When we moved to Haslemere three years ago this month, I knew no one here, save for one couple. Graeme worked with Ben and because of this I’d met his wife Sarah several times. When she found out I was moving to the area, she kindly took me under her wing and helped me find my feet, while I was still reeling from the heartbreak of leaving a home, a job and a life I loved in Swansea (the things we do for love huh? 😉 ). Anyway Sarah and her toddler son Ewan used to take me out every week and we became good freinds. And then, that summer, we both fell pregnant within weeks of one another and we both went on to have beautiful baby boys, three weeks apart. Matthew and Oscar have known each other all their lives. Literally. Sarah and Matthew took us on our first shopping excursion and the boys hung out even as tiny babies (I say tiny, Matthew was 9lb 14oz born, so he was never really tiny!).
They don’t see as much of each other now, as they used to. What with Sarah working part time and the different circles we’re moving in, the boys just don’t hang out as much as they did in their early life. But despite this, if and when they ever see each other, there is always some kind of recognition. Even if we bump into them unintentionally, Oscar is always happy to see Matthew. And despite the struggles Oscar sometimes has playing with other children (the pushing etc) this never seems to be a real problem with Matthew. Like today, we went to Applegarth, a local farm shop and cafe. Applegarth has a wonderful cafe, but also has a really great playground, with plenty of equipment to play on, animals to see and a secure gate. We love it there. Today’s trip was pretty much as perfect as it gets. We had the place to ourselves for most of the morning and the boys could run and swing and slide and run some more, to their hearts content. And we got to sit in the Autumn sun and talk. It was the kind of morning you always hope for with toddlers. They each started off doing their own thing, but as the morning drew on you could see them gravitating towards each other, in a way that was almost mesmerising. They would run past one another, each one laughing and looking at the other. And before we knew it, they’d devised their own game; filling up the playhouse with the chippings and stones from the playground floor, one noisy handful at a time, each one landing to squeals of excited laughter.
It was such a strange game for us to watch, but they enjoyed themselves and it kept them thoroughly absorbed for ages. There was a clear structure to it, which they both seemed to understand, without a word being spoken. And they both got filthy. What more could two little boys ask for?
It did my heart so much good to see Oscar play so happily with another child. It gives me real hope that this phase of frustrated behaviour and pushing will pass. That he will one day play, really play, with other children. That he’ll grow up with real, true friends.
And if they enjoy throwing stones into an empty wooden house, well then they’ll be alright by him.
P.S. We cleared all the stones out of the house before we left – aren’t we good?