N’s always been used to being around lots of people of all ages. Mostly those older than him, although obviously he’s used to being in nursery with youngers children, and I do have a couple of friends with babies.
But mostly it’s his older cousins and various people turning up at the farm, whether it’s for shoot season, general farm business or friends and family. He’s pretty comfortable with them all once he ‘s got over his initial shyness and wariness.
This weekend our neighbours across the road had a party for their 10th wedding anniversary. They’ve got a daughter N is friends with from nursery (/ after school club), so the party was an afternoon garden party. Luckily the weather was beautiful. I did say to someone that they obviously have a lot of luck with parties, because every one of theirs we’ve been to has been sunny and warm.
N’s been to their house for parties before, and I knew there’d be children there who he knew – they were at nursery before they went to school last year, as well as his cousin. But I never know whether he’ll just get excited by the land and garden they have to explore or whether he’d not want to go and play.
Because they’re only down the road we walked (with N on his bike). No use of the ‘hunt’ gate this time – maxi dress and wedges aren’t good with fields and nettles. Thanks to the OH we were 1.5 hours late. We’d been ready to go an hour beforehand but he’d not got back from work let alone showered and changed.
I do love summer parties. Pimms on the lawn just has to be the best drink ever. They have an amazing house which they’ve done a lot of work on, and the garden is brilliant for every type of party, play or games.
When we arrived, N didn’t want to leave my side. I tried to encourage him to play, reminding him of the different children’s he knew. But still he didn’t want to play on the toys. Even the trampoline or the playhouse and slide.
I never really know what to do then, because obviously he’ll be bored stiff hanging around us, and with most of the children there at the same school that he’ll be going to, it was a good opportunity to remind himself of them before starting school. But no, he wasn’t staying with the other children.
Eventually his cousins arrived. Excitement from N, until he realised that the cousin’s friends from school were more of a draw than his 4 year old cousin. I took him down the garden to watch them all playing on the slide. N wouldn’t go up it…until his cousin came over a said ‘come on N, you can come down the slide with me’. Aw, heart melt. N was off like a shot and I knew he’d be straight in there with all the other older children from then on.
It was nice to be at a party with people other than our farming friends. If it’s a family party, many of the people are those I know of, but don’t really know that well because they’re the OH’s friends or ‘work’ acquaintances. But this one had more people that I knew than the OH did. He stuck with his parents, other farming neighbours, and brother, while I could go off and speak to lots of the parents from school and meet some of the relatives.
The food was delicious – you can’t go wrong with a hog roast and all the accompaniments. They’d even adorned the salads with pansies. They looked stunning – couldn’t believe I didn’t take any photos of the food. Damn having to carry mine and N’s plates. Food does come before photos obviously!
As soon as his food was finished N was off roaming again to find the other children. There was a lot of running around, a bit of biking – he was funny because as soon as any of the adults mentioned how well he was doing on his bike, he’d say ‘I cycled on the road here’ and would ride off. It was great to see him settle in to playing with the older children.
While it’s sometimes irritating that N takes some time before getting involved with what other children are playing, he always gets going once he’s recce’d it out. I’d much rather he watched first before launching gung ho into everything. But it would be nice to know that he’ll take part in things once asked rather than only doing things if I get involved. Hopefully once he’s at school he’ll get over that and be willing to join in set activities on his own.