Spring has sprung, the weather is getting nicer, and after school our court is flocked with children. We have a good mix of ages and the older kids are great about looking out for the younger ones. It reminds me a LOT of my own childhood… growing up in suburbia. Munchie loves being outside and running around with the neighbor kids. We’ve upgraded our outdoor toys since last year, so he can hang with the neighbor kids and play the same games. (Insert scooter, super soaker, and Nerf guns here.) There’s a little group of kids Munchie has started hanging out with, which makes my heart melt into a ooey gooey puddle. From chalk and hopscotch, to strapping on their helmets and riding around the court… they always seem to play nicely together.
When you reach the age where your child can form friendships on their own, have conversations with other kids, and make his own friends… well, it’s amazing. I’m certainly a proud momma as I watch him play and learn about sharing and interacting with other kids. Since he’s in school all day, I don’t get to see much of this anymore.
Oftentimes, he’ll ask if he can go play at so and so’s house. He’s been doing this sporadically since the Fall… and I have always accompanied him. I’ve gotten to know the other parents on my street… and now he can go on his own. He gets sooooo excited! Last week, for the first time… the kids got to come play at OUR house… and I seriously thought my child might pass out from excitement. “Mommy, my friends said they can come over and play!” The kids ran up to the playroom and I heard laughter and giggles and toys smashing around. I heard the toy box opening and closing. I heard everyone checking things out, getting comfortable with the space… but most of all, I could hear the excitement in their voices and happiness in the squeals of my child. He was elated to have friends over at HIS house… playing with HIS toys.
Since that day, Munchie has wanted his friend to come play each and every day. I keep reminding him (as do the kids) that it’s nice outside and that’s where he should be playing… at which point he asks for his chalk or scooter or other outside toys.
As a parent, we watch out children grow in so many ways. Physically, they obviously get larger and are capable and more aware of their movements… able to control their bodies a bit better everyday. Mentally, they learn about the world around them… language, culture, processes, etc. Socially, they learn how to interact with others… which is when I get all the feels (unless he’s acting like a punk… in which case it’s a “time out time” kind of feeling). Seriously though, watching my kid make friends is the BEST feeling in the world. Sure, I want him to excel physically and mentally… but ultimately, I want to raise a good human… and that means practicing those social skills. Being an only child, we rely on friends to help us do that.
This post is dedicated to the neighbor kids who come and play, those who chase Munchie back home when I just don’t have the energy, the older kids who help keep him out of the road. Thank you to the parents of our neighbor kids who monitor play, discourage kids from kicking balls at my house and car, and encourage their children to play outside… creating an awesome community culture on our street. Also, thanks to the moms who share conversation and wine while we watch our children grow into awesome people together. #suburbanmomlife