So it turns out, sometimes I over-react. I even over-think things. And occasionally I might possibly worry too much. I know, who'd have thought it?
Last October, we went to a children's party and my LittleBear was incredibly clingy and shy and withdrawn, and I was worried and sad and it all seemed like a foretaste of life to come. It seemed as though from a tender age my LittleBear was already condemned to struggling in social situations. And I worried.
Today... we went to another children's party, in the same village hall, with the same bouncy castles and same ride-on cars. And? LittleBear didn't exactly charge straight in, but with lots of smiles and cuddles from me, it was only a few minutes before he was happily zooming round and round and round the hall on a scooter with a beaming smile on his face. And he waited until there was nobody on the bouncy castle before climbing on, but once on, he continued to play even when other children joined him. There were a few slightly worried glances my way, but all I needed to do was smile and nod at him and he just kept playing. And bouncing. And bouncing. And bouncing. And giggling.
He even joined in the game of Musical Statues (and my lovely friend L, the mother of the birthday girl) made sure he got a chocolate coin for "the best dancing" which was a generous description of the wide-boy, elbow-waving, dancing he was doing amidst a bevy of skipping, delicate, princess-dressed four-year-old girls!
So there we were at a party, and I got to drink a cup of coffee and chat to other mothers, and watch fondly from the sidelines as my boy bounced and ran and danced and zoomed and just enjoyed himself. I was even very proud of him. He'd asked to have a turn on the most desirable ride-on toy, and a fellow small boy had kindly relinquished it. A little while later, LittleBear bounced up to me (no longer on said desirable ride-on) to inform me that someone else had wanted to ride on it and he'd let them because he'd had his turn. He's four. And he knew that he'd had his turn. I am even happier about that than I am that he enjoyed the party without holding my hand the entire time.
Three months ago, my LittleBear's comfort zone was small and he was attached to me on a six-foot piece of emotional elastic. Any event that disturbed his fragile equilibrium caused him to bounce back to my lap.
Today, my LittleBear's comfort zone was large and he was attached to me on a village-hall sized piece of emotional elastic. Any event that surprised or delighted him caused him to bounce back to me to tell me about it.
There's probably a lesson in here. Probably, "it's just a phase" would more or less cover it, and looking back, I think that was a lesson I claimed to have learned when LittleBear was a baby. So, that's about 4 years ago. And I still haven't quite fully read, learned and inwardly digested that particular lesson. To the bottom of the class with you PhysicsBear...