I'm trying something new...more frequent, shorter, and less edited posts.
B, who was establishing himself as so so very shy suddenly pulled a 180 on us. Now he's downright gregarious. Not just talking constantly to us, which he's always done, but obsessed with meeting new people. Everyone, from the 1 year old at the playground to the guy delivering our pizza gets "What's YOUR name? My name is B!" Its so fun to watch, though sometimes (for us introverts) a bit uncomfortable. Not every sullen old guy on the bus wants to talk to him, nor do people who are briskly walking by want to say "HI!!!!"
Last weekend we went to a nearby small park. There were two families with a few kids apiece there together already. Four of the kids were older than B, 4-5 years old. B was playing happily in the play structure when one kid yelled "Hey D, lets play hide and seek". Well never mind that we had never seen or talked to these kids, B heard "D" as "B" and his eyes lit up. Mommy I'm going to play hide and seek. I thought he meant with us---he loves when I crouch behind the slide and he "finds" me and gets a big hug. But no, he wanted to play with the older kids!
They ran to the other end of the yard and B trailed behind yelling "Where are we going!" repeatedly. Finally one of the kids turned to him and said "NOT YOU! We don't know you!"
Ugh. G and I looked at each other and cringed. My heart just about broke for my friendly yet sensitive little guy as all the exclusions of my past (and present) rushed back to me.
What do we do? Tell him not to talk to strangers or to play only with the kids we know? Remind him that not everyone is a "friend" despite that our words over the years have led him to believe that "friend" simply means "child close to his age"? Explain about nice people and not-so-nice-people?
Well, he's only 2. He didn't even notice what they said, and he ran around with them for a few minutes and came back to play with us. We didn't have to say a thing. For now.