One evening a couple of weeks ago, we were invited to a baseball game with a group of people I work with. It was a kids-allowed function, so we smeared some sunscreen on Alice, packed her into the stroller and crossed our fingers that the funny-charming toddler would prevail over the cranky-tired one. It’s always a little risky at the end of a weekday.
When we got to the ballpark, three boys were rolling down a grassy hill along the right field line : a 5-year-old and 6-year-old twins.
When she’s not at day care, Alice spends almost all her time with adults – with us, or with our friends. She’s easy with grownups, most of the time. But she can be slow to warm up to other kids. David tells me that when he drops her off in the morning, the day care supervisors remind the other children, “Give her space. Let her have her space.”
She needs to stand back awhile, to size things up before she is willing to jump in. (She is like me in ways that don’t seem possible).
But those bigger boys rolling down the hill? She wanted in on that in a way I’ve never seen from her. She wanted to be where they were and to do what they did.
They were kind, and they were patient. But they were not interested in a 2-year-old girl. Not even a little bit.
And that was OK because she was too young and too happy to have any idea she was on the outside.
It happens more often now – but it still catches me by surprise – to see the glow of her admiration land on new faces.