The other day Little Prince was playing outside with our neighbor’s son, E, who is almost four and probably a head and shoulders taller than LP. E had a beach ball and the two boys were throwing it back and forth and up in the air. At some point the game became grab the ball on the ground, but really it turned into wrestling a bit. E’s mom starts up with the “Be careful of LP. He’s smaller than you.” It’s the first time I really started worrying about how others will see him because of his small size (he’s in the single digits for height and weight and always has been). I’m thinking that LP can totally hold his own, especially since most of the noises coming from the boys is giggling. Then something happens and LP cries out unhappily. E’s mom repeats the “be careful with LP” line. After checking LP was fine, he was, I go over to the boys and look at them both. I tell them, “You can keep playing like that, but keep it on the grass. But if you hear ‘ouch,’ ‘stop,’ or a cry from the other one, you have to stop right then. Got it.” I’m not sure they totally did, but they went back to playing. And there were a few cries and we had to remind them to stop at that moment, but mostly they were silly and happy and giggling.
Yesterday when I was dropping LP off at daycare, one of his good friends was not having the best morning. He went over to her and tried to give her a paint brush she had dropped, but she kept moving away from him and sort of whining. He kept trying to be nice and hand her the paint brush, but she backed away and hid behind their teacher. I went over to LP and explained to him that she seemed upset and while I know he was trying to comfort her and that she’s his friend, if she is saying no, ouch, or backing away, he needs to respect that and stop, even if he’s trying to be helpful.
And that is how I’m starting to teach my son consent at a young age.