A watched child never learns. ~Robert Brault
Scootch is largely sheltered since I've been sent home from the workforce. After Little Bear was born, I went from working almost 30 hours a week to only a mere 7, so putting Scootch back into daycare with his friends was not a feasible option. I've tried to join story time at the library, and other play groups like that to keep him with peers, but the truth is that he is a solitary soul. He will sometimes play with others when others are available, but, for the most part he likes to just run around and observe everybody else. He really enjoys just holing up in the playroom and making elaborate train layouts and complicated arrangements of Matchbox cars. In addition to this situation making me worry about his social development, it also doesn't give me many opportunities to see how Scootch handles himself with others regarding his allergies.
Our church has a Coffee and Fellowship hour following services on Sunday morning. People in the congregation take turns hosting it every week, usually supplying homemade baked goods or some bagels arranged on a push cart to supplement the available coffee, tea, and juice. The kids in the congregation, ours included, like to sit under a few tables that are against the wall in the lobby and hide out while they eat the available snacks. Some congregation members are aware of Scootch's allergies and try to be accomodating, but we usually bring a packet of cookies or fruit snacks as a substitute for Scootch so we can be assured he has something to snack on as well. It has proved to be a valuable time to teach him about food awareness. I've told him repeatedly that he's not allowed to have anything off the cart unless Mommy or Daddy or MeMa gets it for him. And that if anyone hands him something, he needs to ask for permission before he eats it. But truthfully, I always wonder if these teachings fall on deaf ears. He is, after all, only three and a half. He barely remembers instructions I give him in the time he runs from the kitchen to the playroom. Today hubby told me he witnessed our little lessons rubbing off on Scootch at the Fellowship hour after service this morning. And I couldn't be more proud of him.
I had been busy helping Monkey dole out her Girl Scout cookie orders to the right owners, and Scootch was sitting alone under the tables, patiently awaiting the arrival of his sister and friends. Today's offering was homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a woman noticed Scootch was without one. She bent down to look under the tables and ask him if he wanted a cookie and offered him one from the trolley. Scootch replied to her, "No, my mom has my cookie. I can't have those." By that time, Daddy had gotten the packet of safe treats we brought from home and set him up with snacks and a napkin. So when I was finally settling Monkey next to him with her own treats, he was already munching away happily and paying me no mind.
Relief. Pride. Happiness. All the best feelings to have as a parent. And I got to feel them today. He passed another test with flying colors.