My friend Chrissie is watching her nephew who is four. We’ll call him “O”
for short. My six year old was off from school today so on this very rainy day
we took them to one of those warehouse type places with giant climbing
structures, bounce houses, blow up slides and games that spit out tickets to
trade in for junk. It was free token Thursday so we ended up doing some of that
stuff even though we likely would not have paid for it. There were three other
kids in the entire place and two boys joined up with ours for a bit of cops and
robbers. I love the way that happens. The way that kids just come together and
run around and have fun and that’s it. No names, no arguments, just fun.
The one play structure was pretty tall, the kind with the tiered
squares, cushiony mats and netting leading to slides twisty and straight. O was
kind of nervous about getting too far up in it. He would go halfway and then
come back down. My son was all over that thing, trying to figure out how to
access the biggest slide. As O tentatively entered and exited the structure, my
son was trying to gently coax him and encourage him to climb up. He was telling
him that he was doing good and at one point told him to give him his hand and
he would help him up. As a mom, it was the exact behavior that you yearn to see
from your kid; the ability to see that someone needed help and support and then
providing it. By the end of our time O was tagging along with my son to the
very top and sliding down the highest twisty stripey slide.
Next was a trip for pizza. O has a reputation as a picky eater. My son
does not. We ordered some garlic knots which if you don’t know, are pizza dough
twisted into knots and doused in butter and garlic. Tremendous. When the knots
came my son dove right in. O said no way. I said these are delicious. Chrissie
said these are delicious. Then my son said these are delicious and the next
thing we knew, O was reaching over into the knots and grabbing one and eating
one. It was fun to watch someone else want to be like my son. Watch my son be
the big guy. The guy that the little kids look up to. Of course he had no idea.
All he knows is that he likes to play with O just about as much as O likes
playing with him.
After dinner, back at home, I told my son that I was proud of how he
had acted with O today. Proud at how patient he was and the fact that he was
willing to help O out. He is only six but hopefully this bodes well for the
direction we are going. Too soon to tell; likely, but I still get the warm
fuzzies thinking about my guy today. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best.