Will has recently just started to really enjoy playgrounds. He loves to climb up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs. Occasionally the slide or the swing get a look in but at the moment it's mainly about the stairs.
And other kids. It's just me at home all day so Will doesn't get a whole heap of time with other children. Since going to the park on a regular basis we have both learnt about other kids. Will thinks they are all wonderful and is desperate to play, interact, talk and share. Me, on the other hand, I'm not so sure. I think they are all horrid. Well not all, but most, definitely the majority. Basically any that don't belong to my friends!
It's an experience all parents must go through and not one I have enjoyed. Seeing that kid get a little bit too close to yours. Seeing the moment their hand goes up to push them over, their face gets close to scream in their face. It invokes a protective feeling I had no idea could be so strong. I remember the first time I felt it. It was when I took Will for his 8 week immunisations. Watching that nurse stick those needles into my baby and seeing him cry because of it made my skin crawl with rage. Even though my head knew that it was better than him getting any of the nasty diseases they were protecting him from, my heart wanted me to jump over the desk, wrestle the nurse to the ground, pull out her hair and jab the needle in her eye. I had never worried that I didn't love my baby, but that experience made me sure that I did.
The park is like that. If a kid gets in his face, I want to push them over. If they dare to touch him, I want to knock them out. I thought I liked kids, all kids but ones that look like they might hurt mine make me not so friendly!
Of course most of them are polite and play nicely and have plenty of time to talk to and play with my Will. But there are ones that don't want to share, don't want to play and don't want to talk to a kid that grunts and signs rather than talks. Recently another wee boy shouted right in Will's face "I can't understand you!". Oh my, it took all my strength just to say to him, quietly "Please don't shout at him".
But all the while, Will was smiling. You see, he loves other children. If they kick bark at him, he things it's hilarious. If they scream in his face, he thinks they are communicating with him. If they try and pick him up to move him out of their way, he thinks they are just being affectionate. If they run away from him, he thinks they are playing chase. And that's what I've learned these past few weeks. It's all me. The tension, the fear, the anger, it's all me. I am so worried about Will being picked on and bullied about his hearing aids I go to these parks on the super defensive. But they are just parks. And they are just kids, doing what kids do. They aren't treating him any differently than any other baby that might happen to get in their way. And you know what? They don't even notice his hearing aids.