befriend” said other. There’s nothing wrong with his thought process…he’s cautious and careful in who he wants to run with, and I appreciate that about him. It shows me that he can make sound decisions on his own (most of the time).
Here’s how it goes when we decide to make it a playground day:
- Arrive at playground
- Remove boys from the car, wear G-Unit
- Runs amok (by himself) for 20-25 minutes
- Grab a drink of water
- Scan the playground for other kids
- Decides which kid seems like “friend” material
- Follow said kid around like a tail for a few minutes
- Allows said kid to follow him around like a tail for a few minutes
- Runs over to me when he can’t find his “friend” and asks where his “friend” is
- Finds “friend”
- I remind him that when G-Unit starts crying, it’s time to go home
- I tell him to go ahead and play some more
- Asks me where his “friend” is
- Immediately finds his “friend”
- Continues to run with said “friend”
- After at least an hour-plus with his “friend,” it’s noon, 12:15p (time to leave)
- G-Unit begins to remind us that it’s time to leave by beginning to cry/whinny/grab at my face with his fingernails that need trimming
- I remind Unit that it’s almost time to go, reminding him that it’s almost time for G-Unit to eat/nap
- He throws his arms up in disgust/anger
- I cave, allowing him three more things to do before we leave
- He comes back to me after completing all the activities
- He sulks and follows me to the car
- Unit asks, “Is my friend gonna miss me?”
- I reply, “Yes, but maybe we’ll see them again next time we’re here. What was his/her name?”
- We get in the car, buckle him in, and head home.
Sounds about right for a three-year-old, except for the fact that very, very rarely do they actually engage in conversation, which I’m guessing is also normal for a three-year-old.
What I’m trying to say here is that Unit has made progress from when he was in his two’s. Back then, he would never have approached other kids and make an effort to play. Progress is the name of the game, right?
He shares without any issues or the “this is MINE” nonsense, he doesn’t push or punch any of his “friends,” and he’s genuinely upset when he leaves them for the day. He’s a caring, compassionate and has an obnoxiously inordinate amount of energy. And he’s one hell of a kid.