Monday, July 28, 2014

Just a Typical Kiddo

Lately Ayden Jane has been in some settings where she is playing with kids around her age that we don't really know.  I am way better at just staying back and letting her figure it out.  It's a little embarrassing to admit, but as Ayden Jane ventured into social situations when she was younger I would often get embarrassed for her or worry about her getting her feelings hurt.  I didn't give her much credit (or the other kids for that matter).  I almost had to either not watch or run interference.  The whole experience would make me uncomfortable.

This summer Ayden Jane has had lots of experience in settings where she joined a group of kids playing.  Swim team was one of them.  I did tell the coaches at the end of the summer how great swimming has been for Ayden Jane and clued them into some of her challenges developing muscle and with motor planning.  That was basically because I wanted them to know how much they have helped her.  The other kids know nothing.  They just accept her for who she is and she has made a good friend a year older.  They both want to swim year round together.

Then this week at the neighborhood pool Ayden Jane joined 3 kids playing with their uncle.  Since we live in a resort area, there are often kids we do not know at the pool.  Ayden Jane struggled to understand the game they were playing and she did not do a great job maintaining personal space with the uncle, but I just let her do her thing.  It struck me that in the past I would have looked at her awkward attempts and been uncomfortable but now I just let her go for it.  She does figure it out and fit in before it is all said and done.  She is kind and tries hard and that's really all the other kids need to find a way to get her in on the games.

Last night there were 2 of her friends as part of a big group of kids playing sharks n minnows in the deep end.  Maybe 10 kids total.  Ayden Jane joined right in (she was close to the youngest) and took her turn being shark when tagged with no complaints.  It took a few extra explanations of this particular groups variation of the game, but she got it.  She swam and played with the pack for two hours!!  One of the boys (2 years older) even attempted to teach her how to do a flip into the water.  It was very cute.  He is the youngest of 3 and was totally enjoying being the big kid teaching AJ a cool trick. 

Now I am not saying that there are no differences between Ayden Jane's social skills and the other kids.  I think, though, that her social skills are better than I give her credit for at times.  She is just a bold spirit so she will speak up when I would shy away.  She will ask questions if she doesn't understand even if it has already been explained.  Then other times, she just feels like playing by herself and will choose not to play with others and disappear into her imagination.

So, I have been doing some of my best parenting this summer by letting her stretch her wings by playing with whoever she wants, or not.  Letting her find her way into the packs of kids.  Mom has been on the sideline watching Ayden Jane grow up!

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