We've been at our gym's pool a lot lately. Finally, my dream summer come true! It's been hot and the kiddos are finally competent and happy in the water. They can splash and cavort, working those growing bodies and yelling while I relax poolside, sipping iced tea (well, for about half an hour I can).
Then I can take my time working my way into the pool, stretching, hanging in the outdoor jacuzzi, and finally joining them for some water play and aerobic activity. I try to keep an eye on them both, because they can suddenly be in tears, and then it's MomAlert.
My daughter usually overextends herself into a meltdown. James may inadvertently swallow a huge mouthful of water or be buzzed by a bee. As the pool gets crowded, Other Kids can result in tears. I get that rowdy play can suddenly get out of hand without it becoming personal. There are, however, a couple of peaches who have taunted others into unsafe behaviour and laugh at the results (oh, not for long on my watch). I soothe and intervene when necessary.
So when I noticed a littler kid following James in the shallow end of the pool, laughing and repeating everything James said, I headed over to make sure this was okay. Even though it hasn't happened in front of me, I worry about James being teased for being different -- his echolalia would be easy to mock.
Know what James was saying to him? "I am your master." And the little boy thought it was hysterically funny and could not get enough. James wasn't quite sure what to do next, but he didn't want to quit, either. Wow. James was scripting Plankton from SpongeBob.
Intervene or not? Well, they were both having a good time and it was fairly appropriate social interaction, so I let it go on until faded on its own. This is James' biggest strength: his overall good humour and belief that the world wants to play with him. I hope he never loses it.