I Wish I Could Make Friends Like a 4 Year Old

This morning I took my four year old son, Joey, to the library. I wanted to get two YA novels and they have a big room for kids to play in.

When we got in the play room, I knew we wouldn't be in there long. Joey has separation anxiety issues that stem way back from being in foster care. If I even bring up the word "school" to him, he gets teary-eyed and panics. He doesn't like to be away from me unless it's with other family members. Forget leaving him anywhere like with a babysitter, preschool or any other activity like that.

The play room at the library had tons of kids in it, and I knew immediately Joey was uncomfortable. The only way he'd play is to have me right by his side. I sat on the floor and started flipping through the books I'd found. He wanted to play with a toy other kids were playing with, but didn't want to go near them. After about five minutes of coaxing, he finally leaned over (they were right next to us) and grabbed a figure from the toy. Still, he just sat on my lap and played with that, he wouldn't move. Until...

He noticed the little boy next to use was being read a Star Wars book by his mom. Joey stared at the boy (also 4) until the boy turned around. This was their conversation:

Boy: Look mom, he's got a Star Wars shirt on.
Joey: And I have Star Wars socks, too.
Boy: I have the Star Wars video game.
Joey: I have the Star Wars video game and Star Wars Legos.
Boy: I have the Legos too. What bad guys do you get in the video game?
Joey: I'm Obi-Wan and I kill...(I tuned out at this point--I know nothing about Star Wars).

But those two little four year olds talked for fifteen minutes all about Star Wars...levels they've beaten on the game, Legos they have, books, and what happens in the movies. This was a huge step for Joey. First of all, he has speech delays, so the fact that he carried on this long conversation (and the boy understood him!) was amazing. And the fact that he formed a little friendship on his own was wonderful to watch. He's normally afraid of other kids and won't talk to them.
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Monday

I Wish I Could Make Friends Like a 4 Year Old

This morning I took my four year old son, Joey, to the library. I wanted to get two YA novels and they have a big room for kids to play in.

When we got in the play room, I knew we wouldn't be in there long. Joey has separation anxiety issues that stem way back from being in foster care. If I even bring up the word "school" to him, he gets teary-eyed and panics. He doesn't like to be away from me unless it's with other family members. Forget leaving him anywhere like with a babysitter, preschool or any other activity like that.

The play room at the library had tons of kids in it, and I knew immediately Joey was uncomfortable. The only way he'd play is to have me right by his side. I sat on the floor and started flipping through the books I'd found. He wanted to play with a toy other kids were playing with, but didn't want to go near them. After about five minutes of coaxing, he finally leaned over (they were right next to us) and grabbed a figure from the toy. Still, he just sat on my lap and played with that, he wouldn't move. Until...

He noticed the little boy next to use was being read a Star Wars book by his mom. Joey stared at the boy (also 4) until the boy turned around. This was their conversation:

Boy: Look mom, he's got a Star Wars shirt on.
Joey: And I have Star Wars socks, too.
Boy: I have the Star Wars video game.
Joey: I have the Star Wars video game and Star Wars Legos.
Boy: I have the Legos too. What bad guys do you get in the video game?
Joey: I'm Obi-Wan and I kill...(I tuned out at this point--I know nothing about Star Wars).

But those two little four year olds talked for fifteen minutes all about Star Wars...levels they've beaten on the game, Legos they have, books, and what happens in the movies. This was a huge step for Joey. First of all, he has speech delays, so the fact that he carried on this long conversation (and the boy understood him!) was amazing. And the fact that he formed a little friendship on his own was wonderful to watch. He's normally afraid of other kids and won't talk to them.
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