As Ethan’s an only child and his three cousins (okkkk, he has other “cousins” as in my cousins’ kids, but I’m talking cousins as in siblings’ kids here) all live in PE, life is pretty much boring for him as far as stimulation with other kids goes. It does explain why he’s so “clingy” to us – playing on his own is no problem for him as long as we’re close by and boy does he make sure that we are! Even when we’re out at a restaurant where there’s a kiddies play area, he constantly runs back to us. Whether it’s to quickly have a sip of his juice or tell us something, he’ll come back to the table every few minutes. I’m convinced that it’s actually just to check that we’re there – any excuse to catch a glimpse of mum and dad! If he loses sight of us for longer than he thinks is “acceptable”, he’ll start
chunking crying. I’ve experienced this on more than one occasion at “Club V” at the gym. There’ll be a handful of kids, the kids will start playing with him and everything will be all gravy as long as he can see me. If I even walk out of the gate and stand at the door, he doesn’t want to play. He wants to leave. He wants to be with mum. He does try and convince me to come in and play too – so it’s not like he just loses interest in playing – but if I refuse, he refuses too.
We’ve been considering sending Ethan to crèche as a result of this
strange behavior. I think that interacting with other kids his age will do him a world of good. At this stage, we’re still undecided and we’re actually swaying more to keeping him at home, but this is also because I think that between swimming and soccer on Saturday mornings, he gets enough interaction for his little self.
There are bunch of kids in our complex that play together regularly in the afternoons. Ethan, unfortunately, doesn’t “crack the nod” with these kids as there are no kids anywhere close to his age. There used to be a little girl about 6months older than him but she’s moved out of the complex. The next child closest to Ethan’s age is 5. Now the difference between a 5year old and a “not quite 2year old yet” is massive!!! You can imagine how difficult it is for Ethan to fit into the games (and the kids to fit him in – and they have tried on more than one occasion) when 1, the kids can’t understand a word he’s saying and 2, the boys all want to play fighting games, as boys do!
Over the weekend, a new family moved into our complex right across the driveway from us. Of course, Miss Nosey Parker (read: ME) immediately noticed that there were kids moving in next door and I could see that the baby was little i.e. less than 5years old. About an hour after they had pulled up, the two little kids walked over when they saw Ethan playing in the yard and asked if they could come play. I cannot even describe the expression on Ethan’s face when they came into our yard and started playing with him. They told me that they are three kids – 7, 5 and 3 – and ended up spending most of the afternoon at our place. Their mother walked over and introduced herself and I later found out that their father and the hubster had already met.
On Monday afternoon, I got home to an empty house – Jeanette and Ethan had gone for a walk to the shop. When they got back, I was all packed and ready to go with Ethan to spend the evening at my sister’s place, and so I walked outside waiting at the end of the driveway in anticipation for him to run to me and hug and kiss me hello. As I walked out of the gate, before Ethan had even seen me, the 5 and 3year old kids ran out of their house asking for Ethan and whether they could play with him. Of course when he saw them, he ran to them rambling on and didn’t even glance in my direction despite the fact that I was saying loudly (and I DO have a loud voice, even louder than the two kids) “hello Ethan” – he just ignored me. Before he could follow them into their house, I told him that we’re going to visit his aunty and we jumped in the car and left.
On Tuesday afternoon, I needed to pop up to the shops and thought I’d pick Ethan up first as I usually do. The minute I stepped out of my car, the little boy (the 3year old) ran up to me and asked where Ethan is and whether he can play with him. I explained to him that Ethan couldn’t play as we were going up to the shops quickly but that he could play when he got back. His response: can I come with you? Ummm, no?! Anyway, long story short, we were back in 20minutes and Ethan spent the afternoon playing with him outside while the hubster chatted to the father. I cooked my dinner in peace. The house was quiet and I didn’t have to rush anything. I must admit, I felt like a bit of a spare wheel – I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself…afterall, my afternoons usually involve giving Ethan 100% of my attention. Ethan did come in and ask me to play with them two or three times but otherwise, he was happily occupied. All the other kids in the complex came around to play with the older kids and Ethan was very much part of the crowd. At 7pm, I called both my guys in for dinner, having shrugged off Ethan’s “usual” dinnertime for a change so that he could continue to have fun outside. Of course, this was followed by “snot en trane” but he’ll get used to it!!
As soon as I pulled up yesterday afternoon, the little boy came running up to my car asking for Ethan and if they can play. Ethan practically bolted out the door and ran toward the driveway with excitement when he saw his friend. I called him back to finish up what he was eating and to change his pants and in that time, the thunder rolled in and his little friend went crying back to his mother. Then of course, the weather took a turn quite quickly so there was no playing outside yesterday, but I’m sooooooo glad that Ethan now has a little friend. The fact that it’s someone in the complex right across the driveway is an added bonus. He can play with his friend and I can still keep an eye on him and hopefully, as they grow older, they’ll start playing with the older kids too.
Signing off – *happy mama* 🙂