At the present and hopefully for a while to come my daughter is an only child. Because of this and because of her disabilities, it's interesting to watch her interact with other children. She associates the ability to move around and carry things with big people, because that's all she ever sees at home. So when we go to the park or family and neighborhood gatherings, my daughter laughs and laughs at the other children who are not only walking but running around her.
Every once and a while another child will get hurt or upset and cry. My daughter is so tender that she begins to cry too. My wife or myself has to explain to our little one that the other little boy or girl is okay and that she doesn't need to cry because everything will be alright. It's really cute how tender she is toward others. She really cares about them and loves to watch them playing.
There is a difficult side to being around other children, though. Mostly kids either ignore my daughter and run over her or they lavish her with too much attention and make her scared or hurt her. It doesn't help that my daughter can't move. I have two rowdy nephews who have stepped on her or knocked her over many times, despite everyone's best effort to defend her. Last night at our neighborhood night out against crime, a little girl roughly patted my daughter on the head and tried stuffing potato chips in her mouth before I was able to get her to back off. I'm sure it was done with good intentions, but it was hard to convince my balling little one of that.
Having always been decent sized for my age and the oldest in my family, I can't relate to how it must feel to be the smallest and weakest of the bunch. I think it's making me a little overprotective, but I want my little girl to be safe in her interactions with her much bigger and more capable peers. And at the same time I want her to be able to make friends that she will enjoy playing with. Friends are a necessary part of childhood. I guess I'll just have to keep looking for a balance in there somewhere. One thing is for sure, she's not going anywhere where there's a bunch of kids unless I'm personally supervising her. Hopefully she'll be okay with that until she's a teenager because I don't see myself backing off any time soon.