It's official, Katie's in love. With TWO boys, no less. When we moved to our new house, I was a little dispointed to find that all of the babysitter aged kids on our cul-de-sac were boys. That was before I met them. Or rather, Katie met them. The boys who live down here are awesome and really great with little ones. They happily let Katie play with them and patiently respond to her full volume hollering at them to play this or that (repeatedly). When we, in a rare twist, made it home before dark this evening, and she saw a group of them playing outside (three middle school age boys and two littler ones), she reaaaally wanted to go play with "my friends." So I let her go and she happily roughhoused on the neighbor's lawn with them for 45 minutes or so.
I found myself debating several parenting dilemmas. Do I stay outside with her because she is three and she needs to have adult supervision? Can I leave her outside with the boys who, while responsible, are not necessarily taking responsibility for her? Would they think to send her inside if they have to go in? Does she know to get out of the street when a car comes yet? We haven't practiced that much since our old house wasn't conducive to street play. Do I intervene when she apparently has no idea how to play with others, despite being in daycare? I pondered these questions as I huddled on the porch in the freezing cold this evening. I did go inside for a little while when we first got home but I kept getting nervous and looking outside for her. Fortunately, in a group of 5 boys, she was the only one wearing a bright pink coat. I'm not used to there being an outside for to her play in quite yet, especially a front yard/flat cul-de-sac/flat driveway so I'm not yet sure how much freedom I can give her. I also didn't know if I should intervene when she did stuff that I thought sure the boys were going to get frustrated with her about. I finally gave up and went outside but limited myself to huddling on the front step while she was in the neighbors yard. I cringed when she started repeatedly hollering at full volume, "ALEX, COME PUSH ME INTO THE POLE." They were playing a pushing game. (I decided to have a conversation about play/pretend pushing and real pushing this evening. We will need it if she is going to hang out with the boys on our street a lot.) Fortunately I heard, "No, I'm not pushing you into a pole Katie" in return. She hasn't figured out things like listening to her friends and playing with others is still kind of iffy. I really tried hard not to get involved so that she would have a chance to learn social skills without Mommy getting in the middle. It was hard though. Just one more thing I have to think about and get used to as she grows up to be a big kid.