Jayden and Alivia. Alivia is my sister's daugther. She is 3 months younger than Jayden. My sister and I were so excited when I adopted Jayden and we knew that our kids would be close in age. We just knew they would be the best of friends, just like we are. We were so hopeful. Unfortunately, it didn't start out that way. They did play well as infants, but as they grew older Jayden experienced developmental delays and behavior problems that affected his social skills. Due to his sensory seeking issues, he plays VERY rough. He doesn't know of another way to play although he has gotten so much better this year. He is also very uncoordinated, so playing games like tag are tough for him b/c he doesn't know how to run without running into people. And when he runs into other kids, it scares them. Alivia was scared of Jayden. She always thought that Jayden was trying to hurt her, so she stayed away from him. Whenever we would get them together to play, Livy would stand to the side and just watch. We would give Jayden reminders on playing gently and he would bring a toy to Alivia and she would run from him thinking he was coming to hit her with a toy. I don't know how it felt for my sister, but it hurt me to think that my niece was afraid of my son. I didn't like that she was afraid and couldn't enjoy herself when he was around, and I didn't like that he was misunderstood. Don't get me wrong, I know that Jayden will often be misunderstood b/c of his issues, but when I can, I want to help him be understood...especially when we are talking about family. At 3 yrs old, both kids are at the age where they can understand to a certain degree, so I had a good talk with Jayden the past few times he's been over to play with Livy or she's come over to play with him. I reminded him just before walking through the door that Livy does not wrestle and she does not like to play rough. He would say ok and I could actually see him attempting to play nice with Livy. Now, with Alivia, I knew it was more important to have a good talk with her to help ease her fears. I told her that Jayden does play rough and at times, he may scare her, but he truly doesn't mean it. She said "That's ok!" :) It's only been a few weeks and now they ask for each other. We all went out to diner last night and Livy came over to play for a few minutes before we went to the restaurant. They played with the play kitchen, taking turns cooking. Jayden gave Alivia his Ironman toy to play with (gasp!!). And at one point, he went to his toy box and wanted to show her his Buzz Lightyear toy...She happened to be standing right there when he grabbed the toy and slung it around very quickly and the plastic wing hit her on the head. She grabbed her head and said "Ouch" and her mom immediately told her "It's ok Livy he didn't mean it" and I immediately told Jayden to remember to be careful and that we should play with the stuffed Buzz instead of the plastic one so no one gets hurt. He is a rough guy, so we have soft toys for playdates ;) Jayden put Buzz away and then turned to Alivia and did the sign language for "sorry" and gave her a hug. Then off we went to dinner and they had a blast. They played in the waiting area and Alivia shared her HUGE imagination with Jayden. When dinner was over they didn't want to go their separate ways. Jayden actually woke up saying "Where Yeeyah??" :)I am so very proud of his progress and proud of my niece for actually overcoming her fear so quickly.
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