At his core, our five-year-old T is a caring kid.
I saw an example of this in action at the playground next to the outdoor pool we visit several times a week in the early evenings.
While I line up to get into the next hourly pool slot, T plays in the playground.
There is a zipline-like contraption that has eluded him and kids his height all summer.
He’d always stand on the ledge, reaching, jumping to grab the metal handle to no avail. Sometimes, I’d lift him up and push him across.
This past week, he was reaching and jumping for the handle again. Two other similarly-sized girls stood behind him looking up at this handle.
T then spotted a red plastic milk crate – because, of course, a milk crate would be lying around in the middle of a playground.
He picked it up and placed it onto the ledge. Stepping onto the crate, he was finally able to grab the handle and he slowly swung his way across.
When he made it across, I told him it was time for the two girls to have their turn.
He had a short fit and then I reminded him it’s nice to take turns and to share.
He grimaced and then picked up the milk crate and placed it for the other girls to have their turn. And he then went to the back of the line.
Once I saw they established a rhythm, I left them alone and went back to line up for the pool.
It made me smile seeing T problem solve and to initiate play in such a cooperative way.
Social interactions with other kids is an ongoing challenge for T. But on this day, he was a winner.
By lifting himself and the other kids up, he also lifted my spirits that afternoon.
A short while later, the pool reopened its gate and it was our turn to swim. I called for T. He hopped off the ledge on the playground and ran over to join me for a refreshing swim.