Thursday, May 17, 2007

Turnaround

Ever since Jack has had a playgroup, Sam has co-opted it.

Jack and I joined a MOMS Club playgroup soon after Jack turned one. Since Sam was 2 1/2 at the time, he obviously came with us. None of the other moms had older kids and Sam, at his giant toddler age, seemed loud and boisterous and a wee bit insane. At first I tried to bring activities for him that would keep him busy while the babies played, but that didn't work very well. Fortunately Sam enjoyed playing with the toys that the younger kids had.

Aside from my anxiety about Sam's (very normal) two-year-old behavior and the disruption it caused, things went well. The other moms were really nice about Sam's presence and, ahem, enthusiasm, and although I felt a little like they must have thought, "Oh my God, that kid is out of control!" eventually time caught up, their kids turned 2 1/2, and their munchkins did the same things Sam had done. Of course by that time Sam was four and had entered a whole new level of craziness, but you can't win 'em all.

Anyway, Jack never really graduated past parallel play with these kids. And I am lucky to get that. Most of the time he'll play quietly by himself and the rest of the kids will play something else. And Sam? Sam is kind of like their ringleader. He has all kinds of ideas and plans, and seems to think that Jack's friends are his minions. And most of the time they seem happy to follow his lead.

We still refer to it as Jack's playgroup and I, very intentionally, call them Jack's friends. We invite them to Jack's parties, but not Sam's, although in all reality they are as much, if not more, Sam's friends.

Today Sam got his comeuppance. We brought one of Sam's friends home with us from school today for a playdate. When we do this, sometimes Jack will try to play near them and be rebuffed, sometimes he plays near them and is ignored, and sometimes he ignores them.

Today he played.

We were downstairs and Sam's friend, Jack, and Quinn were in the ball pit while Sam happily built a Tinkertoy machine. At some point I started to hear Jack giggling hysterically. I took note of what was happening and found Jack fully engaged in play with Sam's friend. Granted, Sam's friend was hurling ball pit balls at Jack's face, but Jack was throwing back, grinning, and laughing. And when one of them really hurt, Jack said, "Say you're sorry."

!

That is me being speechless.

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