It’s no secret that I’ve tampered with Munchie’s pool of friends. (Evidence here and in a couple other random posts I’m too lazy to dig around and find. Don’t get me wrong… I tried… I know they exist… but three minutes was my search limit… because we have a play date in 45 minutes and… #priorities.)
When I was a Stay at Home Mom, I had the ability to pick and choose which play groups we participated in, which story times we attended, which kids I wanted my itty bitty, super precious, adorable little drool monster to hang out with. Not only did I have to like the kid(s), but more importantly (since most of the kids were just floppy little babies, anyway) I could be hella picky about the other moms… because let’s be honest… this was pretty much my only adult interaction (aside from my husband) and I wanted to find a group of friends… not just people I could tolerate.
***Quick note to the awesome play group that meets on Fridays – we don’t hate you… you just meet during our nap time… and you go hiking… and we weren’t really up for that (because I refuse to carry my child through the forest when he suddenly can’t walk and starts rolling around in dirt… and you might judge me for leaving him there to be raised by wolves).***
Jump to last summer, when I was losing my mind and decided that Mommy returning to work was in everyone’s best interest. (Oh my gosh, I am 99% sure I just heard angels rejoice.) As much as I love my family, we all needed a bit of space to grow and truly thrive. (Seriously, going back to work was one of the best things I could have done for our family. I still support every kind of mom, but if you are staying home and feel completely lost… please do something about it! Your whole family will be happier!)
So, off my kid went… with his giant dinosaur backpack and matching lunchbox… tromping into his new school… where Mommy wouldn’t be able to meddle as much in his social interactions… and he would be free to form relationships with other kids on his own (which was slightly terrifying… but also exciting).
In the beginning, these friendships looked more like parallel play… playing next to, but not really with, another child. Now, these friendships have developed into something incredible… and it makes me want to cry (happy tears).
Yesterday, I went to pick Munchie up from school. I got there as his class was about to head outside. Instead of scooping him up and heading home, I sat at a picnic table on the playground and watched him interact with the other kids. He was playing WITH his friends. They were playing chase, kicking a ball back and forth… and the other day, I even saw he and a buddy on the seesaw (of course, he would let his friend get up in the air and then jump off, laughing as his pal plummeted to the ground… but the other kid was laughing too, so meh).
It also seems like he and his friends plot against the teachers a bit, acting like hooligans, sneaking around the playground to have mulch fights while teachers aren’t looking. Munchie has been coming home with mulch in every nook and cranny… dirt under his nails… and absolutely exhausted from playing. (The dirt is evidence of fun and I love it!) On the way home, we talk about his adventures… the kids he played with (sometimes the kids he needs to apologize to). At night, Munchie likes to read us books and often substitutes character names with the names of his friends.
Yesterday, another mom told me that she took her son grocery shopping and he started loading the cart up with jelly beans. “Dude, what are you doing?” He simply responded that he wanted to give the jellybeans to his friends (specifically naming my kiddo and a few others) because he wanted to make them smile. *gush*
Watching this kid grow is an awesome blessing. Watching him create his own little world, surround himself with incredible friends, and THRIVE… well, there are no words. (Except the 700 words I just graced you with. You’re welcome.)