Give and Take

December 9th, 2011 § Leave a Comment

Last night around 5:30pm, my son and I were on the front porch while I dug through my purse in search of house keys. We’d just gotten home from OT, and an 8-year-old boy from down the street, one who plays with my son from time to time, had also just arrived home from school. The two boys had had a playdate last week that had gone well, and I’m guessing that’s why the other boy came over to say a quick hello.

My son returned with a “Hi” and, in his classic style, proceeded to talk “to” his friend, telling him what he’d done that afternoon, showing him the shield and helmet he’d made in art class. The neighbor boy is used to these one-sided conversations, and listened to my son’s “Guess whats” and responded with interested “Whats?” with impressive patience.

Then there was a pause in the dialogue.

And then my son came out with these four magic words: “How are you doing?”

All on his own.

Might not sound like a big deal, but for a child who rarely considers or notices how other people are feeling or even acknowledges they have their own emotional experience, it was breakthrough.

While I wanted to jump up and down and praise my son for this amazing social step, I stuffed down my excitement as the other boy replied, “Good!” and let their conversation unfold, two little boys checking in, figuring out how to be with each other. A little give and take. A little piece of normal.

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