Last week the girls and I spent a lot of time at the beach. KC especially loves playing on the beach because she can roam freely while socializing and the sand makes a soft landing for those frequent times that her feet get going too quickly for the rest of her body while she’s busy waving to strangers walking by. One of the days we were there, a woman with four young girls came and sat near us. KC caught the eye of the youngest of their group who quietly stood watching KC play. Although typical for toddler interaction, I couldn’t help but wondered to myself what the little girl was thinking as she observed KC. As KC gets older and more social, I’m curious about when that first interaction will take place that another child asks about KCs differences.
Slowly over time all of our girls, my three and her four, scooted closer and eventually began to interact while playing in a little tide pool. This interaction was different than normal though. I was at a safe distance sitting in the sand but I observed that the two groups of girls were playing silently together. Again, I would expect that from the littlest two from our groups but not the older girls. After a little while, I walked over closer to the group and realized why our girls weren’t speaking to each other. I overheard the mom talking to one of the girls but it was in an entirely different language. I loved how the girls were communicating with each other through their eyes and gestures. I loved that they didn’t feel like they need speak to have fun playing together. I loved that play wasn’t limited to any specific language.
Not that it mattered at all but I decided that it was more likely that the little girl was probably just admiring KCs American-ness. As I stood there watching them play we were all surprised by a huge wave that came far up on shore and into their tide pool. At once, all of the girls squealed at the top of their lungs followed by excessive giggles and laughter. I loved most of all that day the reminder that play and laughter are universal. Those two things transcend any age, language or diagnosis.