Why does no one play with him? Do the children not like him anymore? My poor baby! What could have happened to make him friendless at recess?
Then came the visual created by my worried mind of Little Guy kicking mulch, all alone on the playground. Or sitting on a stoop, head on hand watching children laugh and play without him.
I decided in lieu of hysteria and judgement (of my child and others) that I'd offer encouragement to Little Guy and probe (gently, mind you) a bit further. So for the past few days when Little Guy would hop happily into the backseat after school and tell me about his day on the way home, I'd ask all the usual questions, but with a few extra about recess.
You see,there are two playgrounds at Little Guy's school, and it has become somewhat of a guessing game for me to figure out which playground his class used that day. Upon my questioning, Little Guy's offerings, and our guessing game, I came to a conclusion:
The days Little Guy complained that "no one played with him", he really meant "no one played with him the entire time, or played what he wanted to play." These days also happened to coincide with the days that his class used the playground that has 8 swings (nearly half his class was swinging!). Combine that with the fact that the friend he most often played with had broken her leg last week, and Little Guy was left with few choices with whom to play.
While volunteering in his classroom, I had the chance to talk with Little Guy's teacher about it, and she assured me that Little Guy gets along famously with all the children in his class. She informed me that sometimes he does come up to her with the complaint of having no one to play with, but with a suggestion from her, he trots off happily to a friend. It seems he just needs a little boost of confidence before he thrusts himself into play with another child. Don't we all!
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.