I recently posted about how Mo passed up a special trip with Daddy and me to hang with the babysitter. Yesterday we had the opposite experience.
I took him to play on the inflatables at the Y yesterday afternoon as a special treat while Curly and Dad napped. As soon as we got there, he took off. There were lots of kids jumping around the bouncy house and racing through the blow-up obstacle course. Mo was in heaven.
I hung back with the other parents, as we collectively congratulated ourselves for finding a (free!) way for the rug-rats to burn some energy in the dead of winter. Mo yelped and ran and bounced and laughed.
But then something changed.
He kept asking me to run the obstacle course with him. Or bounce with him.
If it was less crowded, I would be out there in a second. I've done it many a time.
But it didn't feel right to take a spot in line away from another overactive 4 year old - and make all the other kids wait in line just that much longer so Big Mama could have a turn. So I explained as much to Mo.
But he kept coming back. And back.
And then I figured it out.
There was a group of boys there, just a little older than him, who were all friends. I watched Mo ask one of the smaller guys, "Will you be my friend? Will you play with me?"
The kid said, "NO!" and gave him the cold shoulder.
Not easily deterred, Mo asked several more times, garnering the same reaction.
Now Mo is a very energetic, sociable guy - but I could see in his little face how much it hurt to get shunned by these older kids.
So I said, "Hey Kiddo, let's race on the obstacle course!" And we did. Over and over.
Yep, I was the only grown-up out there. And yes, I made the other kids wait in line while Mo and I bounced and bopped and slid. Boy did we have fun.
Afterwards, we just had to stop at Culvers and get ice cream - they had waffle cones on sale for a buck! I figure I need to take advantage of these moments now, while he still wants to hang out with his mama.
11 months ago