Thursday, August 12, 2010

Slow down Mama Bear

I'm struggling...BIG surprise I know.

Jayden is old enough now that he is wanting to venture within our neighborhood to make friends. Although this may sound like not a big deal, I'm finding myself at yet another milestone of motherhood.

On the one hand, it's nice because he's getting to the age where he can entertain himself with riding his bike or playing in the backyard. However, slowly we are reaching the point where he is now in the front yard riding his bike in the cul-de-sac and visiting the neighbor kids.

On the other hand, I find myself a bit worried. I hear all of these horror stories about kids being plucked right out of their neighborhoods by kidnappers and I've used the crime watcher website and know there are 3 sexual predators within 3 miles from our house, one of which is just around the block.

The next worry I'd like to share I have to be careful of because you never know who reads your blog when it's public, but I'm still not sure how to handle some things. There are several kids on our block who don't look the same as Jayden. One little girl is really nice and loves to ride bikes with Jayden and they seem to play well together. There are two older kids who don't like to play with Jayden and it's obvious. I've heard them telling Jayden to go away or call him names. He's already told their mom to make her kids be nice to him because all he wants to do is play. I'm nervous because I find myself watching out the window thinking 'Are they being nice?' 'What are they saying to him?' 'Why are they riding his bike?' What do I do if they tell Jayden they don't want to play because they look different? Is it because they look different or is it because they just really don't like Jayden bugging them?

I wish I could be a fly on the wall to ensure the kids are nice to him and it makes my maternal instincts kick in to think someone is being mean to my son. If they are, do I talk with their parents? At what point is it just kids being kids and I should just leave it. I know there are many lessons ahead of Jayden in his life and that all I can do is stand beside him, to be there for him as he learns about the world ~ the good and the bad. The urge to protect my kids keeps getting stronger as they get older and it's no longer just protecting from illness or falling while learning to walk and kissing the bumps and the bruises better. We're heading into the tough waters of emotional hurt caused by others.

I know Jayden is a social bug just like his Mom and he loves to have friends and do things to impress them. Whether it's offering half of West Point a Popsicle from our freezer or sharing his bike with everyone..one thing is for sure he loves to have friends to play with. I just hope that he finds good friends along the way and learns that those who don't love him for who he is are not worth the time and self doubt they sometimes cause.

Just when I think I have the toddler stage down, here we go into adolescence and the curves that come with learning social etiquette. I just have to remember to put on the brakes when it comes to protecting my child, to keep telling myself:

Slow down Mama Bear...he'll be ok.

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