When we got there, there was a group of 3 men and 2 little boys playing on the equipment. I thought nothing of it, it’s not like they own the equipment, so I led Landon to the steps of the thing.
Landon froze at the bottom of the steps. He would. not. move. He would not say anything. As if he thought that if he was still enough he would just disappear into nothingness.
The men made heroic efforts to include him with their sons’ activities. The dad came over and aided in introductions. They said encouraging words to him about playing and having fun. They even complemented his sunglasses. They explained that the little one with them was 1 – almost exactly the same size as Landon.
The older boy (3 or 4 maybe?), gave him a big hug, and tried his best to get him to shake his hand. He was terribly disappointed that Landon would not shake his hand. He tried to take off Landon’s sunglasses, I'm guessing he was thinking that maybe if he looked him in the eye, he could be friends with him. I pointed out that maybe he doesn’t know about hand shaking, how about trying a high five? And reluctantly, Landon gave the little boy a high five. It broke the ice, and Landon made some noise - but was still frozen solid.
It took another 2 or 3 minutes before he warmed up enough to move. And he climbed the steps, and climbed the mountain, and even went down the slide a few times. And all was well in whoville.
Until 30 minutes later, when he climbed up the mountain to find both little boys and the dad at the top of the mountain. And he froze again. And again it took some time to get him moving again - but he did, eventually, move on.
The other boys left shortly after that, and a new group showed up. An older couple, a young woman, and a maybe 4 year old boy. That boy completely ignored us, and I couldn’t have been more relieved. We'd had enough awkward social interaction for the day. Landon didn’t mind sharing the area with other people, he just didn’t want them hugging him, or talking to him.
I don’t think it’s a huge issue. I’m not on my way to get him diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I think he’s shy and I think he’s a little slow to warm up to people. And to be perfectly honest, I think he probably got it from me. It's one of the things I wish I hadn't passed on to him.
The odd thing? The outgoing little boy? The one who makes friends at the drop of a hat? If I heard this right – and I’m praying I didn’t. His name? Is Pariah. Talk about having the wrong name for your personality.