Autonomy and Ironman

I have written before about our older son and his naturally cautious approach to everything new.  He does not like strangers or new situations.  While his much bolder baby brother is racing to the biggest slide on the playground, he will hang back, stay on the toddler slide, not try anything too risky.

I’m fine with him moving at his own pace and feeling out his limits, but sometimes I worry that he’ll miss out on something fun simply because he’s not willing to try it.

At our church picnic this week, they set up a huge bouncy house obstacle course.  My preschooler, of course, would not even go in.  After some coaxing from us and after watching his cousins run through several times, he finally got up the courage to try and had a blast.  I was really proud of him.  Then I went to eat my lunch.

The next thing I knew, he had left the bouncy house and was sitting at the face-painting station calmly letting a girl he’s never spoken to before paint an Ironman mask on his face!  When she was done, he hopped up and when dashing back into the bouncy house.

It was pretty incredible to see him take the initiative to try something totally new, talk to someone he doesn’t know, and do it all without any prompting from me or his dad.  I know getting face paint at a picnic might seem like a pretty small achievement, but it’s just one more way I see this guy growing up and spreading his wings day by day.

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