We're at the playground, and as usual, we're the only two people there. Sometimes I prefer it this way, so I don't have to participate in awkward interactions with other parents or resent the teenagers who aren't modeling good playground behavior. But sometimes it's nice for my son to have other kids around, especially if they're close to his age. I don't worry about this too much as he attends daycare and spends most of his time with a roomful of other toddlers.
We've been here long enough that he's already done a lot of sliding and swinging and we're now playing with an abandoned basketball when two slightly older kids arrive with their grandma (I think, but I'm horrible at guessing ages, even as an older mom myself). He can't resist the draw of other kids, so he eventually wants to head back up to the playground where he can watch them fly down the big curly slide and run up and down the stairs. He carefully enters their orbit and repeats an occasional word or two. They don't speak English and are amused at his attempts to mimic them, but not in a cruel way.
After a while the younger boy climbs up on the bench and tries to open and insert a straw into a milk box, with limited success. While he's intent on this operation, my son climbs up onto the bench next to him, so I give him his water. The grandma comes over to help with the milk box, followed by the older sister, at which point the kids dig into a ziplock bag of Oreos. There is a brief exchange between the girl and her grandma before the girl offers my son a cookie. He is thrilled and happily sets aside his container of Cheerios. He holds the cookie up and says, "Cookie! Yummy" over and over. He watches the other kids eat and drink while clutching his cookie. I am simultaneously horrified that he's eating food from random strangers in the park and that it's a double-stuff Oreo, of all things. At least it's a blonde one and not the original chocolate version.
He doesn't seem to know what to do with the cookie though, so I eventually break off one of the cookie sides and give that to him in smaller pieces. He scarfs those down, but doesn't seem overly motivated to eat the other half and I'm not about to encourage him to eat the cream center (the best part!). He continues to clutch the second cookie with the cream center still attached until we're home and his lunch is on the table in front of him. He even manages to keep a hold of it throughout hand-washing. I finally convince him he can set the cookie down on his place mat so he can eat his yogurt. Fortunately, he never bothers to pick it back up and I can toss it in the sink with the other uneaten detritus from his lunch.
I know this story will be of little interest to anyone but me, but I like the idea of capturing these little moments so they don't get lost in the shuffle of growing up. Seeing him climbing up to sit with the other little boy, completely unconcerned about the differences in language and culture. Just three little kids hanging out at the playground, eating Oreos. Pure, simple joy.