Garrett had a play date today. It was with his little buddy Owen. They are both three years old. About ten seconds in to this playdate I could see that Garrett was not acting himself. He said that he wanted to go lay in his bed. He didn't want to play with this friend. He cried for no reason. And he said that he hated his friend. I had to get treats and turn on cartoons for them just to get the situation under control so that I could figure out what was going on.
I remember vaguely Dalton and Shelby acting this way when they were young. I think that being the stupid young mom that I was I probably just threatened them to stop acting mean and pull themselves together. This time around I tried to figure out what was going on in Garrett's head to cause him to act this way.
I think that his sweet heart could not grasp how I could care for him and his friend at the same time, and so he viewed this friend as a direct threat for his Mother's love and attention. It made me feel sympathy for the agony that must be going on in his mind. How awful would that be to be worried that your Mother might fall in love with a different kid. That she may toss you to the side once she sees how cool the neighbor kid is.
I reassured Garrett. Tried to make him feel really secure. It seemed to work. But it did make me think that there are some reactive behaviors in our brains, whether we are old or young, that are hard to understand and hard to control. It gave me new sympathy for myself. Instead of beating myself up about first responses or reactions to people or situations, maybe I need to cut myself some slack like I did to Garrett. Maybe some of it's just our natural reactions. Whether we feel a pang of envy or mistrust in a new situation, or around people sometimes, it isn't something that makes us bad, but just human.
Tomorrow is Garrett's second day of "real" pre-school. I get to go sit in on nine hours of interviews for a new principal for my daughter's school. Oh, the joy.