We go to the park, a lot. We practically own the park we go there so much.
Leila is very comfortable hanging out with all of the children and adults there. She'll try to play with each group of kids in the sand. Then she'll head to the play structure so she can climb. After a while she'll head to the grass and sit on other families' blankets (and laps). She even tries to convince the other moms that she needs that goldfish cracker from their snack baggie.
Basically it's a free for all.
A few months ago you could find me following behind Leila about ten feet back. Always ready to apologize for her invading their space.
I'm that mom that lets their toddler run across the park while I am building sandcastles (with the kids she was just playing with). I'm the one that doesn't make my child "ask" to play with your toys. I'm the one that waves from afar when I see the nearby adult scanning the park for her mother.
I'm the mom that panicked today when she couldn't see her child.
As usual, she left me playing in the sand with a bunch of kids I don't know. She went off to climb around, in, over, and through the play structure. She's so tiny that I could barely see her behind it. The next moment I looked, she wasn't there.
Look for her hat...moving.
She was following some older girls and was trying to sit on the swing.
I sat back down like it was no big deal. Still watching her play by those swings, I saw how happy she was.
The smile plastered on her face, as she stared up at the big girls, reminded me that I know I'm doing the right thing...for both of us.
(I met three new friends at the park this week! No real play-dates scheduled, but it was great to relax and chat with some Mommas I see their regularly.)