Growing Up At His Own Pace

My son has always done things at his own pace. He tries to do something, stops altogether and observes other people doing it, and then months later suddenly will do it perfectly. He tried to walk around 9 months, then sat back down. Just when I was thinking something was wrong, a few days before his first birthday he got up and not only could walk perfectly (no wobbling!) but he was running a few days later. He did the same with talking. He went from a few words to full sentences.

Lately we have been having a problem. I have my own theories about where this started, but that’s really not relevant. He has been terrified of other children for months now. So terrified that he would stand frozen in fear and shake if one approached him. It was getting pretty ridiculous, and we talked to his doctor who recommended that we take him to see a therapist. I haven’t done so yet because we were trying to find one that took both insurances.

Today was my friend’s daughter’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. We were invited, and she really wanted us to come, and this was basically my worst nightmare. Since we can’t spend all of our time in our house alone though, I decided we were going. We could sit outside if nothing else. We walked in and he sat down at a table and wanted a party hat. That was pretty exciting to him. He looked around. Luckily we were early and there was hardly anyone in the place at all. PHEW. Soon he wanted to go see what all of the games were. He got REALLY excited.I was happy, but still awaiting the impending doom of other children showing up. Little by little the other kids filtered in. At first he was a little apprehensive, especially when kids would just walk up and start talking to him or playing with him. Pretty soon, though…

He was laughing, playing, and running around with the other kids!!!!!! In fact, he was running around so much that I had a really hard time keeping up in my heels. Honestly I thought we’d be sitting down trying not to have him panic the whole time. He didn’t panic. I did though, when I stopped to talk to my friend, turned around, and he was gone. I found him though. I found him climbing onto a ride with a child he had never met before. I heard the other kid say, “hey, want to be friends?”

I heard my son say yes.

So it seems that he has gone from a shy, anxious little boy to a social butterfly overnight. I have no idea why I am surprised. This is how he works. This is how he learns and grows. I need to have faith that he WILL learn and grow. He WILL get it. I beat myself up sometimes and blame myself because I’m a single mom. I feel like I’m forgetting to teach him something. That his life will be much harder. I need to learn to step back and let him get it himself. He will get it. He will take me by surprise one day and get it.

And when we got home? He asked to play with the neighbors’ grandkids in the yard.


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