I digress. Where I was going with this is that I took Kenzo to the lil' kids area of the library today to just hang out for the first time. They have a special room that is semi-sound proofed with a door that shuts. I brought a big blanket for him to sit on since the carpet in there is pretty cruddy (they don't have a shoes off policy, boo!!). I brought 5 squeezy blocks and a couple of other toys. There were a couple of other families in there reading and I sat him down and started stacking his blocks for him and letting him knock them over.
Anyway, I just pushed my worries to the back of my mind and fostered a sharing playful environment between the two of them. Showing them they could stack and knock over the blocks together, and even enjoying the advanced level of play this 2.5 year old had (for example asking him what animal was on each block and what sound it made). The whole time his nanny or grandma or whoever was in the corner of the room not even attempting to join or monitor. That's probably the part I have the most problem with.
Until today, Kenzo really hadn't socialized directly with anyone outside of his itty bitty baby cohort, and I liked it that way. I'm a bit uncomfortable with him playing with older kids, because of germs and especially if I'm the only one around to mediate - I can't keep Kenzo from scratching the other kid AND keep the other kid from throwing a toy at Kenzo's head, ya know? Oh, the joy I have to look forward to when Kenzo has a baby brother or sister (in a few years folks, don't get any ideas here!!). On the other hand, playing with older kids is probably good for his development, not to mention it's downright entertaining for him to just observe them and their crazy antics.
What do you think? Do you keep your little ones playing with others their own age? Do they prefer playing with older or younger kids?