On Growing Up

Making friends 1Today it is sunny and nearly 70 degrees, so we went to a huge park in San Jose with our friend, Larah. While there I had the opportunity to watch Ruthie pursue friends for the first time. She started out by playing around them, kind of on the sly, but they went away from her. When I came toward her to take a picture of her climbing, she totally blew me off and hovered near this group in their new location.

Making friends 2It was fascinating to watch my baby girl making such big girl bold moves, and my heart ached at the idea of her growing up. Also, she’s normally very shy around other kids at the playground near our house, so I was totally enthralled as I watched her creeping closer and closer to the group. She was motivated and determined and moved so cautiously, and I hoped they would include her.

making friends 3She continued to hover over and around them for quite awhile, until she finally sat down in the sand next to them and began to build her own pile next to theirs. At one point she placed a stick at the top of their pile as a flag, and the one girl took it off, saying, “No!” Then Ruthie began to add sand to their pile as they were doing, and they seemed to let her do this. I was really impressed that she was playing WITH them, and not antagonizing them like she often does with her friends or her brother, by knocking piles down or otherwise spoiling their fun.

At one point she tried poking holes in the side of the pile with her stick, but the other kids told her to stop, and they brushed it smooth again. Two more times she tried adding poke-a-dots, but they wouldn’t have it.

In the midst of this observation I surprised myself: instead of being irritated that she was antagonizing them, I began to consider that maybe she was just trying to be creative and decorate the sand pile, and that maybe all those other kids were just really boring in their design strategy because all they wanted to do is just sit there and look at a normal looking pile of sand. And then I swelled with pride that my brave girl approached a group of unknown kids, pursued them despite their initial brush-off, and then tried to make the world a better place by adding stick-flags and poke-a-dots.

Did I mention that vacation has been good to me?

More photos here.

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