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age appropriate

yesterday afternoon we took paul to a park. we thought the weather might be decent for kite-flying.

the kite (big elmo on it, by the way) went up and down, along with paul's interest in it. the string wasn't long enough for it to go very high, but it was plenty long when the kite hit the bushes. paul ran and jumped around, shouting out requests for cam to hit various trees (and me) with the kite. when cam would hand him the string, he'd fling the string holder just to make cam run after it.

toddler one: elmo!

toddler two: kite!

girl: look at the baby trying to throw the kite in the air!

after maybe 15 minutes, cam started to wind up the string because paul clearly wanted to play on the slides instead. other toddlers were disappointed, but ours simply could not care less.

off cam and paul went to the playground area. i stayed behind to wind up the kite. an excited boy (who, we later learned, was about the same age as paul) ran over to me. "kite! kite! kite!" he practically shrieked, dancing around me. his mother laughed from several yards away. "don't touch, buddy, don't touch!" then he turned around and headed back towards the slides.

paul meekly said hello to the boy, who was very matter-of-fact in his return greeting. we exchanged pleasantries with the boy's mother. she commented on the smallness of the park and the toddler-unfriendliness of the playground equipment (which is totally sad because there were nothing but toddlers playing there). paul wanted to do everything that "buddy" was doing, but was more than a little freaked out by the experience. this other boy slid down a pole with ease, used a big boy swing without fear, climbed boldly up wavy ladders. paul hesitation-stepped his way to just about everything, chickened out the second time on the pole (much to cam's relief), fell off the swing. turned out this was the first time the other boy had used such equipment. we would have never guessed.

when we left, paul was pretty grumpy, but it was nothing compared to the other boy's dismay. he cried and screamed. "that boy crying," paul said, pointing.

it's funny. paul loves adults. he gets along well with grown-ups and loves to show off for them... but put him next to someone his own size and he just freaks. something about little kids scares the crap out of him. at the carter's store on saturday, a slightly bigger boy came to play at the lego table where paul was playing, and cam had to keep paul from getting up and running away. i once saw a video of paul playing at a park near other kids and you could practically feel the discomfort pouring out of paul's ears. he needs more exposure to little guys and girls his own age. he really does.

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