Bud's spontaneous language just keeps getting better. Even his scripting is getting more and more sophisticated. The greatest part is that he is finding it easier to talk about how he feels and what he needs.
We have a play date scheduled tomorrow with good friends of ours who have twins Bud's age. The kids have been playing together since they were three, and Bud always has fun with them. Hayden and Hannah are sweet, gentle children who take Bud at face value. They don't push him too hard. They welcome his presence, but don't get offended when he chooses to move away. They intuitively understand that they will all be more successful with games that involve running and chasing than with activities that involve focus or talking. More than that, they don't just passively accept Bud; they actively request play dates with him. I adore these children.
Bud adores them, too. But it has been a while since our last playdate, so I imagine that it might be hard for him to predict the specific ways that tomorrow might play out. We talked about it as he got ready for bed.
"I'm feeling scared," he said.
"What makes you feel scared?" I asked. I have learned not to ask "Why are you scared?", because Bud doesn't know what sort of information I'm looking for when I ask "why" questions. I waited, but Bud didn't answer, so I prompted, "I'm scared of..."
"My friends," said Bud.
"You feel scared about playing with Hayden and Hannah."
"Yes," he said. Then he began a series of mitigated scripts. I can't quote them exactly, but I recognized snippets of some - Bob from It's A Big Big World, Elmo from his first day of school - mitigated to the extent that they might as well have been his own. He climbed into my lap and said something like "It's going to get me! It's going to get me! It's okay, it's okay. You can just snuggle here with me. We can stay together. You can hold my hand." He slipped his warm little hand into mine.
"Of course we can stay together, Bud."
"We can just snuggle together."
"Yes, we can snuggle together if we feel scared. It's okay to feel scared."
"You know, Bud, we don't have to play with Hayden and Hannah tomorrow if you don't want to. We could play with them another day."
"I'll play with Hayden and Hannah when I wake up."
"Okay, Bud. That's a great idea."
I'm sure he's still anxious. But we've talked it out and we have a plan: we'll keep hand-holding and snuggling in our back pockets in case we need them, and we'll forge ahead boldly into the play date with our scary, wonderful friends.
We've talked it out, and we have a plan.