All Akimbo: Hovering around the edges

By Kim Blakely, Mojo’s mama

I’m not much of a joiner.

I mean, if someone needs help, I think I’m pretty quick to lend a hand. But if I happen upon a group activity – a Guitar Hero face-off or a game of HORSE, whatever – I’m much more likely to sit back and enjoy the show than I am to grab a ball or a guitar and take part.

That’s partly because I get some enjoyment from watching people interact. It’s also because I’m self-conscious enough to wonder if other people are watching me as often as I’m watching them.

I know I’ve probably missed out on a whole lot of fun over the years, not to mention a good deal of exercise, and that’s why I’m concerned about Mojo’s tendency to do the same thing.

I’ve watched him from a distance on the playground at preschool when I’ve arrived early to pick him up; he hovers around the edges, just outside whatever activity is taking place. He doesn’t look unhappy. He doesn’t look lonely. And it doesn’t look like his classmates are intentionally excluding him from their play. He looks engaged, and I even see him chatting with the kids around him as they line up to go inside for pick-up.

But it worries me that my shy little guy is going to miss out, too.

I’ve talked with a friend who’s a family life specialist, and he tells me that it can actually be a good sign that a kid is watching others play rather than just barreling forth and forcing himself to be a part of the group. The other kids, he tells me, are more likely to welcome him into the fold if he approaches gently. I believe him, but then I wonder, what if he doesn’t approach at all.

He will, right?

If anyone out there has any tips on how to help him make friends with his new classmates, please pass on some advice.

Mojo is otherwise adjusting to preschool, by the way. He even almost smiled when I dropped him off on Thursday, and his teacher tells me he’s had good days since that first tearful one. That’s not to say there haven’t been tears (some of them even from him… not all from me. Hahaha…) when I’ve dropped him off in the morning, but I’m told he gets into the swing of things fairly soon after I leave.

Here’s hoping that today when I go to get him, I see one happy little boy bounding around the playground after his friends.