Mommy Wars: ‘Fraidy Cat

Thanks for all the compliments on the garden. The front is a mish-mash of plants I’ve collected and never really had a design. The back yard is a totally different story though. But our back yard is small and manageable. I just need a hammock back there and I’d never leave it. Well that and to get rid of all the junk we’ve collected on the side yard. Hey! At least we got rid of the toilet.

I secretly like you guys emailing me your gardening questions. I haven’t had people do that in quite some time. If you do email with questions try to include a photo of what you are talking about. It helps me as I am a visual person. I’ve told nursery customers to dig up dead plants and bring them to me before. There are some issues you can only tell if you see the roots/bark/leaves. I will admit that I did have to pull out a book or two to answer some questions. Good thing I have a gardening library above my head. Oh, and one more thing, I’m not very good at grass. Turf grass that is. I fertilize mine (organically), water it on occasion and mow it. That is it. We have a significant weed population in our lawn and a patch of moss here and there. I don’t have a golf course by any stretch of the imagination. I hate turf. If I could rip it all out I would.


I need to ask a question of you guys. This has nothing to do with gardening or (trans-fat free) chocolates. It has to do with my child. My boy is not a social butterfly. I mean seriously. Sure, we don’t get out as much as we should. The weather is getting warmer so more frequent trips to the park are a must, but otherwise many of the “gym” classes are too far away for us to drive to. I only have one friend in town who stays at home with a similar aged child. Kathou lives about 20 minutes north of us and we don’t get together nearly enough. Hey Lady! We need to fix that. So our opportunity for social interaction is a bit limited.

What gets me is what appears to be my son’s fear of other children. One would assume that since he spent 2 years of his life he would like playing with other children. The social worker and doctor in the orphanage both told us he was a pretty independent player. He didn’t really have a best friend per se. This same trend is true now that he’s here.

He doesn’t like the nursery at church, but that is suspect is because we try to leave him. That doesn’t go over so well, so we take him out. And at the playground… he won’t interact with the other children. Take for example yesterday. We went to the park (albeit a new park) and there were no other kids in the immediate vicinity. The boy happily played, but the minute another child (his same age) showed up he got off the play structure and stood away from it and watched the little boy. He wouldn’t go near the kid. Now the Zoo is a different story. There is a giant double slide at the zoo and he will hike his little self up the stairs and wait his turn.

I just find it odd that he is so timid around other children. This is a far cry from the little boy who got pissed when Chickadee would snag a toy from him in Russia and he would bust out an orphanage maneuver on her. “YA” he would yell and steal it back. Chickadee is one of the only kids he really plays with.

Anyone else’s children afraid of other kids? What did you do to help them become more social?

12 Comment

  1. Hi,

    Well, as you know, we don’t have kids yet. However, I can tell you my cousin’s son was about 2.5 when she started to notice he was timid around other kids. She is a SAHM and only played with “friends” every so often. She decided to put him in a day care / nursery school 2 days a week for 1/2 days. It worked out well for them. Now Jordan is super social and in Kindergarten. He’s thriving for sure!

    My only other thoughts would be to look for anything to do with kids nearby… library reading times, parks, kids play groups are sometimes in our local paper. Also, keep in mind that he is probably going to be just fine once he’s in school for a bit. They all seem to adjust pretty quickly.

    Take Care,

  2. Jenn says: Reply

    At his age, my older two girls went through similar, so don’t worry too much as now I can’t peel them away from the new friend they just met 10 minutes ago.

    What helped them was being able to go to the library for reading time. It was usually the same group of kids week after week and that helped them. It wasn’t long before they were the ones going up to new kids and trying to get them to play.

  3. Hi! My son is very close in age to your son and is exhibiting the same kind of behavior. I find that if I have the child come to our house (hard, I gather after reading your post…maybe a weekly playdate with the other mom, every wednesday afternoon?) then he is happy to play with the other kids. Its on his turf. He’s already comfortable with the environment and not scared about the location so he can let down his guard and play.
    Also, its perfectly natural for kids around this age to play next to other children and not with them. I gather that they need to be closer to three or four before they start to interact on a real social level. This is true for boys at least. I think girls are naturally more group oriented. Have you asked the pediatrician?
    It sounds really normal to me!

  4. Lauri says: Reply

    I think a small part of this is just his age… most toddlers prefer to play side by side but not together.. the more social stage comes in the 3-4 age range.Livi loves her classmates but prefers to play alone and shouts ” No mine!” if they grab her stuff.

    I think he remembers some mean groupa friends… Livi was covered in marks that I can only assume happened in fights with other children. I think in Russia it was survival of the fittest with limited resources/ toys/affection… maybe he is timid because when he see’s another child he anticipates having to fight it out…so he would rather avoid it all togther. thats just my two cents… I think gradually taking him around more kids…and perhaps pushing him softly out of his comfort zone will show him that this is not Russia and he is safe.

    How about making a social story book ( google social stories or email me for info)- using his pictures.. our ot did this for food issues and other issues and they really work.

  5. NEAL says: Reply

    It’s an age thing…the two year old does the same.

    Now, if “the boy” wants to come and play at the Y on a Monday or Wednesday morning to romp in the gym, the two year old would enjoy it!

    Or, we could detour on one of those days after she’s done swimming and say hello.

  6. Carla says: Reply

    Both of my boys went through this, and being a homeschooling family I was especially worried about it. While they are not having 30 kids show up to birthday parties, they do each have a good solid 5 GREAT friends each. They both can now make friends with just about any other child they meet as well. Samuel I have to watch as he’ll attach himself to any 12-18 year old brunette girl and make “googly eyes” at her (and then stage whisper to me, “Momma, she’s CUUUUUUUTE!”).

    We just kept making the effort to be around other kids, and eventually they became a little more interested in playing with them.

  7. Parallel play is pretty common at this age, some more than others. Some more extreme than others.

    And hey, who’s this other chickadee?!?!?

  8. There have been a few times when my Chickadee was really clingy and reluctant to have me leave her at preschool, which she usually loves. Those days were days that had new kids attending, stranger kids. Later in those days the talk has turned to the detsky dom. I’m guessing that the whole “group of kids” thing triggers orphanage feelings. Just my guess.

  9. mom says: Reply

    It’s typical for 2yr olds to be standoffish or at least somewhat. Watching others interact is the best thing at this point so keep taking him to the park to play. Security is the issue right now and I believe you guy’s are handling that perfectly so don’t let this even be an issue. Our makeup is all different and social situations can and will bring out the introvert and the extrovert, but who cares? He’s way to young to tell which way he’ll be BUT he’s HAPPY. That is the important thing.

  10. Wendy says: Reply

    Totally normal toddler behavior. It’s around the age of 3 they begin to play with other kids. Before that interaction between kids is solely on a ‘you have it/I want it’ level. New kids are suspect and not to be trusted. In another year he will probably be the class clown like Levi!

    P.S. Levi says Thanks!!!

  11. Judy says: Reply

    My husband and I are in the trying stage….but I have a neice and nephews. One particular nephew reminds me of what you are describing….. Up past the age of 3 he played independently and did not seem to care or was afraid to play with other children. Time flys and he is turning 5 this month….but for the past year and a half or more he has flourished and is now quite the entertainer…begs for play dates and loves preschool….his teacher loves him, his peers love to play with him and he is an all round fun guy to be around. We had been worried that he had not branched out from his independent play by age 3….but things just clicked almost overnight…. So no fears…it will come….

  12. Judy says: Reply

    oh…and my sister used to take him to weekly storytime at the library on wednesdays….and slowly weened him into a one day weekly hour long music class on Thursdays for some time….finally into a preschool-type morning program…..slowly increased the hours…
    and voila! He loves going to pre-school…and has become so much more active and chatty….he can’t stop talking for the past couple of years….lol

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