When falling off your bike is a good thing

Today Bright Eyes had a friend over to play. The friend is a boy a little bit older than him who goes to his school. He's a sweet kid with some issues of his own but he seems to get on pretty well with my boy so I decided to make the effort to get him over.

As always, we reminded Bright Eyes, "This is a playdate, so you need to make sure you look after your friend and do stuff together. Maybe you can ask him what he'd like to do."

They began pretty well, ate lunch and then went outside. About an hour and a half after the beginning I saw Bright Eyes leave the friend in the garden and come through the house. 

"Hey, where are you going?" I said.

"I'm going to ride my bike," he said.

"What about your buddy? He's left on his own."

"Oh. Right." He turned around and went outside.

"Hey, M, do you want to ride bikes?"

His friend said, "No, not really." And then I heard the most wonderful words from my son that gave me a little heart flutter:

"No, neither do I. What do YOU want to do?" 

They stayed in the garden and then together decided to go back out to the bikes. I wasn't watching when they discovered a piece of rope and decide to tie two bikes together, but I saw them fly down the driveway and come crashing down, all arms and legs and frames and wheels at the end. 

"Oh. Goodness. Are you guys ok?" I said. We picked them up and sat them on the grass. At that point, Bright Eyes' friend began to cry, just slightly. It obviously hurt them both, and they were both trying to be brave but the pain in M's knees was just a little too much. 

We had a look for blood (there was none), sat with them both and got M some ice for his knees.

But here was the amazing thing. Bright Eyes sat alongside his mate and showed empathy. The Whole Time. 

"Oh, M, I've had worse injuries than that," he said. But it was said with comfort as its intention. "Are you okay?" He talked to him and he tried to make sure he was okay. He identified with his feelings and his face looked concerned.

I was amazed, and very happy. Later I asked him how he felt when he saw his friend had had an injury. 

"I felt like, 'ooohhh, that must have hurt,'" he said. 

Of course, I'd prefer kids don't fall off their bikes at my place, but it was worth it to see such a great reaction from Bright Eyes!

By the way, after two and a half hours of playdate work, he spent the rest of the afternoon recovering on his own, playing music and chilling out. Empathy and looking after people takes its toll on him.

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