Aside from his cousins, which he just see when there is an occassion, he has a playmate named Harry, a neighbor, 2 years older than him. He dont have much options as other kids are too old and big or too young, in harry he found the perfect mix to hang with.
Most afternoon If he hears Harry’s voice or bike outside he would hurriedly ask to go out and immediately scamper out the door. This is a very enjoyable momment for him, as all playtime for any kids. It is during this time that you can genuinely see him enjoying his play. Normally, he just play with adults like us, his tita, lola and yaya. but playing with kids his age provides him an outlet for his boundless energy, other than the physical benefits of play, he will also begin to understand the importance of friendships.
But yesterday just like in many previous days, when he went out in front of the house hoping and waiting for Harry to go out and play with him. After a few momments a group of big kids knocked on harry’s house and called harry to play with them. Harry answered the door and saw him, Kenzo’s face lit up when he saw his only playmate but instead of playing with him Harry went with the other kids and not him. Harry just told him, “I will be back”. from inside the house I can see his disappointment as he is again left alone without a playmate. This is actually the first time that he was left out, all the time his bestfriend will prefer to play with him than others, but unfortunately not this afternoon.
Kenzo stayed outside bringing his bike, scooter with all hope that Harry will soon come back to play with him. But after a lot of minutes he is still alone, then harry and the group of bigger kids came, I can hear him laugh again but that happiness did not last as harry and the other kids left again after just a cuple of minutes.
In most of this time I am just inside the house and I am just listening and passively observing him. I dont want to rescue him by giving him a new toy or bringing him to the mall, as I want him to learn on how to deal with this frustration. I honestly cannot stand to see him dejected and alone, I just stayed inside hidden and not watching him. I even thought about going upstairs and watched TV, totally isolating myself than see him wallow in his pain this way.
Seeing your kid wanting to play but his only playmate prefer to do other stuff is gripping for me, I am sure other parents would feel the same way. This momment is a learning experience for me as much as Kenzo’s, it brought me back when I was a kid and how I choose those who we play with and those who are not part of the ‘circle’. I remember as a kid (because I am 2-3 years older, I once get to be the leader) I have a power to exclude and include playmates, usually bratty, spoiled ones are excluded. I also remember is some occassion where I see other kids happily playing and really wanting to join.
So kenzo waited and waited, maybe for about 45 minutes already, around this time I asked him to walk and go where other kids are playing. He reasoned that Harry will be back. I said, he might not play with him and not be back. He gotta look for other kids to play with or go to harry’s group and hopefully they will asked him to join. After a few convincing, he went, as I tried to watch him go and observe what will happen. The playarea is a few meters away and I can barely see Kenzo, I can just see that no one is really minding him as others dont really know him. It is his first time to reach out to others. Then after a few moments I can see him walk back the house sad and realizing that he dont have a playmate—and this is a very sad part for me. It is surely one of the worst feeling there is, I can feel his frustration and defeat and it is really very tough and probably harder for me than to him. His strides are heavy and head low, I can almost feel him ask “Why dont anyone play with me?”
By this time it is getting dark, I asked him to go inside and told him the truth that Harry ain’t comin’ back, then he cried and wail. I tried to reassure him but it is all for naught, as his young mind still cannot quite grasp the whole thing.
Once inside we talked for a few moments, pep-talked him about what happened. I tried to cheer him up but I myself need a cheering up as I feel very sad and surely sadder than him. Then lo and behold Harry entered our open door and immediately played with him. Then I can see him smile again and hear is sweet laughter. I left him with harry and let him enjoy his momment with his bestpal.
UPDATE: And just about a week after the sad episode above, Kenzo got new friends to play with. It came quite as an accident and I was not even there when it happened ( I went out to buy milk of Liam), I just saw him in the middle of play.
Now it is a bit different, unlike before he only play with Harry but now he can join others in a game.
Kenzo loves action ( kinda violent variety ) games using guns and sword, goodthing for him other kids decided to play war games and since he has an arsenal of swords, laser guns and rifles he got to join, he suddenly was welcomed by other kids because of it.
He still tag along with Harry and probably will not be playing with others if he is not there, he is his ticket to be able to hang out with his new ‘playmates’.
It was a fun game of guns and sword fights. It was an escalated war between two group of kids. They gambol around, hide, shoot and pretended to kill each other. While I would wannna watch, I choose to stay inside and so I can let him learn to interact on his own, learn and have fun without me hovering around.
Kenzo is the youngest and other kids who lead the group maybe is around 10-12 years old, while he is only 4, the problem I am quite sacred about is other kids can take advantage of him by getting his toys (just what I used to do with others when I was young, I borrow/steal toys). I know there is a chance that one may be tempted to borrow his toy and not give it back, since he is too young to protest or even take note who he lend his toys to. So, what I have been doing now is just let Kenzo bring out cheap toys and keep the expensive and hard to find ones inside.
Overall, It is a welcome change that he gets to spread his wings and hopefully this will lead him to be socialable, friendly, and enjoy the goodness of friends.