I've always said that Theo is “weird – but in a good way”. At the playground in Battersea, London where we used to live, he would go up and stand next to kids uncomfortably close – and just stand there. My inner narrative for him was “ok so we’re friends now”. Most of the kids would complain and move away but every now and then, one would get it and want to engage. The parents of those kids were often friend material for me as well.
He danced with good rhythm since he could sit up. I remember being a taxi cab when the driver remarked that Theo was dancing to the sound of the window going up and down. He would dance to the vacuum cleaner. Now he does expressive modern dance to opera. As he gets more socialized, he’s learning what people dance to and when. The first time he saw a proper dance floor with live music and others dancing was profound. It was at Kat’s daughter’s wedding in Vermont. Theo photobombed all the “first” dances and guests still remember the little one-and-a-half-year-old in bright blue Crocs stealing thunder from the gorgeous newlyweds. I kept thinking he would pass out at some point but he just kept dancing.
He didn’t go to day care or have formal ‘socialisation’ until he was two and we moved here to New Zealand. He has always charmed strangers, was immediately confident, and loves being around people. As he now tries to make friends with some of the kids, I am reminded of his early playground days of standing uncomfortably close to them. He’s not always well received. He doesn’t always follow ‘formal’ protocol but he clearly wants intimacy. Lately, I watch curiously as he interacts with his new siblings, who themselves are just starting to really play. He wants so desperately to be their number one – even above mom and dad. We want to encourage his endearing brotherly intentions despite us often needing to rescue a crying baby or explain to Theo why his earnest attempts to soothe his baby sibling aren’t working.
There’s an emotional IQ and immediacy about this boy that I want to encourage and that is an incredible asset - in our family, at preschool, and later in the world. We need it. As his momma, I want to make sure this quality rises to the top. I want him to know that the world needs him, that “weird – but in a good way” is awesome.