Small Z is no longer much fazed by big groups of kids in, for example, a kindergarten situation. She’s also not bad in situations such as one we had last week – waiting at the health care centre, she went into the kids section. There were quite a few kids there. She bowled up to one who looked around the same age and said, “What’s your name?” The other kid, as they inevitably do unless they are a little older, just looked at her mullet eyed and said nothing. Small Z looked at me questioningly. I couldn’t help myself and said, “Oh dear, maybe she doesn’t have a name…”
Oops. Anyway. It’s her ability to even ask someone their name that I’m in awe of. I was stupefyingly shy when I was a Small. Would not speak, answer the door, answer the phone – hated groups of unknown kids. Myself and SWWNBB spent a large chunk of our childhoods hiding behind my mother’s legs, snuffling into denim or corduroy.
I desperately wish for Small Z to avoid that. It is paralysing. It plagued me pretty much all the way to the age of about 20 when I began to play proper gigs and also interview people for my radio show. I think I finally shed it after I had Small Z – because I felt then like I could do anything and front just about anyone. But enough about moi…
Today we had our second ever proper playdate with someone we have met at playgroup. The mum, whom I will call Jacinta, has a super-verbal and confident two and a half year old, and a baby about two months younger than Small DB. It was lovely to see Small Z and the two and a half year old sharing swings and trampolining, breaking away to do things on their own, and then coming together again over playdough or their plates of fruit.
She gets very little of actual one-on-one interaction with other children outside of a group situation. This time and the other time we had another little girl her age over for a playdate I was so happy to see her just getting along and enjoying having company. For all her confidence and tallness and awesome vocabulary that makes her appear older than she is, she is easily intimidated by other kids who get in her face. But with the two different little girls that we’ve had over, a few months apart, there has been general harmony and an easiness that makes me sigh with relief. Because she was relaxed, I was relaxed and not poised for meltdown-a-rama…
Also, Small Z gets to see me taking a semi-break from parenting and chattering away with someone my own age – something that is fairly rare. We have people visit now and then, but rarely just one person. So that is good too – learning how older people interrelate, swap stories and generally natter.
What was great about today is that Jacinta and her two kids live in the next street. Oddly, they turned up with an identical Sophie giraffe (a present to Small DB from her uncle), with their baby wearing an amber teething necklace…just like our baby… and their baby was also in cloth nappies. It did feel as though we were beginning with a fair bit of common ground!