It’s a question I always make a point of asking my Eldest son after he has spent a day at nursery. I have always asked it, I even tried some of the more specific questions about who he liked playing with today, or what the best thing he did today was, but the most detailed response I have ever had was “I played with the boys and the girls”.
The last two times I have asked him I have received what seemed like a 10 minute monologue of his day’s activities. He spoke so quickly about what he had been doing I could barely follow, but there were a few key words I picked up on and asked him about:
- I did the volcano loads of times!
What? This warranted many more questions from me. It turns out he loved a model volcano they had set up made out of ‘play doh’ and he had made the ‘recipe’ of ingredients lots of times to trigger it off. He couldn’t quite remember the recipe, but agreed with me when I suggested it might have included baking soda. I have to admit to being very smug about this, I am at heart a scientist and for him to show this kind of interest really made me proud!
- My Friends
Me: Oh, what are your friends’ names?
Son: Dad, I’ve told you this before! (He hadn’t specifically, but I did know a few he had briefly mentioned before if intensely questioned about WHO those boys and girls he played with were)
Me: I know, but can you remind me of their names please?
Son: Lists off many names of boys and girls, mostly ones I was familiar with but some new ones.
- She wouldn’t let me play.
I asked him about this, it turned out that he had asked to join in a game that a group of girls were playing, but one of them (who he named – one from his friends list no less) said he couldn’t because it was “only for girls”. I was about to ask him about that when he followed it up by telling me that once that girl left the other girls let him join in, and he went on to tell me about the game. Which seemed to be a numbers game surrounding their ages – they were all 4 so I’m not sure how exciting it was, but at some point pressing buttons was involved and money coming out of the bank (which had a stuck drawer that he tried to fix but couldn’t)…
Something has changed in my son of late. His nursery pointed out last year that since he came back in September that he has been a lot calmer, but at home we hadn’t really noticed any significant difference until recently. He has simultaneously become more grown up – having proper conversations, engaging in activities and showing proper facial expressions with genuine smiles if he catches our eye – and more likely to cry to get attention if he hurts himself even slightly.
At first I thought this increase in crying was a bit of regressive behaviour because it was quite attention seeking/needing, which in his playing we’d been trying to gently discourage with some success, but then I considered it a little further. This is a boy who once fell flat on his face, scraping it up with a nasty graze, and didn’t make a single fuss. When he hurt himself, he only sought attention once we had approached him to tell him he had hurt himself and he realised we were being sympathetic, but that initial notification came from us not from him. Now, he’s letting us know when he’s hurt, so that has to be PROgress, not REgress, doesn’t it?
Either way, things are changing for him. He starts school in September, we have seen him develop so much in the last 18 months for the better, and we think he is ready, but most importantly he is looking forward to it.